Real Madrid vs Juventus – Champions League Semi Final, Second Leg Preview

For one of these teams the chance of the ultimate glory beckons. For the other, it will be a heart-breaking finale of a pulsating tournament.

Real Madrid (4/6) start this second leg as favourites with the bookmakers, but they will have to be at their very best to overcome a resilient and confident Juventus side. The prospect of a mouth-watering Champions League final clash with Barcelona awaits.

Juventus (9/2) travel to the Bernabeu with a slender 2-1 advantage, and it remains to be seen just how important Cristiano Ronaldo’s away goal for Real will be. Goals from former Madrid man Alvaro Morata and Carlos Tevez have given the Italian giants the lead after the first leg in Turin.

Fans of value betting will note that a draw on the night – which would be enough to see Juventus through to their first European final in a decade – can be backed from 3/1.

Real Worries

It’s not been the best of weeks for Carlo Ancelotti’s men. After tasting defeat in Italy, they had to come from two goals down to salvage a point in their La Liga encounter with Valencia on Saturday, a result that leaves them four points behind leaders Barcelona with just two games to go.

And so the Champions League represents their only remaining opportunity of lifting some silverware during the 2014/15 campaign. They will be buoyed by this statistic, however: of their previous 22 European fixtures at the Bernabeu, they have won 19.

Real will also be boosted by the likely return of Karim Benzema from injury – albeit probably from the substitutes bench, as well as the news that the injury Toni Kroos suffered against Valencia is not as bad as first feared, and the German should take his place in Ancelotti’s starting eleven.

Many eyes will be trained on Gareth Bale, the most expensive footballer in the world and one who has yet to live up to his lofty reputation in Spain. The Welshman has come in for much criticism in recent weeks, and will be hoping to put that right on May 13.

He is likely to be marked by Patrice Evra, the wily old left back who isn’t getting any younger at 34. This gives Bale the perfect opportunity to silence his critics.

Italian Stallions

Juventus already have the luxury of having clinched the Serie A title – their fourth consecutive triumph – and so had the pleasure of resting some key names in that 1-1 draw with Cagliari on Saturday.

One familiar face they did welcome back is Paul Pogba, the powerful French midfielder who has been out injured for the best part of two months. Pogba may only take his place on the substitutes’ bench for the Black and Whites, but his presence will give his teammates a huge lift.

As if that wasn’t enough, the Juventus faithful will also know that they haven’t conceded a single goal in their past three Champions League games on the road, which included that 0-0 stalemate with Monaco in the quarter-finals which saw them progress to this stage.

So all three results are a distinct possibility in the Bernabeu – and that’s what makes it such a tantalising clash of the titans.

 

 

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