We are into the real business end of the Champions League now and of Tuesday’s quarter-final, first-leg ties, Juventus against Real Madrid appears the standout fixture.
After meeting in last year’s final, neither has particularly hit the same heights this season and Juve especially seem to be saving their best for the spring.
The Bianconeri again showed their prowess for grinding out wins as they defeated AC Milan 3-1 on Saturday, a result that helped move them four points clear in Serie A after Napoli could only draw at Sassuolo.
Massimiliano Allegri has regularly talked of tapering his side’s form after losing in both the 2015 and 2017 finals and they are unbeaten since November.
Juventus have also kept clean sheets in 11 of their last 13 at home but showed some rare defensive vulnerability in the last round against Tottenham, with Los Blancos out to exploit them.
Real themselves have won their last five in all competitions, netting 16 goals in the process, and will be fresh after Saturday’s easy 3-0 win at Las Palmas.
With their La Liga title defence all but over, a third-straight Champions League title – at 7/4– is now their priority. Zinedine Zidane rotated in the Canaries but will recall all of his big guns in Turin, including a certain Cristiano Ronaldo.
This looks set to be an intriguing fixture and both managers will be doing all they can to ensure they do not give anything away.
The other game seems a bit more clear-cut as Bayern Munich travel to Sevilla.
Bayern are one win away from the Bundesliga title so can afford to focus on ruling Europe (7/5) for the first time since 2013.
Despite losing at RB Leipzig earlier this month, they had won their previous eight games on the road and the fierce atmosphere at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan is unlikely to trouble them.
Sevilla pulled off a shock by beating Manchester United in the last 16 and were unlucky at the weekend as Lionel Messi secured a 2-2 draw for Barcelona in Andalusia.
However, that result again exposed some of their defensive flaws and Jupp Heynckes is sure to have a masterplan.
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