Juventus plan to exploit Bayern Munich weak points, warns Leonardo Bonucci

Bayern Munich has been relying on its fearsome attack to overcome a shortage of quality defenders. That has worked with hardly a hitch in the Bundesliga, where Bayern is rarely challenged.
Juventus plan to exploit Bayern Munich weak points, warns Leonardo Bonucci

The latest example: Bayern hardly broke a sweat in a 5-0 thrashing of Werder Bremen on Saturday with Pep Guardiola resting Arjen Robben and limiting Robert Lewandowski to the last 15 minutes, long enough to score.

Bayern usually seizes immediate control and put opponents under tremendous pressure from the first whistle.

How effective it can be was evident in the first leg against Juventus in the Round of 16 in the Champions League. For an hour, Bayern dominated the Italian champion and led 2-0.

But then Juventus exploited the lack of experience and size in Bayern’s defense as Paulo Dybala and Stefano Sturaro scored to put last season’s Champions League runner-up back on level terms ahead of tonight’s second leg at the Allianz Arena.

Both goals came after errors by Joshua Kimmich, a midfielder thrust into Bayern’s central defense by Guardiola.

Guardiola has been full of praise for Kimmich, but he does not have the stature of a central defender.

Guardiola has been forced to experiment because three of his defenders — Holger Badstuber, Javi Martinez and Jerome Boateng — are on the long-term injury list.

Two-time champion Juventus may have figured out where Bayern could be vulnerable. However, losing 18-goal striker Paulo Dybala for tonight’s tie is a serious blow to their ambitions.

The 22-year-old Argentinian will not travel to the Allianz Arena after injuring a calf muscle during training.

He joins midfielder Claudio Marchisio on the treatment table in Turin.

Neverthless, defender Leonardo Bonucci insists: “We go to Munich full of enthusiasm and determination to reach the next round. We’re fully aware of how strong Bayern are, but they also possess a few weak points which we’ll look to exploit.

“No doubt about it, we started the first leg in completely the wrong fashion. It had nothing to do with what formation we were playing, we knew that we had to give more.

"We confronted one another face to face and took it upon ourselves to come out fighting and, from that point onwards, we saw the true Juventus once more,” Bonucci said of the first leg.

Bayern captain Philipp Lahm does not expect the return leg to be much different.

“We are not going to change our game. We are a team that attacks a lot,” the captain of the five-time Champions League winner said. “But it’s hardly possible to shut down Juventus completely and to prevent them from having any chances.”

Bayern may be fearsome in attack but it is coming up against the rock that is Gianluigi Buffon, who is in the form of his life.

The Juventus goalkeeper is three minutes away from equalling a 22-year Serie A record after keeping a 10th successive clean sheet in Friday’s 1-0 win over Sassuolo.

Buffon has not been beaten in Serie A in 926 minutes, now the second-longest stretch in league history.

“He deserves it,” Juventus midfielder Claudio Marchisio said.

“What he has already done is incredible, never mind the four minutes that remain. We are proud too, because 99 percent is down to him, but we are happy to be able to add that 1 percent, giving him a hand and protecting him.

“Gigi is very important not only on the pitch but also in the dressing rooms as a captain and as a man.”

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