Madrid, Barca and Bayern will all fear Juventus – Zoff

EXCLUSIVE: The former Juve player and coach insists that the Old Lady will be a worry for the top teams in Europe if they overcome Monaco on Tuesday

Juventus legend Dino Zoff has told Goal that the likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern Munich will all fear his old club as they prepare to face Monaco in the last eight of the Champions League.

The Old Lady go into Tuesday’s quarter-final first leg as favourites to progress, despite suffering a surprise defeat at Parma on Saturday with a weakened line-up.

And Zoff, who kept goal for the Bianconeri for 11 years before later returning as coach, believes they are not only “70 per cent” likely to go through against Leonardo Jardim’s side but they also carry a threat that will worry Europe’s big guns.

“Juventus are ruling in Italy and doing well in Europe, but Monaco will be tough opponents given how great they are in defence. They concede very few goals and know how to counter with speed and efficiency. Juventus will have to be careful,” Zoff explained.

“But Juve will be a tough opponent for anyone and I think top teams like Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern Munich will really fear Juventus.

“I think the lack of success over the years in the Champions League is just a matter of cycles, with things just not falling their way. This year, though, they have an excellent chance to go deep in Europe and dispel the myth.”

Zoff won the Uefa Cup with the club as both a player and a coach as well as lifting the World Cup as Italy captain in 1982, and he believes the Bianconeri’s come-from-behind Coppa Italia semi-final win over Fiorentina was proof of their quality this season.

“Juventus are going into the game against Monaco with the wind in their sails, with the win at Fiorentina last week being emblematic. This team play the same way even when their star players are missing, and that is the mark of a very good side,” he added.

“They have a 70 per cent chance of reaching the semi-finals, but the first game in Turin must be approached with humility as, if you take to the field thinking you have already won, that can be a big mistake.”

Unsurprisingly, the 73-year-old expects Carlos Tevez to have a big say in the clash with Monaco. The Argentine has netted 25 goals so far this season and will be fit to return to action after a thigh injury.

“I think Carlos Tevez is in exceptional form right now, and he can give this Juventus team a major boost just as he did against Dortmund. But Juve have so many prominent players despite the absences, and there’s also the positive of Andrea Pirlo returning.”

The first leg between the Bianconeri and Monaco at Juventus Stadium kicks off at 20:45 CET on Tuesday, with the return leg scheduled for April 21 at the Stade Louis II.

Porto – Bayern Munich Preview: Lahm confident despite injury crisis

The World Cup-winning captain remains convinced his side will reach the last four provided they play to their strengths

Philipp Lahm says his Bayern Munich team-mates will cope with their favourites tag in Wednesday’s Champions League clash with Porto at the Estadio do Dragao.

The Bundesliga champions travel to Portugal looking to take another important step in their bid for a domestic and continental treble and are heavily fancied to return home with a healthy advantage.

Bayern are unbeaten on Portuguese soil but, ahead of a re-run of the 1987 European Cup final that Porto won, Pep Guardiola’s side have endured something of an injury crisis.

Arjen Robben (stomach), Bastian Schweinsteiger (virus) and Franck Ribery (ankle) will miss out, after Guardiola named just four substitutes in Saturday’s league win over Eintracht Frankfurt.

The recent return of captain Lahm has buoyed the runaway Bundesliga leaders, with the German backing his side to progress.

“We are confident enough to say that if we play our game, keep lots of possession and play attacking football, and don’t give our opponents many chances, then we will win,” Lahm told Uefa.com.

“But they’re a dangerous team, with a lot of quality in attack and fast and technically strong players in their squad. We are in the quarter-finals of the Champions League so there aren’t any easy teams any more.   

“We’ve just had the international break, so I’ve had the chance to train for two full weeks and I feel very good. And it’s about time to get back into rhythm. 

“It’s a pity to have missed the round of 16 – that’s when [the competition] really starts – but it’s nice to be back for the quarter-finals. Being among the best teams in Europe is nice.”

Bayern eased into the last eight with a 7-0 aggregate victory over Shakhtar Donetsk, while Porto saw off Swiss side Basel 5-1.

Julen Lopetegui – a former team-mate of Guardiola with Barcelona and Spain – remains in the running to secure both the Champions League and the Primeira Liga during his debut season at the helm.

Porto are without the suspended Ivan Marcano and have doubts over striker Jackson Martinez (groin), but Lopetegui is keen to focus on the task at hand.

“We are prepared for this time of the season,” explained the former Spain youth coach.

“Playing the quarter-finals of a competition as big as this one is a reward for everyone and the only thing on our mind is dream and ambition.

“There is nothing else to take into the game.”

