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UCL: Real Madrid Vs. Juventus Match Preview

champions-league-real-madrid-juventus_3302386Real Madrid entertain Juventus at the Bernabeu in the Champions League semi-finals on Wednesday night looking to overturn a 2-1 first-leg deficit.

Carlo Ancelotti’s team are bidding to become the first since AC Milan in 1990 to retain Europe’s premier club competition.

Real’s hopes of success this season look to rest on the Champions League after Saturday’s 2-2 La Liga draw at home to Valencia left them four points adrift of Barcelona with two games remaining.

But right-back Dani Carvajal thinks the home team cannot be too gung-ho against the Serie A champions and risk getting caught on the counterattack.

“We need to win, that is fundamental. However, above all, we need to have a cool head, be patient and not go crazy,” he told the club’s official website.

“The game is 90 minutes long and we need to make that seem like a long time for Juventus and make them suffer without the ball.”

Juventus have not been this far in the competition since also beating Madrid in the semi-finals 12 years ago, and defender Giorgio Chiellini has described the game as the biggest in his 10 years in Turin.

“We can’t wait for Wednesday evening to come. This is the most prestigious and important game I’ll be playing in since I joined the club,” he said.

“I’ve been here for 10 years and 12 have gone past since we last reached a semi-final.

“We’ve got better and matured as the competition has worn on and getting past the last 16 and then the quarter-finals gave us added awareness in our own abilities.

“We’ve never been as close as we are now, but we’ve still got 90 really tough minutes to get through. The final is still a long way away and we’ll need a super performance to get there.”

Team news

The European champions could be close to full strength as midfielder Toni Kroos is expected to shrug off a hip injury he picked up against Valencia, while striker Karim Benzema is also set to feature up front after a month out with a knee problem.

The visitors seem certain to have Paul Pogba back after the French midfielder made a goalscoring return following almost two months out with a hamstring injury in Saturday’s 1-1 home draw with Cagliari.

Opta facts

Juventus have won three of four Champions League knockout ties against Real Madrid. Real’s only win came in the 1998 final.

Real Madrid have won four of five knockout games v Juventus at the Bernabeu (the last four games and all three in the Champions League era). All four of those Real Madrid wins were in first leg games

There has not been a draw between these clubs at the Bernabeu.

These clubs have won 120 major trophies between them – Real Madrid 70 and Juventus 50.

Real Madrid’s total includes 32 League titles and 14 European trophies.

Juventus’s total includes 31 League titles and 8 European trophies.

These clubs have 12 European Cups (Real Madrid 10, Juventus 2) and 20 European Cup final appearances (Real Madrid 13, Juventus 7) between them.

Betting

Despite taking a lead into the second leg, Juventus are 6/1 outsiders to lift the Champions League, though the odds on who will win this tie are finely balanced.

With home advantage, an away goal and only a one-goal deficit to overturn, Madrid are the slight favourites to advance to the final at 4/5.

Only a 2-1 win for Real Madrid will take the game to extra time – a 7/1 chance – making it 25/1 for the tie to be settled by penalties.

Juventus would happily take a goalless draw which is rated an 11/1 chance.

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