Share this story

Barcelona aim for home win against dangerous Juventus at start of group stage campaign


Barcelona host fellow European heavyweights Juventus in their Champions League Group B matchup at Camp Nou on Wednesday.

The Blaugrana have been drawn into the group alongside Juve, Greek side Olympiacos and Portugal club Sporting CP.

It’s going to be a tough but the Lionel Messi-led Barça are definitely favourites to advance alongside the Serie A club.

The Italian giants beat the Catalans in the quarter-finals last season, but this will be a new chapter in their rivalry as the Catalans seek to draw first blood at home.

Revenge will be on the mind of Barca who will now be without Neymar but Messi’s presence remains the stabilizing force for the Spaniards.

Barca will be coming in locked and loaded for this encounter.

They have just swamped Espanyol 5-0 in the La Liga over the weekend, with their talisman Messi scoring a hat-trick in the Catalan derby.

Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde also has Luis Suarez to rely on as welll as new record signing Ousmane Dembele, Ivan Rakitic, Sergio Busquets, among others.

Juve, meanwhile, are also trooping into enemy lair with a win to show in their latest Serie A campaign. They clipped Chievo 3-0 last Saturday.

However, manager Massimiliano Allegri will be bothered by the fact that key men Sami Khedira and Claudio Marchisio won’t be seeing cation against Barca.

Juve could also be without classy defender Giorgio Chiellini, who is still recovering from a calf injury.

But Allegri can count on Mario Mandzukic and Alex Sandro, as well as Paulo Dybala and defender Andrea Barzagli.

Barcelona have five Champions League titles, the last one coming in 2015, while Juve have two – in 1985 and 1996.

The Italians could be buoyed by the fact that they ousted Barca last season and will try to do it again this campaign, despite being trounced in the final last season by Real Madrid.

In their last meeting at Camp Nou, Barca and Juve fought to a 0-0 draw.

For this match, a Barcelona win pays 1.75, while a Juventus win pays 4.35. A draw pays 3.75.

Meanwhile, another 0-0 result will pay 15.00.

Who will emerge victorious in the first leg?