For the first time since 2003, the black and blue striped jerseys of Juventus FC, will be seen in the Champions League Final, which this year will be held at the Olympiastadion in Berlin.
On June 6, Gianluigi Buffon will have the chance to lift the trophy for the first time in his career and there is no better time than right now for him and Juventus to win the Holy Grail.
After many years of failure in Europe, Juventus have finally made it to the big time. What has changed? What finally made the Old Lady sing in tune?
To start off, we must address what makes Juventus such a difficult team to beat. What cannot be denied, is their defensive prowess, composure and organisation.
At the time of writing, Juventus have only lost three games in Serie A this season whilst conceding only 24 goals. Allegri has turned to the deep-rooted Italian values of a strong defence and the centre-back pairing of Leandro Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini has proven to be unbeatable.
Allegri’s decision to switch from a 3-5-2 system to a 4-3-1-2 formation, ensured that the wide areas were always protected and bolstered the defence with a three-man shield, made up of Paul Pogba, Andrea Pirlo and Arturo Vidal.
Juventus’ most complete performance in the Champions League came in the away game at Borussia Dortmund. After holding a 2-1 lead at home, Juventus went away to Signal Iduna Park to win 3-0.
What makes this game significant is the fact that Juventus showed their defensive organisation, having to switch to a 5-3-2 formation due to Pogba’s injury and still managing to not concede.
They sat deep in their own half and produced a stereotypically solid Italian defensive performance, packing their own penalty box, whilst the midfielders shuttled to the wide areas to help shut out Dortmund’s wide players.
Juventus’ attack has also been fantastic as they ensured that the work of their defensive counterparts did not go to waste during this campaign. Carlos Tevez and Alvaro Morata have formed one of the best striker partnerships this season.
Again, one can point to the away game to Dortmund, where Juventus’ back line time and time again, passed the ball into Tevez’s feet. Carlos Tevez held the ball well, shrugged off defenders and found Morata repeatedly with excellent passes, helping create counter-attacks.
Tevez’s individual brilliance can also be seen in the goal he scored against Borussia Dortmund within the first five minutes.
Alvaro Morata also popped up with important goals at home and away to Real Madrid, again linking up with Tevez brilliantly in the first leg to score a real poacher’s effort. This goal seems to summarise the relationship between the two.
Carlos Tevez’ brilliant dribbling and strength allows him to float between midfield and defence, initiating counter-attacks, for Alvaro Morata to get on the end of and finish, with his ice-cool composure.
On top an excellent defensive unit and an attacking duo, Juventus’ team is one full of hard workers. The midfield shuttlers Arturo Vidal, Paul Pogba and Claudio Marchisio do the hard grafting whilst Andrea Pirlo dictates the game’s tempo.
Patrice Evra and Sebastian Lichtsteiner are unsung heroes too. Lichsteiner has covered 135,158 metres in his 12 games in the competition and six other players – Giorgio Chiellini, Arturo Vidal, Claudio Marchisio, Leandro Bonucci and Tevez – are in the top ten players for distance run throughout the Champions League. This showcases that Juventus work hard as a team and this is also what makes them hard to beat.
It seems like Juventus have it all. With a solid defence, a great attacking partnership, individual brilliance and an incredible work rate, FC Barcelona have to be at their best if they want to beat Juventus come the 6th of June.