FC Bayern München coach Pep Guardiola warned his injury-ravaged defence to beware Juventus’ clinical streak at set-pieces when the pair meet on Tuesday.
The Bundesliga league leaders will step out in Turin for the first leg of their UEFA Champions League Last 16 tie with a makeshift back four due to the spate of injuries suffered by Bayern’s central defenders.
With Jerome Boateng (l.), Holger Badstuber, Medhi Benatia and Serdar Tasci all short of full match fitness, midfielder Joshua Kimmich and the versatile David Alaba are likely to be employed in central defence where Juve – spearheaded by former Bayern man Mario Mandzukic – will aim to exploit their relative lack of height.
"We have to stop counter-attacks and above all not give away set-pieces. Juventus are the best team in Europe at set-pieces," Guardiola told media. "Yes, we have a problem, but what should we do? Complaining won't get you anywhere. We have almost no central defenders."
After being rested for the 3-1 win over SV Darmstadt 98 at the weekend, Philipp Lahm will most likely return to the starting line-up and make his 100th appearance in the UEFA Champions League.
He suggested Bayern may rein in their habitual attacking verve given they will host Juve in the return at the Allianz Arena on 16 March. "We want to win every match," the 32-year-old defender said. "But we have to keep in mind we have another 90 minutes in Munich."
- Bayern have lifted Europe's premier club competition five times. Their most recent triumph was in 2013 when they beat Juventus en route to defeating fellow Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund 2-1 in the final in London.
- Bayern have won their last three matches against Juventus in all competitions, scoring at least two goals in each of those encounters.
- Indeed, the Bavarians are the only foreign team to have beaten Juve in 45 European home games since 2004.
- Bayern have won six of their previous seven Champions League matches, scoring at least two goals in each of those games.
- Guardiola's side have won nine of their previous ten games. Their last reverse was against Borussia Mönchengladbach on Matchday 15 when they lost 3-1 back at the beginning of December.
- Juventus last tasted victory against Bayern in November 2005 when they prevailed 2-0 in the group stages thanks to a David Trezeguet brace.
- Bayern duo Arturo Vidal and Kingsley Coman make a return to their former club, whilst the Bianconeri have ex-Bayern striker Mario Mandzukic on their books.
Juventus: Buffon (c) - Lichtsteiner, Bonucci, Barzagli, Evra - Marchisio, Khedira, Pogba, Cuadrado - Dybala, Morata
Bayern: Neuer - Rafinha, Kimmich, Tasci, Alaba - Müller, Vidal, Lahm (c), Robben, Costa - Lewandowski