Juventus have made no secret of their intention to parlay their dominance in Serie A into European triumph. They came close two years ago, reaching the final before falling to Barcelona and it’s now been an unfathomable two decades since Juve last lifted the European trophy.
Manager Max Allegri has prioritized acquiring the kind of depth required to mount a two-front campaign to maintain dominance in Europe, while making a real go of things in Europe.
Allegri’s side is off to a perfect start in Serie A with three wins in three games. Higuain already leads the team in scoring with three goals. The acquisition of Argentine striker could be seen as the missing piece for Juve, were it not for the giant, Paul Pogba-sized hole left in the center of midfield.
Sevilla may have lost their serial Europa League winning manager Unai Emery but former Chile boss Jorge Sampaoli is a bold appointment and the club’s sporting director, Monchi, has stated the intention is to progress past the group stage.
Under Monchi, Sevilla have had a knack for uncovering bargains in the market and this summer the Andalusian outfit brought in the likes of Paulo Henrique Ganso, Samir Nasri and Franco Vazquez among others.
Sevilla too have gotten out of the gate strong in the league this season, hammering Espanyol 6-4 in their La Liga opener, drawing with Sevilla, and beating Las Palmas on the weekend.
But Wednesday will be Sampaoli’s first outing in European competition and he will be going against one of the continent’s more seasoned veterans. Although Allegri has never won the Champions League, in addition to leading Juve to the final, he has prior experience in Europe’s top-tier competition, having guided AC Milan to a quarterfinal finish in 2012.
Playing at home, Juventus are obvious favorites to win tomorrow. But with Sampaoli’s high-octane, attacking style appearing to take hold at Sevilla, it will be interesting to see what happens over the two legs of the tie. Both teams are competing in a stacked Group H, which also contains Dinamo Zagreb and Lyon.
Watch Juventus vs. Sevilla this Wednesday, September 14 at 2:45pm ET on ESPN2.