Juventus travel to Sweden for a visit to Malmo in their Champions League opener on Tuesday. The Bianconeri have underperformed heavily in the competition in the last few years and will aim to do better this term, although it remains to be seen how they’ll cope without Cristiano Ronaldo after his move to Manchester United.
Where and when: Eleda Stadium – 14 September, kick-off 20:00
Where you can see Malmo vs. Juventus: BT Sport
Last time: Fernando Llorente and Carlos Tevez were on target when Juventus defeated Malmo 2-0 last time out. The game took place in 2014 and was played at the same stadium that will host Tuesday’s clash.
Malmo v Juventus Predictions and Preview
Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure is just one of the reasons Juventus are having a rough start to the season. The Bianconeri managed just one point from the opening two rounds of Serie A fixtures, as they threw away a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 against Udinese, before suffering an embarrassing 1-0 defeat against Empoli at home.
Massimiliano Allegri and his men would like to avoid a similar start in the Champions League and they’ll aim to start strongly when they travel to Malmo on Tuesday.
The international break gave Allegri some time to work with some of his players and proved useful for the likes of Moise Kean and Federico Bernardeschi, who featured in Italy’s 5-0 trashing over Lithuania. Kean scored a brace in that game and will be pushing for a start against Malmo, while Bernardeschi can also step in as Federico Chiesa suffered a knock and is a doubt.
Last year, Juventus kicked off their Champions League campaign with a 2-0 win away to Dinamo Kiev. The Bianconeri won both of their previous two meetings against Malmo by the same result, so backing up a repeat of that scenario can’t be ruled out at 6/1.
Chelsea and Zenit Saint Petersburg are the other two teams in Group H, so Juventus need to start strongly by picking up three points against what appears to be the weakest team in the group. The Bianconeri have just one defeat in their last 10 away games in the group stage, but they have been far from convincing on the road in the knockout stages, losing their last two games against Lyon and Porto.
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Juventus to win
Handicap Juventus -1
Dybala to score first
Malmo, meanwhile, qualified for the group stage after eliminating Bulgarian champions Ludogorets in the final play-off, but have been handed a tough draw. In attack the Swedes rely heavily on Mirko Colak, who has eight goals, while Veljiko Birmancevic has netted seven times from midfield.
The Blues have never scored against the Old Lady, but might not get a better chance, as the Bianconeri have conceded at least one goal in 22 consecutive games, prior to their trip to Napoli on Saturday.
Brazilian full-backs Alex Sandro and Danilo returned late from the international break, so they might be rested by Allegri, but talisman Giorgio Chiellini is expected to start in defence.
Despite losing Ronaldo and starting off slowly domestically, Juventus remain firm 1/2 favourites with William Hill to get the three points on Tuesday. The draw is priced at 10/3, while a what would be a shock victory for the hosts can be backed at 11/2.
One to watch for Malmo: Ismael Diawara started the season as Malmo’s second-choice goalkeeper, but Johan Dahlin’s injury means that the Mali international is expected to start between the sticks against Juventus. Diawara has already featured twice for Malmo this term ahead of the weekend, with the Blues losing on both occasions, so he’ll have to be at his absolute best if the Swedes are to cause an upset on Tuesday.
One to watch for Juventus: Paulo Dybala is expected to have a much bigger role for Juventus after Ronaldo’s departure. The Argentinian, who is also the captain when Giorgio Chiellini is not playing, has already opened his account in Serie A and will be eager to do the same in the Champions League on Tuesday.
Long shot: Both of the previous two meetings between Juventus and Malmo ended in 2-0 victories for the Bianconeri. A repeat of that result is available at 6/1, while those odds rise further if you pair it with Paulo Dybala to score the opener.