Italian giants Juventus will try to improve on their disappointing Champions League result from last season as they take on Porto in the Round of 16 on Wednesday.
Lyon eliminated Juventus in last year’s Round of 16, winning on away goals after the clubs battled to a 2-2 aggregate score.
Juventus Expects Tough Test from Stout Porto
Once again, Juventus comes into the early knockout stages as a clear favorite to advance. FanDuel Sportsbook even rates the Italian side as an outright favorite to win on the road, posting Juventus as a -105 pick to beat Porto (+320) on Wednesday.
But Juventus manager Andrea Pirlo says his team has a tough test ahead of it, no matter what the oddsmakers may say.
“This will be a very difficult match,” Pirlo told reporters. “They defend very well and have kept four or five clean sheets in the Champions League. They’re a compact team, in the style of Atletico Madrid. They’re very good at closing down spaces. So, we need to be patient and not force things because they’re good at counterattacking. Porto are different to us and they play differently in their league and in the Champions League.”
Porto has struggled a bit in their domestic league, drawing three straight matches to fall 10 points back of Sporting at the top of the table. But manager Sergio Conceicao says that his team is showing more promise in the Champions League.
“We’re not doing that well in the league, as we leave too much space to the opponents, but have been much stronger both defensively and when attacking in the Champions League,” Conceicao told reporters. “Every match is unique and tomorrow we’ll be up against one of the best teams in the world, who have fantastic players.”
Dortmund Visits Sevilla to Open Champions League Knockout Stage
Juventus hasn’t made it past the quarterfinals of the Champions League since reaching the final in the 2016-17 season. Cristiano Ronaldo has implored his teammates to step up and make sure that doesn’t happen again.
“This is what the Champions League is all about: the knockout rounds,” Ronaldo said on Instagram. “Everybody has to bring their A game, because every detail can make the difference.”
|Champions League Odds (via FanDuel Sportsbook)|
|Sevilla: +150||Draw: +230||Borussia Dortmund: +190|
|Porto: +320||Draw: +220||Juventus: -105|
In Wednesday’s other match, Sevilla hosts a Borussia Dortmund squad that finds itself in a period of transition. Dortmund confirmed on Monday that current Borussia Monchengladbach manager Marco Rose will take over the team next season. Dortmund fired Lucien Favre in December, with Edin Terzic currently coaching the team as interim manager.
“We are delighted, but there is not more to say at the moment,” Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke told SID. “We will do that when he takes over in the summer. Also out of respect for all involved.”
Sevilla comes into the match as a +150 choice to pick up a home win over Dortmund (+190). FanDuel rates Dortmund as the slight -144 favorite to go through to the quarterfinals, with Sevilla at -108.