Eleven long-year Italian football fans have witnessed Europe’s most prestigious trophy be captured by other countries’ domestic teams. Inter defeated Bayern Munich (2-0) in the 2009/2010 season, marking them as the most recent team to succeed in the tournament.
Juventus failing to win the UCL cup final on two occasions since then has been brutal in Turin, but with a 3-0 hammering of Barcelona securing their position in the last 16 and Ronaldo looking as sharp as ever could spell trouble for International rivals.
The Bookmakers Favourite
Between the three Italian squads who have made qualification into the final sixteen, Juventus are naturally the bookmaker’s favourite with odds of 12/1 [13.00] available.
Juventus owned Group G with five wins, one loss, fourteen goals scored and a minor four conceded. Alvaro Morata is their current top goalscorer with six on the board and has looked like a man possessed. Pirlo is taking charge for his first season. Still, with Morata and second top goalscorer Ronaldo (4) fighting fit, the Bianconeri look firmer than last season’s anxious squad that lost to Lyon at this stage of the tournament.
Having won five of their six fixtures in qualifying, this Juve squad’s confidence and form could very well be the sleeper team of the tournament. Pirlo is still settling in, but unique rising talents like Federico Chiesa, Weston McKennie and Dejan Kulusevski could help the rising coach earn his first major trophy.
Juventus will clash with FC Porto in their returning UCL fixture, at the same stage as last year’s ugly exit versus French side Lyon. The competition is stacked with elite teams such as Liverpool, Bayern Munich, and Manchester City; however, this should not deter fans or create disbelief that Juventus cannot.
Biggest Underdogs of the UEFA Champions League Round of 16
Lazio could have drawn a more comfortable outing, but this tournament is not for the faint-hearted and defending UCL Champions Bayern Munich will welcome the 5th placed Serie A side.
Lazio will begin the Round of 16 as the most considerable underdog priced at 150/1 [151.00], but their current domestic form is matching the UCL group stage performances, undefeated.
The Biancocelesti could cause a world of problems for Bayern Munich and former Lazio legend Guiseppe Pancaro agrees, he spoke to Lazio Style Channel on the upcoming fixture: “Many years have passed, so it is not easy to find analogies. Indeed, we are talking about two powerful teams.
“Simone Inzaghi’s Lazio got drawn with the reigning champions (Bayern Munich) in the second Round, probably the worst team they could find. However, the same goes for the Germans because Lazio can beat anyone in-home or away matches.
“I am confident; I think, and I hope, that the Biancocelesti can reach the end of the Champions League.”
Lazio ended a Champions League drought dating back to 1999/2000 and managed to stay undefeated while doing so. Upon arrival at the club, manager Diego Simone mentioned that he wanted to rewrite history and so far, the expectations have lived up. Despite contending with a multitude of injuries, Lazio proved their worth as Serie A contenders last season. Borussia Dortmund’s beating by Lazio on the first UCL matchday led them into a Round of 16 qualification twenty-one years in the making.
Top goal scorer Immobile is looking to break Italian UCL records, Sergei Milinkovic-Savic and Luis Alberto provide a midfield force like no other. The back four has a shield in Francesco Acerbi, Lazio is no joke and could easily shock Munich’s defending champions.
Atalanta Flying the Green, Red & White
For two years consecutively Atalanta have qualified into the final sixteen, winning all their away fixtures to claim a 2nd place position behind Liverpool during the group stage.
Manager Gian Piero Gasperini made his name through an attacking style of play, which led Atalanta to the quarterfinals of their first-ever Champions League stint. Bookmakers offer 50/1 [51.00] for Atalanta to win this year’s tournament, and a betting calculator can help understand these high-value odds.
Having defeated both Liverpool and Ajax respectively, La Dea will face 13-time UCL champions Real Madrid with confidence and expect the worst from a potential promising situation. Real Madrid’s form has been rocky this term, leaving the drama-filled UCL tournament open for some shock results.