Not long ago, Chelsea and Juventus looked like two of the strongest teams in Europe and clear favorites to win their domestic leagues, but both have faltered in recent weeks. Juventus saw their year-plus winning streak ended at home by bitter rivals Inter Milan just over two weeks ago, while Chelsea have failed to win in their last four consecutive Premier League fixtures.
Shakhtar Donetsk are expected to beat Nordsjaelland on Tuesday, and given their win over Chelsea in Ukraine and their draw at the Juventus Arena, no one expects them to lose their final match of the group stage. While the Juventus faithful, players and staff will have confidence that they can win their final match if things go wrong against Chelsea, they will put themselves in dire straits with a poor result on Tuesday. Even a draw will put them in a tough situation, and make them very much third favorites to advance.
The first match between these two sides was an excellent tactical battle, though it was changed significantly by Oscar's lack of fitness and a great substitution by the Old Lady. With Juventus trailing at Stamford Bridge, Oscar -- who had marked Pirlo out of the match to that point -- had to exit while Fabio Quagliarella entered for Juventus. He caused Chelsea problems that the man he replaced, Sebastian Giovinco, did not, while Pirlo simultaneously got more time on the ball. This combination spelled disaster for the Blues, as Quagliarella snatched a point for Juventus with an 80th minute equalizer.
Oscar is fitter and more battle-tested at this point, but Juventus will be aware of Chelsea's tactics for denying the ball to Pirlo and should adjust. At the same time, the confidence and form of Fernando Torres have completely stagnated Chelsea's attack. This match will be a tactical battle, but tactics won't matter if Oscar plays to the best of his ability ... or if Torres plays to the worst of his.
Juventus injuries and suspensions
Out: None. In doubt: Mirko Vučinić (flu).
Chelsea injuries and suspensions
Though Ryan Bertrand has proven that he's good enough to play anywhere on the pitch for Chelsea in big games, expect Ashley Cole to return to Chelsea's starting XI on Tuesday. Juventus are more or less full strength, but Vučinić hasn't come back to full match fitness quite yet, following an illness.
Match Date\Time: Tuesday, 8:45 p.m. local, 7:45 p.m BST, 2:45 p.m ET
Venue: Juventus Arena, Turin, Italy
TV: Fox Soccer Channel (U.S.), ITV 1 (U.K.), Sportsnet regional networks (Canada), Sky Calcio 1 (Italy).
Online: Fox Soccer 2Go (U.S.)