Cristiano Ronaldo and Juventus travel to the Bay Arena for their final UEFA Champions League Group D fixture against Bayer Leverkusen.
Juventus overcome Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid to secure Champions League knockout round qualification with a game to spare. However, Group D is still open with both Atletico Madrid and Bayer Leverkusen vying for the final qualification spot.
Both teams play host but to very different sides. Atletico welcome Lokomotiv Moscow at the Wanda Metropolitano. Leverkusen have a tougher task in the shape of group winner Juventus.
A win for the Spanish side will consign the Bay Arena based outfit to Europa League irrespective of their result against the Old Lady. However, it is not all over with Atletico failing to express themselves on the pitch.
Los Rojiblancos have been poor ever since the start of La Liga season. They are seventh in Spanish top flight competition and on a run of four games without a win, and one in eight games across all competitions.
Lokomotiv getting a result against their much fancied rivals is not an anomaly. Even a draw in the Spanish capital will give Bayer a fighting chance.
And a fighting chance is all Peter Bosz would want. Under his guidance, the German side are unbeaten in six games, keeping two clean sheets and have not conceded more than a goal in this period.
They dismantled Bayern Munich on the road a fortnight ago and defeated Atletico at home despite going a man down. Leverkusen have shown they have the tenacity to fight with the big boys and against Juventus they will have to give everything on the pitch.
But Maurizio Sarri’s side will not be pushovers. The reigning Italian champions had their unbeaten start to Serie A taken away this past weekend and will be out smelling blood.
Anger in Turin
Moreover, in Cristiano Ronaldo they have a vengeful legend of the game, out to ensure his relevance to the beautiful game. Will Lionel Messi giving performances week in week out, Ronaldo has his work cut out. He needs to be back amongst the goals, especially in the Champions League.
While Crisiano Ronaldo has found his scoring touch in Serie A, he only has a single goal to his name in Europe.
Juventus too would like to put behind their 3-1 away defeat to Lazio. And the Champions League is the perfect stage.
Enemy number 1 in Italy would surely like the same target in Europe. Bay Arena will be the first region to lay that title on them this campaign.