Champions League: Four reasons to trust Juventus to finish the job

Juventus remain [2.22] outsiders to reach the Champions League final despite defeating Real Madrid 2-1 in the first leg. Here are four reasons to consider them a great bet at that price…

The contrasting semi-final records

Juventus have a 70% progress rate from their ten prior Champions League semi-finals, whereas Real Madrid’s figure is a far less convincing 52%. The Spaniards were eliminated at this stage in three of the past four seasons, and on each of the most recent three occasions that they have faced Italian opponents in the semi-finals of a European competition.

2-1 isn’t actually that dangerous a scoreline

To many, a 2-1 aggregate lead after a home first leg is barely worthy of being labelled a lead. Indeed, Marca’s front cover following Real Madrid’s defeat at the Juventus Stadium wasn’t about losing but being one goal from Berlin (a 1-0 victory will suffice) and getting away with a poor first-leg display. They could be in for a shock then because five of the seven hosts to win the first leg of a Champions League knockout tie by that scoreline this decade went on to qualify.

Juventus are experienced at this scenario

Playing the first leg at home is supposed to be a slight disadvantage, yet this is the third round in a row that Juventus have been in that position and they have worked out a gameplan, triumphing in Turin against Borussia Dortmund (2-1) and Monaco (1-0) and seeing it out with an away clean sheet. They won 3-0 at Signal Iduna Park and drew 0-0 at the Stade Louis II. That Dortmund tie was the first in the knockout phase with a 2-1 home first leg since a 2011/12 semi-final between Bayern Munich and Real Madrid in which the ten-time winners failed to overturn that deficit, exiting on penalties.

Real Madrid’s European form is concerning

On their way to that long-awaited tenth trophy last season, Real Madrid were pretty dominant, winning five from six in their knockout double headers and doing so by three goals or more in half of them. In 2014/15, it feels as though they peaked too soon with a flawless group campaign and the club record 22-game winning streak to close 2014. They opened the knockouts with a 2-0 success in Schalke compared to 6-1 last term and have won just one in four since – a late 1-0 against Atletico. By contrast, Juventus are unbeaten in eight on the continent, enjoying three straight away shutouts.