European giants meet for the first time as Juve host Bayern

  • Other Sport
  • Tuesday, 19 Oct 2004

ROME: Juventus and Bayern Munich have played almost 600 European matches between them, but they will meet for the very first time in today’s Champions League clash in Turin. 

Both clubs are in a strong position in Group C and are well placed to advance to the knockout stages having won their first two matches, while Isreali side Maccabi Tel-Aviv and Dutch giants Ajax are without a single point. 

Juve have not yet conceded a goal in the first round and have let in just two in six Serie A matches. 

Jonathan Zebina has been instrumental in tightening up Juve’s rearguard since joining from Roma in the summer and his performances have earned him a call-up to the French team. 

The no-nonsense right-back puts his international recognition down to the Turin club’s attention to detail and the city’s early-closing eateries. 

“I’ve found myself in an ideal environment for a player,” said the 26-year-old, who was born in Paris. 

“The club are thoroughly organised and provide you with everything you might need to help you concentrate on football. 

“I’m happy in Turin, as well. It had been described to me as a dark city, but since I arrived the sun has always shone. 

“It’s a quiet place and the restaurants close early, but that means I get to bed early. Maybe the club have arranged that too!” 

Juventus, three points clear at the top of Serie A following Saturday’s 2-1 home win over Messina, are hoping to have Alessandro Del Piero available for selection to face the Germans. 

The Italy international has been suffering from tendonitis and has not played since Sept 25. 

Bayern’s Peruvian striker Claudio Pizarro has a bad back and is struggling to be fit for the match. 

“The way it looks at the moment he will not travel to Italy,” said Bayern coach Felix Magath after Bayern’s home defeat against Schalke 04 on Saturday which saw them drop to fourth. 

With Iranian international Vahid Hashemian and Paraguay star Roque Santa Cruz already sidelined, Magath’s attacking options are limited. 

Dutch international Roy Makaay is the only forward fit and could play as a lone target-man. 

Bayern have won twice in six away games to Italian opponents. 

They defeated Roma 2-1 in the quarter-finals of the now defunct UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup in the 1984/85 season and won 3-1 against Inter Milan in the third round of the UEFA Cup four seasons later. 

Juve have played 17 matches at home against German opposition in European club competitions, winning 12, drawing twice and losing on three occasions.  

The last time Juventus entertained German opposition was in a fog-delayed match during the second group stage of the 2001/02 Champions League when they defeated Bayer Leverkusen 4-0. 

Despite that emphatic victory, Juve finished bottom of a group won by Leverkusen, who went on to lose the final in Glasgow against Real Madrid. – AFP 

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