Manuel Veth –
Lokomotiv Moscow vs Juventus – Wednesday, November 6, 17:55GMT/18:55CET – Stadion Lokomotiv, Moscow, Russia
It is a comfortable position that Lokomotiv find themselves in. Nobody expected Lokomotiv to collect anything in the very difficult Group D that aside from Juventus also includes Atlético Madrid and Bayer Leverkusen. A matchday 1 win over Leverkusen, however, has put Lokomotiv in the drivers seat to advance to the Europa League.
Also where Leverkusen has struggled in the group, Lokomotiv at least was competitive in their two games against Atlético and Juventus. With Leverkusen struggling another point, or win will likely seal passage to the Europa League for the Russians.
“The excitement around this match is huge,” Yuri Semin said. “If we can get some points, we have a good chance to play in Europe in the spring.”
Furthermore, Semin is confident that Loko can collect something from the game if his team is fully committed to the cause. “We want to create problems for Juventus. … We will fight for every play, for every moment.”
For Semin it will be, in particular, important to keep a balance. A cool head against Italy’s most dominant side. That means focusing on keeping Juve from scoring rather than playing pro-active football, even if Loko are at home.
“If Juventus let us, we will attack more,” Semin said. “It’s important for us to get whatever points we can. Predicting tactical movements before a game is a futile exercise.”
Juventus, in the meantime, want to seal their passage to the next round. Should Atlético beat Leverkusen and Juventus win their game against Lokomotiv Moscow Group D is all but settled.
Lokomotiv Moscow vs Juventus – Players to look out for:
João Mário #23 – Lokomotiv Moscow
João Mário joined his fellow Euro 2016 hero Éder at Lokomotiv on loan from Inter Milan this summer. The attacking midfielder was once a price asset worth €40 million. But the attacking midfielder struggled at Inter, and a loan to West Ham did little to revitalise the 26-year-old’s career. As a result, his value collapsed, allowing Lokomotiv to sign the Portuguese attacking midfielder on loan, with a buy-on clause of just €18 million.
Matthijs de Ligt #4 – Juventus
Matthijs de Ligt has somewhat struggled to make the adaption from Dutch football to Serie A. At the same time, Sarri has been patient with the young Dutch defender. De Ligt has started in six out of eight Serie A games and played the full 270 minutes in Juve’s three Champions League games. After struggling early on, de Ligt has started to establish himself as a strong Serie A defender.
Lokomotiv Moscow vs Juventus – Match Stats
- Before Matchday 3 Juventus had won the two previous fixtures between the sides without conceding, coming out 4-0 aggregate victors in the 1993/94 UEFA Cup first round.
- A 2-1 win at Bayer Leverkusen on Matchday 1 was Lokomotiv’s first away victory in the UEFA Champions League since a 2-1 win at Galatasaray in the 2002/03 first group stage.
- Lokomotiv have won only five of their last 14 European fixtures in Moscow, losing seven.
- Lokomotiv’s last visit from an Italian club brought a 3-0 defeat of Internazionale in the 2003/04 UEFA Champions League group stage, their sole success against a Serie A side; their record in Moscow otherwise is D1 L3, and overall D4 L7.
Futbolgrad Network Prediction: Lokomotiv Moscow vs Juventus – 1-2
Lokomotiv Moscow vs Juventus – Lineups
Guilherme – Rybus, Corluka, Höwedes, Ignatyev – Cerqueira – Al. Miranchuk, Krychowiak, Barinov, Zhemaletdinov – Éder
Head Coach: Yuri Semin
Buffon – De Sciglio, Bonucci, de Ligt, Danilo – Bentancur, Pjanić, Matuidi – Cristiano Ronaldo, Higuain, Dybala
Head Coach: Maurizio Sarri
Manuel Veth is the owner and Editor in Chief of the Futbolgrad Network. He also works as a freelance journalist and among others, contributes to Forbes.com and Pro Soccer USA. He holds a Doctorate of Philosophy in History from King’s College London, and his thesis is titled: “Selling the People’s Game: Football’s transition from Communism to Capitalism in the Soviet Union and its Successor States,” which is available HERE. Manuel has lived in Amsterdam, Kyiv, Moscow, Tbilisi, London, and currently splits his time between Victoria, BC, and Munich, Germany. Follow Manuel on Twitter @ManuelVeth.