While the English-language media’s attention will be on Spurs’ visit to Monaco, the most intriguing match of Tuesday’s slate is Juve’s trip to Seville. The La Liga side have risen to third in Spain, on the back of a revitalized Samir Nasri (which we wrote about for Howler this week) and under the direction of former Chile manager Jorge Sampaoli. Over the weekend, they came back from 2-0 down away to Deportivo de La Coruna to win 3-2 with two late goals. The visitors have lost only once in their last 12 matches and had an easy warm-up in a 3-0 win over Pescara. A win for Sevilla would clinch the group, while a Juventus win would ensure they make it out of the group (as would a Lyon draw or loss). The sides drew 0-0 in the reverse fixture, but with the winner likely taking first in the group, expect neither to be happy to settle for just a point.
For Sevilla, the Champions League has been merely a warm-up for the Europa League trophy they’ve come to own for three years straight (as well as in both 2006 and 2007). Their five Europa League trophies in 11 years have given them more silverware in Europe than Manchester City, Chelsea or Arsenal. Things aren’t as optimistic as you’d expect, however, after director of football Monchi, the most influential figure in the club’s recent success, was denied a request to quit after suffering from considerable burnout. In addition, they lost their highest scoring player last year, Kevin Gameiro (among four other high profile losses) but Monchi has brought in plenty of reinforcements, including Ben Yedder, who scored 17 in 35 for Toulouse last season. They’ll also begin the season with former Chile manager Jorge Sampaoli taking the helm. With Juve the only big contender in their group, a trip to the Round of 16 is within reach.
Over the summer, Italian champions Juve robbed their biggest Serie A rivals of their best talent - taking the league’s top goalscorer, Gonzalo Higuain, away from second-place finishers Napoli and the most productive midfielder, Miralem Pjanic, from Roma, who finished third. With their domestic season looking comfortable, you’d expect Juventus to put their focus on winning the Champions League for the first time since 1996, with Chelsea manager Antonio Conte starting in midfield. While they’ll certainly miss the loss of Paul Pogba, they’ve reinforced enough over the summer that they are considered among the favorites to reach the final.
Scored at least 14 goals for four straight seasons at Toulouse in Ligue 1.
N'Zonzi was Stoke City's player of the year in 2014-15 prior to joining Sevilla.
Scored a Serie A-record 36 league goals for Napoli last season.
The heart and soul of Juve for over 15 years and 460+ appearances, even as they were relegated to Serie B following the Calciopoli betting scandal.