Despite what fans of the Premier League may tell you, the most interesting tie of the Champions League quarter finals is the repeat of last season’s final.
Manchester City and Liverpool are playing some wonderful football at the moment, and their clash is definitely worth tuning in to, but there’s unfinished business as far as Juventus are concerned when they take on Real Madrid.
When the sides last met in the showpiece club game of 2016/17, Cristiano Ronaldo bagged two goals, while Casemiro and Sergio Asensio also found the net in Real’s 4-1 win.
Mario Mandzukic briefly raised the hopes of the Old Lady’s supporters with an unbelievable equaliser just before the half hour mark, but the Spanish side’s quality ultimately shone through.
That was the second Champions League Final in which Real Madrid have come out on top against Juventus; a single goal from Predrag Mijatovic was the difference when they met in Amsterdam on 20 May 1998.
According to Alexander Kilpatrick from SportsBettingDime.com, Real Madrid are just a narrow favourite to win the contest with Juventus this time round, and are also narrow favourites for the first leg on April 3 at the Juventus Stadium.
That might be overselling manager Zinedine Zidane and his supremely talented squad; Juventus are still one of the most competent clubs in the world and beating them on home turf is an enormous task.
Juventus could be a value pick as a home underdog, and they have every chance to avenge that loss in the final last year.
The good news for Real Madrid is that two of their superstars are coming off the back of strong performances while on international duty.
Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice late on as Portugal came from behind to beat Egypt, while Gareth Bale helped himself to a hat-trick against China to become Wales’ all-time leading goalscorer.
Attacking midfielder Isco was also in scintillating form, bagging three goals as Spain hammered Argentina 6-1 at the Estadio Wanda Metropolitano in Madrid.
By contrast, Juventus will be without both Mehdi Benatia and Miralem Pjanic for the first leg due to suspension, while Giorgio Chiellini, Sami Khedira and Alex Sandro all have an injury cloud hanging over them.
Chiellini in particular would be a monumental loss, especially coming so soon after his resolute performance against Tottenham Hotspur in the last round.
However, in the likes of Paulo Dybala and Gonzalo Higuain, Coach Max Allegri possesses a couple of weapons who could prove to be the matchwinner.
Goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon recently came out of international retirement and was in good form for Italy in their 2-0 defeat to Argentina last week, and it would be no surprise to see him have a big say in which way this match up swings.
Tickets for the second leg on April 11 sold out in just eight minutes, and there will be 4000 fans of the bianconeri at the Santiago Bernabeu hoping that their side can silence the other 76,000 in attendance.