Manchester City embark on their fifth straight season in the Champions League competition. They will no doubt be confident of another fine adventure toward the most sort after of all prizes, the Champions League trophy.
First up for the blues are Juventus, who are no strangers to this competition, winning it twice themselves. The first time the side would lift the trophy was just over 30 years ago, with the current UEFA President, Michel Platini scoring the winning goal. That win was overshadowed by the Heysel Stadium Disaster and would see the banning of English clubs from European competitions.
Just over ten years later the Italians would lift their second trophy, this time thanks to penalties. The side were also very close last season, making it all the way to the Final before being beaten 3-1 by Barcelona, the same side who had earlier knocked City out, by the same score line, in the round of 16.
Head To Head:
The two sides first met back, competitively exactly 39 years ago. Facing off in Round 1 of the UEFA Cup, in a game played at Maine Road, on September 15th 1976. It would be the current City Assistant Manager, Brian Kidd, who scored the only goal in that game watched by almost 40,000 fans.
Two weeks later, in Turin, and the run came to an end. A 2-0 defeat saw City knocked out of the competition over the two legs, a season after winning the last trophy and would the start of a more than three decade barren spell. Goals from Gaetano Scirea and Roberto Boninsegna not only saw City eliminated but also started their run to the Final, and an eventual victory over Athletic Bilbao.
City would have to wait to meet Juventus again almost as long as they'd have to wait for another trophy. In the 2010/11 season, and months before Yaya Toures goal would bring the FA Cup back to City, an Adam Johnson goal brought the sides level on the home fixture in the Group stage of the Europa League. In Italy, City had to rely on an equalizer from strike machine Jo! City finished group winners and Juventus were eliminated.
Of course, the name which springs to mind instantly is the now departed, Carlos Tevez. A City hero, with the exception of that one incident against Bayern Munich four years ago. The Argentinian did come back, helped City win the Premier League for the first time before eventually moving to Juventus.
The ex City Assistant Manager, David Platt, also played for Juventus and helped them win the UEFA Cup in 1993. However, he would only spend the single season there before moving onto Sampdoria.
Of course, if Newspapers are to be believed we almost could have added Paul Pogba to that list. Currently with Juve, the young French midfield star was centrally in Manchester City sights, and may very well have been taking the field in sky blue tomorrow.
Lastly you have Patrice Evra who will be returning to Manchester. Yes, I do know he was a United player so why mention him in this section? Well his debut for Manchester United came on January 14th 2006. That was the day Robbie Fowler scored his last goal for City in a 3-1 win against? Yep, Patrice Evra's new side.
Statistically it doesn't actually look bad for City, despite the injury to Sergio Aguero picked up this weekend. Juventus have not won on English soil for almost twenty years, although that was in Manchester. That year they beat United in the group stage.
The two Managers have also met in the Champions League group stage before, albeit with different clubs. Manuel Pellegrini met, and bettered Massimilano Allegri as Malaga beat Milan 1-0 at home before getting the now famous 1-1 away.
Hopefully the ‘Charming Man' can beat the ‘Old Lady' and set City on the path to some much overdue European glory.