Rapid reunion for Barcelona and Juventus
FC Barcelona begin the new UEFA Champions League season as they ended the old – with a visit from Juventus – and will be hoping for a different outcome on the opening night of Group D.
• Barça’s 2016/17 campaign was curtailed by Juventus, who held out for a goalless draw at the Camp Nou in the quarter-final second leg, completing a 3-0 aggregate victory. Juve went all the way to the final but were unable to get the better of Real Madrid CF, going down 4-1 in Cardiff.
• Barcelona have won their UEFA Champions League group on a record 18 occasions, and not since 2006/07 have they failed to finish top of their section.
• Juve laid the groundwork for last season’s elimination of Barcelona in Turin, where goals from Paul Dybala (7, 22) were supplemented by Giorgio Chiellini’s strike (55).
• The line-ups in the goalless second leg at the Camp Nou on 19 April were:
Barcelona: Ter Stegen, Sergi Roberto (Mascherano 78), Piqué, Umtiti, Alba, Busquets, Iniesta, Rakitić (Alcácer 58), Messi, Suárez, Neymar.
Juventus: Buffon, Dani Alves, Bonucci, Chiellini, Alex Sandro, Khedira, Pjanić, Cuadrado (Lemina 84), Dybala (Barzagli 75), Mandžukić, Higuaín (Asamoah 88).
• The teams had also met in the 2015 UEFA Champions League final in Berlin, where Barcelona triumphed 3-1 to take the trophy for a fifth time. Ivan Rakitić gave Luis Enrique’s side a fourth-minute lead and, though Álvaro Morata levelled for Massimiliano Allegri’s Juve ten minutes after half-time, Luis Suárez (68) and Neymar (90+7) sealed Barça’s fourth success in ten years.
• The line-ups at the Olympiastadion on 6 June 2015 were:
Juventus: Buffon, Lichtsteiner, Barzagli, Bonucci, Evra (Coman 89), Marchisio, Pirlo, Pogba, Vidal (Pereyra 79), Morata (Llorente 85), Tévez.
Barcelona: Ter Stegen, Alves, Piqué. Mascherano, Alba, Busquets, Rakitić (Mathieu 90+1), Iniesta (Xavi 78), Messi, Suárez (Pedro 90+6), Neymar.
• That was Barça’s third victory over Juve, and their first since 1991. Then, Johan Cruyff’s charges beat a Juventus side coached by Gigi Maifredi 3-1 at home in their European Cup Winners’ Cup semi-final first leg with goals from Hristo Stoichkov (56, 60) and Jon Andoni Goikoetxea (76). They overturned Pierluigi Casiraghi’s 12th-minute opener for Juve, who went out despite winning the second leg 1-0 with a 61st-minute Roberto Baggio strike.
• That was the clubs’ second tie. The first came in the 1985/86 European Champion Clubs’ Cup quarter-finals when Barcelona again prevailed, Julio Alberto getting the only goal of the Camp Nou first leg. Barça struck first in the Turin return too, through Steve Archibald, and advanced despite Michel Platini’s 44th-minute equaliser.
• However, Juve ousted the Blaugrana in the 2002/03 UEFA Champions League quarter-finals. The first game in Turin finished 1-1, Javier Saviola’s 78th-minute effort equalising Paolo Montero’s 16th-minute breakthrough for the hosts.
• In the second leg at the Camp Nou, Xavi Hernández’s 66th-minute strike cancelled out Pavel Nedvěd’s goal for Juve 13 minutes earlier and sent the tie to extra time, with Juve reduced to ten men by Edgar Davids’s 79th-minute dismissal. With penalties looming, Juve substitute Marcelo Zalayeta got the decisive goal (114) to take the ten men into the last four.
• This is Barcelona’s 22nd UEFA Champions League group stage campaign, and 14th in succession. They last failed to progress to the last 16 in 2000/01.
• The Blaugrana last failed to progress beyond the round of 16 in 2006/07; their last two campaigns have been ended in the quarter-finals, by Juve last season and Club Atlético de Madrid in 2015/16.
• That 0-0 draw with Juve last spring was the only time former Barcelona coach Luis Enrique failed to win a home game in the UEFA Champions League, having previously mustered 15 straight victories.
• Barcelona are unbeaten in 21 matches at home in the competition, a run that started in September 2013 (W19 D2).
