Team news, match facts, manager quotes, match odds and more ahead of the Champions League clash between Juventus and Borussia Dortmund.Juventus playmaker Andrea Pirlo hopes this could be the season they finally re-establish themselves on the European stage as he dreams of winning the Champions League again before he retires.
Juve's maestro has been helping steer them towards a fourth successive Italian title, yet the gulf between a fading Serie A and the Champions League is so great that they are not seen as a major threat to Real Madrid, Barcelona or Bayern Munich.
Juve were comprehensively outclassed by Munich in the quarter-finals two seasons ago and failed to make it beyond the group stage last term.
With Paul Pogba and Carlos Tevez attracting interest from abroad, and 37-year-old goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon still agile, this campaign could be the last real chance of European glory for the current team as they prepare to host Borussia Dortmund in their last 16 first leg tie on Tuesday.
At the heart of their challenge is Pirlo, who will be 36 when this year's final comes around but who continues to work wonders as his breathtaking winner against Atalanta on Friday demonstrated.
The first meeting between Juve and Dortmund since the 1997 Champions League final, which the Germans won 3-1, now provides the acid test for the Italian champions.
Although Juergen Klopp's side have struggled in the Bundesliga, their European form has been excellent as they sailed through their group by winning their opening four games.
They have also won their last three Bundesliga games, suggesting the early-season woes are ancient history.
Juve have not lost a home game in any competition since Bayern Munich beat them 2-0 two years ago, the last time a German side visited the Juventus stadium.
Arturo Vidal could make his return for Juventus against Borussia Dortmund, while Ciro Immobile will hope to get some playing time. After missing out on the game against Atalanta due to a groin injury, Vidal may be handed a starting shirt for this match, having joined his team-mates yesterday for regular training. The remainder of the Old Lady's midfield is likely to be comprised of the familiar names of Andrea Pirlo, Paul Pogba and Claudio Marchisio. Coach Max Allegri will be faced with a familiar dilemma as he has to choose between Alvaro Morata and Fernando Llorente to flank Carlos Tevez. Ilsussidiario.net suggests that the former holds a slight edge thanks to his speed, which may trouble the German defence. Kwadwo Asamoah (knee) is definitely out, while Andrea Barzagli (ankle), Luca Marrone (thigh) and Alessandro Matri (thigh) are all doubtful
Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp is coming off three consecutive victories in the Bundesliga and is unlikely to change his habitual 4-2-3-1 system. Ilkay Gundogan and Nuri Sahin are fundamental to the mechanisms of the midfield and can be expected to start. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is in solid form and Juergen Klopp has confirmed that he will start, though Immobile is bound to be driven at the idea of playing against his former club, and may see some playing time in the second half. Kevin Grosskreutz (hamstring) is definitely out, while Sven Bender (knee), Kevin Kampl and Sebastian Kehl (shoulder) are all doubts.
Massimo Allegri, Juventus: "This is a key period in the season, but we're coming through it nicely. It's satisfying to win these kind of games because it keeps your feet on the ground. For Tuesday's game we're in great form. I'm not worried about the Champions League, in fact we're full of confidence... We are in very good shape. Borussia are back on track and, on Tuesday, it's the first of two games so we have to play with balance and I am absolutely not worried by this match. I think they are going to be two great games and I expect qualification to be decided only in the final minutes of the second leg."
Juergen Klopp, Dortmund: "It is a beautiful tie, but it will be a huge challenge. They’re the best team in Italy and very experienced... We had troubles at the start of the season, mainly down to the injuries we suffered at the time. Our physical shape has improved. We can keep improving. We still need to rediscover our consistency in the Bundesliga. We’ll soon be back at the top. We weren’t in peak physical shape. It’s not a matter of motivation, more injuries and bad luck… Juve’s history is important. We’re motivated to show our worth in this Round of 16 tie. Juventus possess plenty of experience and quality. We'll require a big effort to get through to the next round."
Andrea Pirlo, Juventus: "I came to Juve in order to win and we achieved that. I am very happy about that but now we must make the next step up the ladder. I'd like to win another Champions League before retiring... We will not fall into the trap of confusing Borussia Dortmund's Bundesliga status with their real quality."
Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon: "I am fully convinced Borussia Dortmund are one of the best sides in Europe and can beat anyone. At the same time, we are curious to see what progress we have made in this tournament... After a ‘sabbatical’ last year, we got back to our European journey. We are all curious and motivated to measure ourselves up against sides that have been challenging at the top of European football for a few years and Borussia Dortmund are one of them.
"I hope that compared to two years ago many of us are more confident of our capabilities. I hope we have all made steps forward in terms of football, belief and awareness. We also have a few more individuals who have joined the squad and could give us an extra hand. I don’t know if we are stronger than Borussia or not. I just know that I am curious to see how good we can be."
Juventus and Borussia Dortmund last met in the final of the Champions League back in 1997. The Ruhr side won 3-1 in Munich.
Dortmund have won their last two encounters with Juventus, both in the Champions League: in November 1995 and May 1997.
Dortmund have never kept a clean sheet against Juventus in their seven competitive encounters.
Juventus have made it to the knockout stages of the Champions League for only the second time in the past six seasons (2012/13 and 2014/15).
Juventus have only lost two of their last 28 Champions League games on home soil (W17 D9), both were against Bayern Munich.
Only Monaco (4) scored fewer goals than Juventus (7, like Basel and Leverkusen) in this season’s group stages among the 16 teams still left in the competition. The Old Lady had only four different goalscorers, the lowest tally alongside Monaco.
Borussia Dortmund have reached the knockout stages of the Champions League for the third consecutive season, which hadn’t happened since their three straight appearances in the latter stages from 1995/96 to 1997/98.
Borussia Dortmund have won only one of their last eight Champions League knockout games played away from home (D3 L4, including final 2013 in Wembley), it was against Zenit St Petersburg in February 2014 (4-2).
13 of Dortmund’s 14 Champions League goals this season have been scored from open play.
Dortmund striker Adrian Ramos has scored three goals in only 62 minutes during his three away games in the Champions League this season. He’s the top scoring substitute in this season’s competition.
Juventus evens, Dortmund 3/1, draw 5/2