Juventus ready for Bayern, says Conte
MILAN (AFP) –
Italian champions Juventus will travel to Munich to face Bayern on Tuesday with “confidence” and with “no fear”, says Bianconeri coach Antonio Conte.
A composed Juve side came away from the San Siro on Saturday with a 2-1 win against Inter Milan to retain their nine-point lead over Napoli at the top of Serie A.
With nine games remaining this season Juventus are firmly in pole position to defend their title.
But Conte, who led the Turin giants to their 28th league title in his first season in charge in 2012, says it’s now time for Juve to show their mettle in Europe.
That starts with a solid result from the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final against Bayern, who crushed Hamburg 9-2 on Saturday.
“In Italy we’re on the right road (to success) but now we have to show what we’re made of in Europe,” Conte said after Saturday’s win.
“We’re going to Munich with no fear and a lot of confidence. We’ll be up against a strong Bayern side, but we believe in this dream.”
Bayern have been one of the form teams in the competition this season and Juve could face the Bavarian giants without striker Sebastian Giovinco, who suffered an ankle knock at the end of Saturday’s win.
With Mirko Vucinic still recovering from flu symptoms, it paves the way for another Fabio Quagliarella-Alessandro Matri pairing at the head of Conte’s trusted 3-5-2 formation.
Quagliarella scored a third-minute screamer on Saturday with Matri giving Juve a 2-1 lead on the hour.
Matri, whose playing time has been limited this season, said he is fired up for Juve’s German challenge.
“It’s up to the coach of course but it goes without saying I’m ready to play against Bayern,” said the Italian.
“It seems I always score when I’m playing alongside Quagliarella, as we get along well.
“Europe remains a dream for us. Bayern have some great individual players and we know how they play.”
Bayern’s CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, meanwhile, told Sky Italia the tie could be wide open.
“It’s the quarter-finals and with a team like Juve it’s a difficult challenge. It’s wide open,” said Rummenigge.
“It’s like the final’s come early.”