Bayer Leverkusen vs JuventusUEFA Champions League, KO: 20:00 Dec 11, 2019, Bay Arena
BAYER LEVERKUSEN have roared back from the brink to keep their Champions League dream alive and will fancy their chances of claiming a third win on the spin against a Juventus side with nothing to play for.
The Italian champions have already nailed down top spot in Group D after beating Atletico Madrid 1-0 last time out so I would be surprised if they were at full strength for this one.
That gives Leverkusen an excellent chance of beating them but that probably still won't be enough to secure a place in the last 16 as the Germans also need Atletico to slip up in Spain against rock-bottom Lokomotiv Moscow.
Losing at home to the Russians on Matchday One looks to have scuppered Leverkusen's entire campaign, even though they got revenge with a win in Moscow on their last Euro outing.
How the bookies view it
The Germans are favourites for this one given Maurizio Sarri will be tempted to rest some of his star turns, with Leverkusen a best 11/10 with Blacktype.
Juventus, even with a few star names missing, might attract some punters at a tempting 68/25 with Marathonbet. They have four wins and a draw in Group B while some impressive talent is waiting in the wings, desperate to seize their chance to shine.
Juve have gone two games without a win and will be fired up to get back on track so I'll be taking a punt on them at such a big price. The stalemate could also come up and it's a best 14/5 at 888 Sport.
Head to head
It was 3-0 to Juventus when these sides met on Matchday Two, with Gonzalo Huguain, Federico Bernardeschi and Cristiano Ronaldo on target (below).
That brought up one of our man Selectabet's tips, even though the Italians won a bit more comfortably than he envisaged.
The only other meetings between these sides came in the 2001/02 group stage in the season Leverkusen went all the way to the final, only to lose to Real Madrid at Hampden.
In the group stage, Juventus crushed them 4-0 in Turin but the Germans got their revenge with a 3-1 win back in Leverkusen.
Leverkusen have started to hit their stride and are unbeaten in their last six games, winning five. They warmed up for the visit of Juventus with a 2-1 home win over Schalke at the weekend.
Juve's form is poor by their standards, with a 3-1 weekend defeat by Lazio robbing them of the chance to replace Inter Milan at the Serie A summit.
Sarri's men also drew 2-2 with Sassuolo in the game before that, ending a run of six consecutive victories. If they go on a run of three games without victory it will be seen as a mini crisis so that might make Sarri play a stronger side than many people expect in Germany.
Leverkusen midfielder Kai Haverts, who has been linked with Europe's top clubs, made a timely return from injury at the weekend along with Danish defender Daley Sinkgraven. But Mitchell Weiser and Joel Pohjanpalo are set to miss out again due to injury.
Douglas Costa and Sami Khedira remain out for Juventus while Rodrigo Betancur went off injured against Lazio and is a doubt for this one. But Adrian Rabiot was an unused sub at the weekend after a long lay-off and could feature here.
Thriller or chiller?
Leverkusen need to go for it as nothing less than a win will suffice if they are to stay in with a chance of pipping Atletico to a place in the last 16.
There have been four goals in three of Juventus' last four games so it bodes well for an entertaining spectacle in this one. Both teams to score is good for an accumulator at 4/6 with SportNation while over 3.5 goals is 37/19 with the same firm.
Players to watch
Leon Bailey showed he relishes the big stage by netting twice against Bayern Munich in a 2-1 win at the Allianz last month and will be a threat here. The winger is 47/20 with Unibet for a goal here and that looks pretty decent value.
For a Juventus scorer, it all depends on what kind of side Sarri fields. Aaron Ramsey might get a chance in midfield and the Welshman is a good long-odds option at 5/1 with Paddy Power in the anytime scorer market.
This UEFA Champions League match between Bayer Leverkusen and Juventus will be played on Dec 11, 2019 and kick off at 20:00