Bayern Munich Vs. Juventus, 2013 UEFA Champions League draw: Midfield masterclass expected

Laurence Griffiths

The best Champions League quarter-final tie sees Juventus travel to Munich for the opening leg, hoping to upset the odds against Jupp Heynckes' powerhouse.

We haven't been blessed with the most thrilling Champions League quarter-final draw possible, but there is at least one world class tie, and that's between Bayern Munich and Juventus. Both of these teams are steamrollering their way to title success domestically, making this continental clash a little more unpredictable. In terms of midfield balance, there's few finer teams in the world than Bayern and Juve, though the Bavarians are the early favourites.

Key player

Gianluigi Buffon - Still one of the finest shot-stoppers in the world, whether or not Gianluigi Buffon will be on form could be the difference between a victory and a defeat for Juventus. Such has been the soul-crushingly dominating style that Bayern have used to storm to a ridiculous 20 point advantage at the top of the Bundesliga, it's safe to say that they'll be creating chances. It's up to Gigi to keep them out.

Matchup to watch

Toni Kroos v Andrea Pirlo - Cast your mind back to the Euro 2012 semi-final between Italy and Germany, and this very matchup was decisive. That day, there was little doubt that Juve's playmaking maestro Pirlo came out on top, able to dictate the play despite Kroos supposedly being charged with the task of closing him down. If he's allowed that much space again, it's advantage Juve. On the other hand, with Pirlo not known for his defensive play, Kroos will try to exploit the gaps either side of the midfielder, though that's where the box-to-box energy provided by Claudio Marchisio and Arturo Vidal will be crucial.

Prediction

Bayern to win by a goal. Juventus are going to be gritty and defensively disciplined, though it's difficult to see them upsetting the odds and making it into the semi-final. Despite being the strongest defensive unit in Serie A, they're still lacking in an outstanding striker, and their 3-5-2 could well struggle in a tactical matchup. Bayern's wingers will find space in behind the Juve wing-backs, or at least push them back into a defensive five; allowing the Bavarians to control the midfield. As they've shown countless times this season, eventually they'll make it pay.

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