Football: Serie A strugglers Juve aim for more Champions League wins

MILAN • Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri has demanded that his side forget their domestic woes with a Champions League win over Borussia Moenchengladbach that would put them within sight of the last 16.

An underwhelming start to the Serie A season has left the Italian champions just four points above the relegation zone and nine points behind leaders Fiorentina after eight games.

Following Sunday's 0-0 draw at Inter Milan, Allegri alluded to Juve's split personalities in a tweet. "We played a good game, now let us see #euroJuve and get focused on the Champions League," he wrote.

Last season's beaten Champions League finalists appear to transform when the challenge of Europe's elite club competition looms. Juventus are among six teams with maximum points from their first two games, with wins over Manchester City and Sevilla propelling them to the top of Group D. And they will take a significant step towards the knockout stages with victory over Andre Schubert's improving Bundesliga side today.

Allegri has also been boosted by the return of key players from injury, including midfielders Sami Khedira and Claudio Marchisio as well as experienced defender Andrea Barzagli.

He is expected to deploy his preferred 4-3-1-2 formation for today's clash in Turin, with Alvaro Morata sure to claim one of the two strikers' spots.

The Spanish international's goal against Sevilla last time out meant he equalled Alessandro del Piero's club record of scoring in five consecutive Champions League games. Mario Mandzukic and Paulo Dybala are vying to join him up front.

Gladbach have also endured a mixed season in the Bundesliga so far. They suffered five straight league defeats and lost 0-3 to Sevilla in Europe, leaving them bottom of Germany's top flight and prompting manager Lucien Favre's shock resignation in mid-September.

Schubert was installed only as caretaker coach, but the change was immediate. The Foals went on to win four league games and although a 2-1 defeat by City has left them bottom of the group without a point, they are defiant.

Defender Tony Jantschke said: "We are going to Turin to win. We want to show that we can compete against the big names."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 21, 2015, with the headline 'Serie A strugglers Juve aim for more Euro wins'. Print Edition | Subscribe