It looks set to be a dramatic night at the Allianz Arena today as Bayern host Juventus in their last 16 second-leg tie. After a 2-2 draw in Turin both teams will still feel they can reach the quarter-finals.
It was all going so well for Pep Guardiola’s Bayern team at the J Stadium three-weeks ago, when goals from Thomas Muller and Arjen Robben put the Bavarians into a commanding position in the tie.
A frenetic last quarter however, saw the Italians draw level and whilst the five-time champions of Europe will remain favourites to progress to the last eight, they will write Juventus off at their peril.
After two matches without a win, Guardiola’s side got back to winning ways domestically on Saturday, easily dispatching Werder Bremen at the Allianz Arena to put their title defence back on track.
Now comes an all-together different test against last season’s finalists where the Bavarians will be looking to continue their devastating Champions League form at home, having scored 14 and only conceded one in the group phase.
Last Friday’s 1-0 win over Sassuolo was Juve’s 18th in their last 19 league outings and with goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon not having been beaten for 10 matches domestically, a fifth straight title now seems imminent.
The Champions League is a different matter however, and coach Massimo Allegri, whilst not becoming obsessed with going one better than runner-up last season, knows that this is the competition where his team’s strength will be truly assessed.
History tells us that the Old Lady can upset the odds this evening; having only failed to win one of their seven European ties where they have drawn the first-leg at home.
In striker Mario Mandzukic, they also have a player desperate to put in a top level display on his old stamping ground.