Juventus v. Barcelona
Two years ago, Juventus and Barcelona met in Berlin to contest the UEFA Champions League final. On that day, the Catalan side went ahead on an early Ivan Rakitic finish and led 1-0 at the half. The Italians equalized ten minutes after the break, as Alvaro Morata beat Marc-André ter Stegen in the 55th minute. But Barcelona could not be contained forever, and the blaugrana went ahead for good when Luis Suarez cleaned up a rebound for the match winner in the 68th minute. The goal came shortly after Paul Pogba argued in vain for a penalty after he was brought down in the penalty area by Dani Alves. Neymar added a third goal in stoppage time, and Barça completed their treble.
Pogba is now gone to England, and in an interesting twist Dani Alves now plays for the bianconeri in Italy after transferring from Barcelona in the summer. At this point Juventus is unbeaten so far this season in Champions League competition, with four wins and a pair of draws in group play and shutout victories in both legs of their Round of 16 encounter with FC Porto. Barcelona has faced a much tougher road, losing 3-1 at Manchester City in the group stage and 4-0 at Paris Saint-Germain in the first leg of the Round of 16.
Juventus is far more disciplined on the back end than PSG, having allowed just two goals in eight matches so far in the Champions League. This pairing should end in another thriller reminiscent of their 2015 clash. Look for more Barça magic as the Spanish side dashes another team’s dreams in the knockout stage, but it will be tougher this time.
PREDICTED FINISH: 3-2 Barcelona on aggregate