Juve and Bayern face straight fight for last 16
Juventus and Bayern Munich are both coming off good results but something will have to give on Tuesday when only one of the famous European clubs can qualify for the Champions League last 16. Juve need a point while Bayern require a victory in Turin to join Group A winners Bordeaux in the knockout stages.sports Updated: Dec 07, 2009 10:49 IST
Juventus and Bayern Munich are both coming off good results but something will have to give on Tuesday when only one of the famous European clubs can qualify for the Champions League last 16.
Juve need a point while Bayern require a victory in Turin to join Group A winners Bordeaux in the knockout stages.
Failure to win will pile the pressure back on Bayern coach Louis van Gaal, whose team had a rocky start to the season before enjoying a three-match winning streak, including their 1-0 win over Maccabi Haifa in their last Champions League game.
Club bosses have dubbed the last group match a "final" and the Bundesliga side should be boosted by the return to fitness of Dutch midfielder Arjen Robben.
With the absence of playmaker Franck Ribery, who may not play again before the mid-season break, Robben will add much needed pace and control in midfield.
"I am fit again and ready for Tuesday," Robben told reporters. "It is an important match and I would like to play from the start. I do not know how long I can play. Maybe 60-70 minutes but possibly also 90 minutes."
Van Gaal is also set to stick with the striking partnership of Croat Ivica Olic and Mario Gomez, who has scored in Bayern's last three league matches after a stint on the bench.
Twice European champions Juve had lost two in a row, including a 2-0 defeat at Bordeaux, before Saturday's rousing 2-1 home victory over Serie A leaders Inter Milan.
Claudio Marchisio netted a superb winner and his return after knee surgery offers Ciro Ferrara's side balance on the left following Pavel Nedved's retirement in May.
The Juve treatment room, so often full in the last two years, has started to clear with forwards Alessandro Del Piero and David Trezeguet now fully fit for Tuesday.
Rookie coach Ferrara's problem remains the shaky form of close season signings Felipe Melo and Diego, with the latter Brazilian well known to Bayern after his time at Werder Bremen.
The axe is unlikely to fall on playmaker Diego just yet, even given the one-off nature of Tuesday's match, with midfielder Mauro Camoranesi possibly missing out again.
"Tuesday is a match of extraordinary importance and Juve have shown we are ready for big games," Ferrara said.