Schweinsteiger and Ribery to miss Porto clash

The Bundesliga champions must cope without two of their key men for the European meeting at the Estadio do Dragao

Bayern Munich duo Bastian Schweinsteiger and Franck Ribery have been ruled out of Wednesday’s Champions League clash with Porto.

With a number of first-team players already missing the trip to Portugal, including Arjen Robben, David Alaba and Javi Martinez, Bayern boss Pep Guardiola had been hoping for some good news ahead of the quarter-final first leg.

But he will have to do without midfielder Schweinsteiger and winger Ribery with the former suffering from a virus and the latter still struggling with an ankle problem.

Bayern sporting director Matthias Sammer told a press conference: “Bastian and Franck can’t play, that’s too bad.

“But we have complete faith in the players that we have available. Everyone knows the situation and the team have a real hunger.”

Defender Jerome Boateng does return, however, and striker Claudio Pizarro will also travel later today. Xabi Alonso is available following a one-match suspension.

Bayern warmed up for their return to Champions League action with a 3-0 defeat of Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday, a result which maintained their 10-point advantage over Wolfsburg at the top of the Bundesliga.

Kroos, Torres & the Champions League stars one booking from a suspension

Europe’s elite club competition returns this week with four tasty quarter-final ties – but which players are in danger of missing the second leg?

The latter stages of the Champions League often sees high-profile players absent through suspension, making a huge difference to their teams’ chances of success.

Going into the first leg of this week’s mouth-watering quarter-final ties, there are a number of stars who are one yellow card away from being ruled out of the return games.

Atletico Madrid have five players – Cristian Ansaldi, Jesus Gamez, Gabi, Mario Suarez and Fernando Torres – with that status.

Their opponents, city rivals Real Madrid, have Fabio Coentrao, Marcelo and Toni Kroos on the brink.

Juventus have Stefan Lichtsteiner, Arturo Vidal, Alvaro Morata and Roberto Pereyra one act away from missing the second leg of their tie with Monaco. Paul Pogba would also have been one of the players needing to watch out if he had not been struck down with injury.

Leonardo Jardim’s men have three key players sitting one card away from a ban – Joao Moutinho, Layvin Kurzawa and Yannick Ferreira-Carrasco.

Porto have key figures Alex Sandro, Danilo, Maicon and Oliver Torres all one booking away from a suspension.

Bayern, on the other hand, only have one player walking the tightrope – defender Jerome Boateng.

PSG midfielder Blaise Matuidi and defender Gregory van der Wiel will need to ensure they are not drawn into a foul in their home game against Barcelona.

Luis Enrique’s side, meanwhile, are the only team without any players in jeopardy of missing the second leg by picking up another booking.

Ibrahimovic, Pogba & the missing Champions League stars

The tournament returns with four quarter-final ties this week and there are a number of high-profile players who are injured or suspended

Paris Saint-Germain are the side struggling most with key injuries and suspensions going into the Champions League quarter-finals.

PSG face Barcelona without in-form striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who is ruled out through suspension after his red card against Chelsea, with coach Laurent Blanc hoping Edinson Cavani and Ezequiel Lavezzi can limit the impact of his absence.

Marco Verratti is also suspended, while fellow midfielder Thiago Motta (thigh) is missing. David Luiz is another important injured player Blanc will have to do without, while full-back Serge Aurier is suspended.

Luis Enrique’s side, meanwhile, have Dani Alves suspended and Jordi Alba (groin) rated as doubtful. Thomas Vermaelen is still out.

Juventus will be without key midfielder Paul Pogba due to his hamstring injury, while Andrea Pirlo (calf) will be the subject of a late fitness check having not played since the first leg of his side’s last-16 tie against Borussia Dortmund.

Opponents Monaco were dealt a double blow over the weekend. Leonardo Jardim’s side now look set to be without influential midfielder Jeremy Toulalan, while veteran defender Ricardo Carvalho is also a doubt. Long-term absentees Lacina Traore and Tiemoue Bakayoko are still absent.


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Atletico Madrid were boosted when Mario Mandzukic was passed fit to play against rivals Real Madrid. Raul Garcia is now their main doubt with an arm injury.

Real Madrid have no major concerns having welcomed back Pepe, Sergio Ramos and James Rodriguez in recent matches. Gareth Bale missed the 3-0 win over Eibar on Saturday but has since returned to training and should be fit.

Bayern Munich will face Porto without a trio of key stars – David Alaba (knee), Javi Martinez (knee) and Arjen Robben (hip). Franck Ribery and Bastian Schweinsteiger (both ankle) are both doubts.

Porto are hoping Jackson Martinez and Cristian Tello will be fit enough to play, but they will have to be checked ahead of kick-off. Ivan Marcano is suspended.