Juventus face a must-win match against Maccabi Haifa in Matchday 3 of the UEFA Champions League Group H at the Allianz Stadium on Wednesday.
Juventus returned to winning ways at the weekend against Bologna and will now need a similar performance against Israeli giants Maccabi Haifa in their UEFA Champions League Group H fixture on Wednesday.
The Bianconeri are coming off consecutive losses in the tournament – first to Paris Saint-Germain, then to Benfica. And Juventus are currently six points off the qualification spots. In fact, the only thing keeping them off the bottom of the group is Maccabi Haifa’s poorer goal difference.
Massimiliano Allegri and his side cannot afford to secure anything less than three points to stay alive in contention to qualify for the :ast 16 of the tournament. Juventus have looked shaky all season and Maccabi Haifa, despite their standing in European football, could potentially spring a surprise.
Juventus are a shadow of their dominant best and look out of their depth at Europe’s top table. Maccabi Haifa, to their credit, gave both Benfica and PSG a proper fight in their first two games and have been arguably the third best side in the group on current form.
A win for either side on the night gives them a fighting chance of qualifying for the knockout stages. A loss more or less leaves them stranded, with a UEFA Europa League pot a closer bet. It promises to be an interesting game where the points will prove decisive come the end of the group stages.
Team News & Tactics
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The Bianconeri will be without the injured trio of Federico Chiesa, Paul Pogba and Kaio Jorge. Massimiliano Allegri has an otherwise fully-fit squad to choose from in the must-win game.
The quartet of Adrien Rabiot, Alex Sandro, Manuel Locatelli and Wojciech Szczesny all returned to action at the weekend and will be in contention for Wednesday as well. Angel Di Maria was suspended for the clash against Bologna and is another player with a strong case to feature against Maccabi Haifa.
Allegri is likely to deploy his side in a 4-4-2 formation that is freely flexible given the situation. Szczesny should start in goal behind a back four of Danilo, Gleison Bremer, Leandro Bonucci and Mattia De Sciglio.
Filip Kostic and Juan Cuadrado will be tasked with providing the width on the night. The former in particular has been in good form and will be Juventus’s biggest offensive threat down either flank. The duo will be anchored in the middle of the park by Leandro Paredes and Adrien Rabiot.
Dusan Vlahovic rediscovered his goalscoring touch at the weekend and will start up front alongside Arkadiusz Milik. Allegri cannot afford to go into the clash with anything other than a full-strength side given the enormity of the game.
Probable Lineup (4-4-2): Szczesny; Danilo, Bremer, Bonucci, De Sciglio; Cuadrado, Paredes, Rabiot, Kostic; Vlahovic, Milik
The Israeli giants are, on paper, the inferior of the four sides in the group. However, Maccabi Haifa put up a brave fight against Benfica and PSG in their opening two games and do not appear to be afraid of facing more illustrious opponents.
Juventus have not fared well against sides that have taken the game to them and will be foolhardy to dismiss Barak Bakhar’s men. Haifa will be without Suf Podgoreanu and Mahmoud Jaber, both of whom are out injured.
Fresh. Energized. MACCABI ⚡️
— Maccabi Haifa FC (@mhfootballclub) October 3, 2022
Bakhar is likely to deploy his side in a 3-5-2 formation, with Josh Cohen set to start in goal. He will be protected by a back three of Daniel Sundgren, Dylan Batubinsika and Sean Goldberg. The trio of Neta Lavi, Mohammad Abu Fani and Tjaronn Chery will hold the fort in the middle of the pitch, giving
Pierre Cornud and Dolev Haziza will start out wide, providing the width. The duo can also drop back to form a flat back five when not in possession. Omer Atzili and Frantzdy Pierrot will start up front, hoping to secure a famous win for Maccabi Haifa over Juventus.
Probable Lineup (3-5-2): Cohen; Sundgren, Batubinsika, Goldberg; Haziza, Chery, Lavi, Abu Fani, Cornud; Pierrot, Atzili
- Both teams have faced off against each other just twice, back in the 2009/10 season. Juventus won both games with a 1-0 scoreline.
- Maccabi Haifa have played Italian teams in Europe just five times. They have won just once, against Parma in the 1993 Cup Winners Cup.
- Juventus are currently on a three-game losing run in the UEFA Champions League. The Turin behemoths have never lost four games in a row in the competition.
- Maccabi Haifa have never won an away game in the UEFA Champions League. They have lost eight and drawn two so far. Maccabi Haifa have not scored an away goal in the Champions League since November 2002.
- Juventus have never opened their UEFA Champions League campaign with three straight losses. The last time Juventus failed to win their first three matches in the group stages was in the 2013/14 campaign. They failed to qualify for the knockout rounds that year.
Player to Watch
The Polish striker has enjoyed a fine start to his life at Juventus and has scored several key goals for the Italian giants. With Dusan Vlahovic likely to draw the majority of the attention from the Maccabi Haifa defence, Milik will be well placed to take advantage.
Good in the air and technically proficient, the 28-year-old will be a handful to contain. How well Milik performs on the night could ensure where the three points end up.
Juventus 2-0 Maccabi Haifa
Maccabi Haifa are unlikely to make life easy for Juventus, but the return of key players will give Massimiliano Allegri more options. With home support on their side and considering the gravity of the game, anything less than three points could turn out to be the Bianconeri’s death knell in this season’s competition.
Coming off the back of a 3-0 win at the weekend, Allegri’s men have momentum and also a point to prove. The Hard Tackle believes Juventus will beat Maccabi Haifa 2-0 on the night in a game that could be closer than expected.