There are plenty of examples in Champions League history of teams coming back when all looked lost: Manchester United coming back when 2-0 down against Juventus in the semi-final in Turin in 1999, and again in injury time in the Final against Bayern Munich; Liverpool coming back in the 2005 when 3-0 down against Milan; Barcelona overturning a 4-0 first leg deficit to PSG last year.
While the odds are not just as daunting for Juventus this term, they nevertheless have a huge challenge on their hands to turn around the 2-2 draw against Tottenham at Wembley. Juventus were in a similar situation in the Last 16 two years ago when they drew the first leg 2-2 at home against Bayern Munich. They even took a 2-0 lead in Munich in the second leg, Pogba and Cuadrado each getting a goal before half an hour was played. Unfortunately, Munich pegged them back and were able to win the tie in extra-time.
Some tipsters still fancy Juventus to progress
The bookmakers obviously favour Tottenham to progress. They have priced Spurs at 1/3 to get through to the next round, with Juventus in at 11/5 (Betfair). However, if you hunt around some of the betting forums you will see plenty of support for the Old Lady. Site like Free Bets UK offer tips to help you bet with knowledge on the Champions League and other sports, filling in the blanks that fans and even bookmakers may have missed. Check them out for all the Last 16 ties.
It seems to be overlooked from Juventus’ point of view that a 0-1 victory would see them progress. Is this doable at Wembley? Of course. Juventus have a very fine record away from home in Serie A this season (W11, D1, L1) and their Champions League away record is not bad either, having only lost once in the last two seasons (at Barcelona in this season’s group stages). Away victories in Porto and Monaco last season should give them plenty of hope.
Tottenham’s fortunes are tied up with the form of Harry Kane
That 1-0 Juventus victory is priced at 11/1 for the game today. To some, that will look pretty generous. While Tottenham have finally found their feet at Wembley, they nevertheless have relatively small squad depth. Their recent FA Cup draw with Rochdale added another replay to an already packed calendar. The gruelling fight for Top 4 places in the Premier League will inevitably take a toll at some point. Also, without dismissing Tottenham as a one-man team, they are very dependent upon Harry Kane. Should the England striker pick up a knock in the next couple of games, Juventus odds will tumble.
A thrilling tie is on the cards in London
The good news for the neutral is that it should be an intriguing tie. Spurs do not really have the experience of defending a slim advantage in the knockout stages and could be a little bit conservative early on. If Juventus can score first, the game will open up and potentially be a thriller. A 2-2 draw is given odds of 16/1. It should not be ruled, nor should penalties or extra-time.
Juventus’ players should head to London with the knowledge that they face a talented, yet inexperienced, side. As we have seen so many times in the past in the Champions League, nous and the ability to capitalise on naivety can take you far. Tottenham have rightfully been made favourites, but this tie is much more delicately poised than at first glance.