The 2019/2020 season of the UEFA Champions League kicks off with the clash of giants on matchday 1. Two-time Champion League winners Juventus FC travel to Spain to face 2014 and 2016 finalists Club Atletico de Madrid. The match is being played at the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium on Wednesday 18th September at 8 PM.
This opening group D clash is a repeat of last season’s second-round clash between the two teams when Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo inspired the Old Lady to a 3-2 comeback victory over Athletico.
Juventus will be aiming to avoid a repeat of last season’s result away when they fell 2-0 to their hosts Athletico. The Turin side will again be counting on their main man Ronaldo to inflict damage on the home side. The Rojiblancos will be especially wary facing the former Ballon D’Or winner with the hat trick he scored against them still fresh in the memory.
Apart from Ronaldo, Juventus will be looking to other senior team members like Blaise Matuidi, Vice-Captain Leonardo Bonnucci and Gonzalo Higuaínamong others to contribute significantly to the goal of winning their first Champions League title in 24 years. Club Captain Giorgio Chiellini is unlikely to play any part in the group stage of the champion’s league as a result of his torn anterior cruciate ligament.
New Juventus Coach Maurizio Sarri will be aiming to guide his team to a confidence-boosting away win as they seek to win their 3rd Champions League title.
Athletico Coach Diego Simeone is set to handle the reins of the Madrid side for the seventh straight Champion’s League campaign. Coach Simeone will be hoping to finally bring home the elusive Champions League trophy back to the red half of Madrid, but he will first have to contend with group D rivals Juve. Simeone will be looking to Chelsea loanee and ex-Juve player Álvaro Morata to provide the necessary firepower alongside strike partner Diego Costa to breach the rear guard of the Old Lady.
An opening group stage win in front of the home fans will be the needed response for Athletico following their indifferent domestic league form.
The result of this game could set the tone for how both team’s respective Champion’s League campaigns will turn out. Both will be desperate not to start off on a losing note.
Group D fixtures will be rounded off when Germans Bayer 04 Leverkusen host Russian top-flight side FC Lokomotiv Moscow on the same day.
Atletico Madrid are backed at 2.41 to defeat Juventus, while Juve are available at 3.40 to steal the win. A likely draw is priced at 3.12
Written by: Ayotunde Omolayole