Champions League: Rivalry renewed between Barcelona and Juventus

Sep 12, 2017, 12:29 IST | AFP

Despite distraction of a chaotic summer off the field, Barcelona aim to avenge last season's quarter-final defeat to Italian champs Juventus when they clash tonight

Barcelona are on a 21-match unbeaten home run in the Champions League. Pic/Getty Images
Barcelona are on a 21-match unbeaten home run in the Champions League. Pic/Getty Images

A 5-0 derby win, an assist for 105 million euro ($126 million) purchase Ousmane Dembele on his debut and a four-point La Liga lead over Real Madrid ought to have brought some relief to Barcelona's beleaguered board.

Yet no sooner had the celebrations died down from Luis Suarez's finish from Dembele's cross in the final minute of Saturday's thrashing of Espanyol, than cries for president Josep Maria Bartomeu to resign rang around the Camp Nou.

Juventus' visit in the Champions League tonight could have offered the chance of a new start and revenge for last season's quarter-final defeat by the Italian champions.

Barca are still coming to terms with the loss of Neymar to PSG for a world record 222 million-euro fee ($267 million).

Weak Juventus
But Juventus have also seen the team that reached last season's Champions League final weakened by PSG snapping up Dani Alves and Leonardo Bonucci's move to AC Milan.

"They have lost Bonucci but they remain a very strong, good team," said Valverde. "I can see the comments of comparing squads to previous seasons are the same in every country.

People look at transfers and decide if a squad is stronger or weaker, but the time to do that is at the end of the season."

Similar starts
Juventus are also without the injured Giorgio Chiellini and Mario Mandzukic, but like Barca, have won all three of their league games this season to sit top of the table in Italy.

"Everyone wants to advance. We are in very good form, we won 5-0, but that doesn't guarantee anything because our opponent has also started strongly in the league," Valverde concluded.

Barcelona: 3 wins
Juventus: 3 wins
Draws: 3

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