Atletico Madrid vs Juventus
How these clubs would love to get their hands on the Champions League.
Both have provided Champions League 2019 highlights galore in recent years, and they are among the favourites if you study the Champions League 2019 betting odds.
What most of you us followers may not realise, however, is that the mighty ‘Old Lady’ of Turin have not triumphed in the competition since 1996.
It may not seem it, but 23 years is quite a long time ago!
And that creates pressure.
This is the year they want to put that right.
After two defeats in three seasons, their most recent coming at the hands of a Cristiano Ronaldo-inspired Real Madrid, Juventus decided to adopt the motto ‘if you can’t beat them, join them’.
They broke the bank last summer to sign the then-33-year-old Ronaldo who has given them a new lease of life, firing them to what looks like an unassailable lead in Serie A.
Yes, they are dominating domestically – the 13-point lead they hold over second-placed Napoli is the biggest Serie A gap by Week 24 since 2006-07.
Yet it is in Europe where their ultimate desire surely lies.
The deal was widely considered a statement of intent by the Bianconeri to end that wait.
With Ronaldo joined by the likes of Paulo Dybala, Mario Mandzukic, Sami Khedira and the defensive doyens of Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini, they are among the favourites – even if yours truly thinks they will likely fall short again this season.
Ronaldo’s time at Juventus has certainly lived up to expectations with 21 goals and 11 assists so far and, at the age of 34, he remains a player hungry to achieve silverware at the highest level.
He has also tormented Atletico in recent years while at Real, including two goals in Champions League Finals and the most goals in Madrid derbies. He scored two hat-tricks at the Estadio Vicente Calderon, Atletico’s former home.
Atletico Madrid actually have a European trophy to their name this season, but not the one they crave most of all.
Their 4-2 success over city rivals Real Madrid in the early season UEFA Super Cup Final hinted at a special season ahead, following on from their Europa League triumph and La Liga runners-up spot at the end of last term.
However, while they have still performed well, Atletico trail La Liga leaders Barcelona by seven points and it’s highly unlikely they will be able to claw back that deficit in the final three months of the campaign.
In fairness to coach Diego Simeone, the Argentine has helped Atletico overachieve during his stewardship, to such an extent that they are now considered major players at the top table both at home and aboard. This is despite having only a fraction of the resources of some of their rivals.
Atletico Madrid forward Alvaro Morata in action against Rayo Vallecano’s Santi Comesana in their recent La Liga clash
Knowing this season’s tournament final will be hosted at their own ground, the Estadio Wanda Metropolitano, will either add to the pressure or give them, in the words of star man Antoine Griezmann, ‘extra motivation’ in the competition.
After scoring his side’s winner at the weekend, Griezmann became the club’s fifth-highest goalscorer of all time – he now has 130 goals for Los Rojiblancos and has surpassed former teammate Fernando Torres in the standings.
Alongside him is on-loan Chelsea man Alvaro Morata who will be keen to score against his former side.
The scene is set for a captivating tie, the winners of which will feel confident of progressing further in the competition – perhaps all the way to the final on June 1.
Aside from meetings during the UEFA Cup in two successive seasons in the 1960s, these clubs have only met twice since.
Those encounters came in the 2014/15 group stages of the Champions League.
Atletico won 1-0 at home, thanks to an Arda Turan goal, while the tie in Turin ended goallessly. Juventus went onto reach the final that season, losing 3-1 to Barcelona.
||Atletico Madrid vs Juventus
||Total Goal 2-3 @ 1.94
|January 21, 04:00AM (GMT+8)
The sides are so evenly matched and that is reflected in the betting odds.
In fact, the 1X2 odds could not be closer with Atletico @ 2.69 and Juventus @ 2.73.
The draw @ 3.00 is also indicative of how close this is expected to be.
Likewise, with Asian Handicap betting, you can find odds of Atletico -0.25 @ 2.38 and Juventus -0.25 @ 2.35.
Two teams known for normally being tight in defence is shown by the odds of over 2.25 goals @ 2.25.
|A SHORT EXPLANATION ON HOW OUR () BETS ARE WORTH:
| = €20 (Highly confident)
|| = €10 (CONFIDENT)
|| = €5 (SOMEWHAT CONFIDENT)
Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.
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