• Barcelona’s record at home to Serie A clubs is W14 D6 L2. They are unbeaten in their last 13 home fixtures against Italian visitors, winning nine.
• This is an 18th UEFA Champions League group stage campaign for Juve, and a sixth in succession.
• The Italian outfit have reached the knockout rounds in their last three attempts, having finished third in their section in 2013/14.
• The draw at Barcelona was the only one of Juve’s six away games in last season’s competition that they failed to win, with five clean sheets and just one goal conceded to 12 scored.
• Juventus won 3-1 at Sevilla FC on matchday five last term; that is their only victory from their last six trips to Spain. Their overall away record against Liga opposition is W4 D6 L15.
Coach and player links
• Allegri suffered UEFA Champions League elimination against Barça in back-to-back seasons as Milan coach, in the 2011/12 quarter-finals (1-3) and the 2012/13 round of 16 (2-4). His full record in ten games versus the Blaugrana is W2 D3 L5.
• Have played in Spain:
Mario Mandžukić (Club Atlético de Madrid, 2014/15)
Sami Khedira (Madrid, 2010–15)
Gonzalo Higuaín (Madrid, 2007–13)
• Have played in Italy:
Gerard Deulofeu (AC Milan, 2017)
Thomas Vermaelen (AS Roma, 2016/17)
• Khedira scored Real Madrid’s opener in a 2-1 Liga win at Barcelona in 2012, his only goal in 18 matches against the Azulgrana with VfB Stuttgart and Madrid.
• Higuaín played 18 times against Barcelona in all competitions during his spell at Madrid, notching three goals.
• Mandžukić got Atlético’s goal from the penalty spot in a 3-1 Liga defeat at Barcelona on 11 January 2015.
• Lucas Digne was at Roma in 2015/16, scoring three goals in 33 Serie A outings and playing alongside Juventus midfielder Miralem Pjanić.
• Have also played together:
Ivan Rakitić & Benedikt Höwedes (FC Schalke 04, 2007–11)
Neymar & Alex Sandro (Santos FC, 2010/11)
Javier Mascherano & Gonzalo Higuaín (River Plate, 2004/05)
Arda Turan & Mario Mandžukić (Clube Atlético de Madrid, 2014/15)
Lucas Digne & Blaise Matuidi (Paris Saint-Germain, 2013–15)
Deulofeu & De Sciglio (AC Milan, 2016/17)
Thomas Vermaelen & Wojciech Szczęsny (Arsenal FC, 2010–14)
• International team-mates:
Marc-André ter Stegen & Sami Khedira and Benedikt Höwedes (Germany)
Lionel Messi, Javier Mascherano & Gonzalo Higuaín, Paulo Dybala (Argentina)
Alex Sandro & Rafinha (Brazil)
Ivan Rakitić & Mario Mandžukić, Marko Pjaca (Croatia)
Ousmane Dembélé, Samuel Umtiti, Lucas Digne & Blaise Matuidi (France)
• Samuel Umtiti was in Olympique Lyonnais’ B team when Pjanić played for the senior side between 2008 and 2011.
• Gianluigi Buffon, Andrea Barzagli and Mattia De Sciglio were in the Italy side and Gerard Piqué, Jordi Alba, Sergio Busquets and Andrés Iniesta featured for Spain in a 1-1 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying draw in October 2016.
• The Spanish quartet also played as Spain beat Italy 3-0 in Madrid on 2 September, with Buffon, Barzagli and substitute Federico Bernardeschi involved for the visitors.
• Chiellini struck first as Italy felled Spain 2-0 in the UEFA EURO 2016 round of 16. Buffon and Barzagli were also in the Azzurri side while Piqué, Alba, Busquets and Iniesta figured for Spain.
• Iniesta, Piqué and Busquets converted spot kicks past Buffon as Spain edged Italy 7-6 on penalties in the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup semi-final.
• Alba fired Spain’s second goal past Buffon in a 4-0 triumph over Italy in the UEFA EURO 2012 final. Piqué, Busquets and Iniesta were also in the Spain team while the Azzurri included Barzagli, Chiellini and Claudio Marchisio.
• Bernardeschi netted Italy’s goal in a 3-1 defeat by a Spain side including Deulofeu and substitute Suárez in the 2017 UEFA European Under-21 Championship semi-finals in June. Daniele Rugani also played for Italy.