March 26th, 2013
10:52 AM ET

Pedro's Point of View: The Old Lady a Champions League dark horse?

Andrea Pirlo is key to Juventus' chances of beating Bayern Munich. (Getty Images).
Andrea Pirlo is key to Juventus' chances of beating Bayern Munich. (Getty Images).

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Everywhere I look, everyone I talk to, has Bayern Munich as the favorites in an upcoming high-profile European Champions League quarterfinal clash with Juventus.

I honestly can’t believe it. In my book, the Italian giants will not only knock the Bavarians out of the tournament, but they could go on to lift the trophy at Wembley in May.

I have said it for a while and I will say it again: Juventus may be the most underrated team in Europe.

Over the last two seasons, they have lost only six competitive games. In the Champions League this season, "La Vecchia Signora" has yet to lose a single match and the side boasts the best defense in the competition with just four goals conceded in eight matches.

The strength of their defense is the main reason why I believe Juventus are contenders to win this season’s tournament.

You need to have a solid back line to win the competition, and they certainly boast some of the best stoppers in Europe.

Earlier this season I argued that Leonardo Bonucci was the Champions League’s top defender, and whether you agree with me or not, you have to appreciate the class of the defensive line he forms with Andrea Barzagli and Giorgio Chiellini.

They are a nightmare for most forwards that come up against them and the bad news is that even if you manage to beat the defense, then you still have to find a way to score past goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon.

The second reason I consider them favorites to knock out Bayern Munich is they have the second best playmaker on the planet.

I would put Barcelona and Spain midfielder Xavi at number one, but Andrea Pirlo isn’t far behind.

We all know what he did at Euro 2012 with Italy but his form with Juventus over the last season and a half also needs to be heralded.

This guy is something special. Without ever huffing and puffing in the center of the park, he is always in the right place at the right time, pulling the strings and setting the tempo for Antonio Conte’s side.

Need a short pass? He’s got it. A long ball? No problem. Pirlo can do it all and he can do it with a high level of efficiency.

He has attempted and completed more passes than anyone else on the team and also leads Juve in assists with three in eight games.

Of course no team is perfect, and if there is one weakness the Italian giants have, then it is the lack of a quality center forward.

Neither Fabio Quagliarella, Alessandro Matri, Sebastien Giovinco nor Mirko Vucinic would feature in the top 10 strikers in the competition.

But you know what? Together, they have all aided their side’s cause and helped Juve score 17 goals, second only to Bayern and Real Madrid.

So underestimate Juventus at your peril. This is a real contender, and the Italians will prove it next month in Munich and Turin.

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soundoff (20 Responses)
  1. kings

    Juventus is underestimated but Bayern is not overestimated.
    If Ribery, robben, schweinsteiger is fit, they will beat any team in the world.
    Bayern will win big in munich and draw in Turin... my prediction.

    March 26, 2013 at 12:17 pm | Reply
  2. Carsten Selberg

    I do understand the point of view from Pedro; and the games between Bayern and Juve will be close. I believe that Bayern will come out on the top, because they have a broader bench than Juve.

    But I believe that the most underestimated team is Borrussia Dortmund. BVB won the "group of death" where they were number one in without losing a game in front of Real Madrid (Spanish Champs), Ajax (Dutch Champs) and Manchester City (English Champs). In the last round they eliminated the Ukranian champions and are still undefeated.

    March 26, 2013 at 1:05 pm | Reply
  3. NotTheSmartest

    What makes Juve so formidable beside their defence, is how many options they have when they attack. They have two strikers. Then they have two extremely offensive wingers in Lichtsteiner and Asamoah. Then you have Vidal and Marchisio who terrorize their opponents by constantly runing behind their defence. I would also say that Juve might be the best counterattacking team left in the CL, behind Real Madrid.

    March 26, 2013 at 1:28 pm | Reply
  4. sebi

    I completely agree. Juventus have the quality and stamina to not only beat the great Bayern München, but to make it all the way to the Champions League final and win it. The squad isn't only strong because of the individual talents of Buffon, Chiellini, Pirlo, Lichtsteiner or Vidal, but they are a team that moves together, fights together and scores goals together. Some may say Juventus is lacking a 'real' goal-getter and their shots-on-target/scored-goals ratio might underline that statement. However, I feel that Juventus has proven to be the team to beat in Italy and on the European stage.

    I am not saying that Bayern Munich is an easy opponent; I was rather nervous when I saw that the only two teams left in the draw where these two traditional greats. Bayern is the next Barcelona in every aspect, and after having been the 'eternal second' in all competitions last season, it seems as if they want to win it all this year.

    Whichever team wil go onto the next stage, we can rest assured that both teams will fight till the last minute and will provide fantastic football entertainment.

