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Borussia Dortmund vs. Juventus preview, 2015 Champions League: A dead even, unpredictable tie

The best tie of the Round of 16 should stay interesting on Wednesday.

Marco Luzzani/Getty Images

This Champions League tie between Juventus and Borussia Dortmund appeared to be the closest of the group when the draw was made, and the first leg lived up to that pre-match billing. Juve were the better side and managed to win at home, but not without giving up an away goal.

BVB have to chase at home, but they'll like their chances of going through thanks to that away goal. A 1-0 win will be good enough to see them go through, and it's a result that no one would be surprised to see.

But the same thing that played into Juve's hands in the first leg continues to help them in the second. There is, in fact, time for them to relax and take their espresso in Serie A. They're winning the league going away and have the luxury of focusing on this competition exclusively. Dortmund have to fight for every point in the Bundesliga to claw their way up to fourth place, and they're coming into this game having drawn their last two domestically.

Team news

Both teams have brutal injury lists, though Juve's is quite a bit worse. Andrea Pirlo, Kwadwo Asamoah, Martin Caceres, Paolo De Ceglie, Romulo and Stefano Sturaro all miss out for them. The good news is that Andrea Barzagli is back from injury.

Dortmund will be without Kevin Großkreutz, as well as right back Lukasz Piszczek. There are also doubts over the fitness of backup fullback Matthias Ginter and midfielder Nuri Sahin.

Projected lineups (left to right)

Borussia Dortmund (4-2-3-1): Roman Weidenfeller; Marcel Schmelzer, Mats Hummels, Neven Subotic, Oliver Kirch; Nuri Sahin, Ilkay Gündogan; Marco Reus, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang; Ciro Immobile

Juventus (3-5-2): Gianluigi Buffon; Giorgio Chiellini, Leonardo Bonucci, Andrea Barzagli; Patrice Evra, Paul Pogba, Claudio Marchisio, Paul Pogba, Stefan Lichtsteiner; Carlos Tevez, Alvaro Morata

football formations

Picking Juventus' lineup is impossible now that Barzagli is back. The Bianconeri have switched between a back three and four this year, mostly based on available personnel. They played with a back four in the first leg, but with a three over the weekend in Barzagli's return. If Massimiliano Allegri opts to go with a four, it'll probably be Roberto Pereyra that replaces Barzagli in the lineup.

Key Matchups

Claudio Marchisio vs. Marco Reus - While they don't match up directly, Marchisio and Reus are going to see a lot of each other, and Reus will be Marchisio's chief concern. While Marchisio is not the exact same kind of player as Andrea Pirlo and won't be expected to replicate his role exactly, he'll fulfill a lot of the same duties in helping Juventus maintain possession. He's also likely to be the deepest midfielder when they lose the ball. Reus will be looking to capitalize on Marchisio turnovers to spring counters throughout the game.

Mats Hummels vs. the devil on his shoulder - No, Mats! Don't listen to him! Don't rush out and make a crazy challenge on a 50-50 ball 50 yards up the field! Bad Mats!

Oliver Kirch (or Mattias Ginter) vs. Juve's left flank - Juve don't play with a true winger whether they play a back three or four, but they'll probably be looking for opportunities to work the ball wide and run at Kirch. He's Dortmund's third-string right back, and the obvious weakness of their team, even if he is a totally decent player. Similar things can be said about Ginter, the second-string RB, who might play. He's not a huge upgrade over Kirch, and is a big downgrade from Piszczek.

Prediction

The first leg was very evenly matched and this game should be the same. 2-1 Dortmund win, which leads to BVB winning in extra time or penalties.