Celtic vs. Juventus: Champions League Preview, Team News, Projected Lineups

Jack Alexandros Rathborn@@jackrathbornContributor IIIFebruary 11, 2013

TURIN, ITALY - FEBRUARY 09:  Alessandro Matri (2nd R) of Juventus FC celebrates with his team mates after scoring during the Serie A match between Juventus FC and ACF Fiorentina at Juventus Arena on February 9, 2013 in Turin, Italy.  (Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images)
Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

Juventus travel to Glasgow to tackle Scottish champions Celtic on Tuesday for the first leg of their last 16 clash in the Champions League.

The Bianconeri are strong favourites to progress to the quarterfinals, but there is no doubt that The Bhoys will not go down without a fight.

Celtic have an 18-point lead at the top of the Scottish Premier League and therefore rested many of their star players over the weekend in preparation for this match.

Juve are in no such position in Serie A, going into the weekend just three points ahead of Napoli and facing a tricky game against Fiorentina.

The Viola had dominated the Bianconeri at the Artemio Franchi, so Antonio Conte was unable to rest any players, but a 2-0 victory—which maybe even flattered the visitors—was the perfect way to warm up for the Champions League.

Celtic Team News

Neil Lennon has a major concern (per STVSport) over whether Georgios Samaras will be fit and stated that the Greek international will be assessed on game day.

Emilio Izaguirre trained with the squad today and is expected to shake off a knee injury in time to start tomorrow.

Efe Ambrose will return from South Africa, where he enjoyed African Cup of Nations glory with Nigeria, but it is still undecided whether he will recover from Sunday's final and a long flight in time. According to the Daily Record's Mark Guidi, Lennon feels a starting spot for Ambrose is unlikely.

Juventus Team News

Conte will be without long-term absentees Giorgio Chiellini, Nicklas Bendtner and Simone Pepe (per Sport.co.uk).

Paolo De Ceglie will also miss out after a scan revealed a tear in the semitendinosus muscle of his thigh (per the Daily Telegraph). 

Mauricio Isla has shaken off the flu and Leonardo Bonucci returns after serving a domestic suspension.

Kwadwo Asamoah should be available for selection after his participation in the African Cup of Nations with Ghana and Mirko Vucinic—who was withdrawn prematurely against Fiorentina—should shake off a knock to start.

Key Battle: Victor Wanyama Vs. Mirko Vucinic

Vucinic was able to drop deep against Fiorentina and influence the play by linking midfield to attack, distributing to the onrushing De Ceglie and Stephan Lichtsteiner as well as looking for Alessandro Matri, who occupied the penalty area.

Arturo Vidal and Claudio Marchisio can also break from deep, so although Vucinic will start as a striker, he can quickly turn into the Bianconeri playmaker. Celtic need to stifle the Montenegrin.

Wanyama will be tasked with pressing Vucinic and not giving him the time and space to hurt Celtic.

Vucinic's clever movement and skill mean that he might still be able to shake off the tough-tackling Kenyan.

Probable Lineups

Celtic: Fraser Forster, Adam Matthews, Mikael Lustig, Efe Ambrose, Emilio Izaguirre, Scott Brown, Victor Wanyama, Charlie Mulgrew, Giorgios Samaras, Gary Hooper, James Forrest.

Juventus: Gianluigi Buffon, Andrea Barzagli, Leonardo Bonucci, Martin Caceres, Stephan Lichtsteiner, Arturo Vidal, Andrea Pirlo, Claudio Marchisio, Kwadwo Asamoah, Mirko Vucinic, Alessandro Matri.


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