    March 26, 2013 at 1:30 pm | Reply
  5. Damien

    Im agree with you pedro but the only problem is the stricker of juve. They dont had a real stricker and i think that why they buy fernando llorente from bilbao. And on the other side i think the bayern really souffered at home un the 1/8 against arsenal and that a sign. Well that confrontation will be awesome to watch !

    March 26, 2013 at 2:43 pm | Reply
  6. Al

    Juve maybe the dark horse but they always choke in the CL. As a matter of fact they had much better teams than this one that choked that included the current manager. My money is on RM OR BVB.

    March 26, 2013 at 3:33 pm | Reply
  7. Ryan

    Delighted that Pedro believes this. Juve haven't even been mentioned amongst the favourites and i don't understand why! they showed chelsea up in the group staged, and granted celtic weren't the hardest of opposition's to get past but they also aren't the easiest, especially in park head. Bayern are a very strong team and are rightfully favourites. But if their 2nd leg match with arsenal in munich was anything to go by, they are in fact evidentally beatable. And united also proved that so are madrid, as did celtic with barcelona. So i dont see why Juve are being just dismissed in the next round by peopl!

    March 26, 2013 at 4:16 pm | Reply
  8. ROBE

    JUVE FOR LIFE

    THE STRONGEST TEAM SPIRIT IN WORLD FOOTBALL

    THEY WILL SPIT BLOOD UNTIL THE END!!

    March 26, 2013 at 6:24 pm | Reply
  9. JuvE46

    Ole Ole Ole...JUVE...JUVE.. The nightmare is back JUVE FOR LIFE

    March 27, 2013 at 3:37 am | Reply
  10. Killian

    How can anyone underestimate Juventus?

    They have the best goalkeeper in the world.

    The best defence in the world.

    Their midfield would compete well with Real Madrid and Barcelona.

    And as stated in the article, the only problem is that they have no world class striker although Vucinic and Giovinco are good. But they have such a good defence, they don't need to be scoring lots of goals. Its scary to think they could be stronger next season though with the addition of Llorente.

    This is going to be a really good game and could go down to the wire. We should remember that Bayern will have Ribery and Schweinsteiger back in the team, so they will be back to full strength and are still a formidable outfit for any team.

    March 27, 2013 at 12:36 pm | Reply
  11. Imran Fariz

    The Old Lady has the strong back bone of a winning team.Along with the creativity from Pirlo and industry from the rest Conte's team is capable of going all the way.

    March 28, 2013 at 8:48 am | Reply
  12. nwosu uche

    juv can't do anything,........... Bayern will beat them

    March 31, 2013 at 3:01 am | Reply
  13. Jerrold Ryan

    Points for Bayern to Consider:

    Juve have the strongest midfield in Europe.
    Conte is so undpredictable with the line up.
    Good Defense.
    Buffon have the Experience.

    April 2, 2013 at 12:01 am | Reply
  14. Jerrold Ryan

    What i don't understand is Anelka instead of Del Piero?
    too bad Europe wont be able to see ADP to play and give some lessons to the youngsters.

    April 2, 2013 at 12:05 am | Reply
  15. Jerrold Ryan

    to those who keep said that Juve doesnt have a striker...

    that is one of Juve's Key to their double scudetto....
    if you have a ligit striker.. then the defense will know whom they should keep an eye on.

    April 2, 2013 at 12:09 am | Reply
  16. tepa m

    Well, Pedro Pinto.... After praising Juve soooo much... what do you think now... Tomorrow your hope for Juve will end. Bayern is going through all the way.

    Juve might be a good team but they hadn't played against GREAT Bayern!!!

    Better luck next time

    MIA SAN MEISTER!!!

    April 9, 2013 at 8:22 am | Reply
  17. Zepedorra

    Wrong AGAIN Mr. Pinto...

    April 10, 2013 at 10:00 pm | Reply
  18. cmuc

    My eyes were already rolling when I read the article a couple of weeks ago.
    So much for trying to be different. You may need a solid backline to win, but that is worth nothing if you don't score any goals.

    Pedro perhaps you should start believing "everyone you talk to." This Bayern team is actually very good.

    April 11, 2013 at 4:07 pm | Reply
  19. Matt

    How could you misjudge this one so completely? Have you even watched Bayern play?

    Conte picked the wrong lineup and tactic against Bayern, who outplayed Juve in both games and controlled the game with their pressing and players constantly switching positions. Your highly praised Pirlo looked pretty old and slow against the likes of Mandzucic and Robben, Buffon didn't look good and the strikers did nothing.

    April 19, 2013 at 3:41 pm | Reply
  20. Dr. Cajetan Coelho

    Andrea Pirlo is a game changer. Wishing the Italian super star many more years of top class football for club and country.

    April 24, 2013 at 7:30 am | Reply

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