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Juventus v Tottenham – the key battles that will decide the tie

Juventus and Tottenham go head-to-head when the Champions League returns this week.

FOOTBALL 13/02/18 18:01
Juventus v Tottenham – the key battles that will decide the tie

Tottenham travel to Juventus for Tuesday’s Champions League second-round first leg.  Here we look at the key battles which will define the tie, which is live on BT Sport 2.

Gianluigi Buffon or Wojciech Szczesny v Spurs attack

Juventus v Barcelona – UEFA Champions League – Group D – Juventus Stadium
Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon should start against Tottenham. (Steve Paston/Empics)

Juventus have not lost since November 19 – an unbeaten run of 15 games – and the Old Lady have won their last 10 matches. During the unbeaten stretch Gianluigi Buffon and Wojciech Szczesny, who have shared the goalkeeping duties have conceded just once – former Southampton defender Martin Caceres scoring for Verona. Buffon has played the last three games and may keep his spot although former Arsenal keeper Szczesny has played 15 times this term. Between them they have helped keep Juventus in the title hunt with Tuesday’s hosts a point behind Serie A leaders Napoli.

Harry Kane vs Giorgio Chiellini

The Tottenham striker and Juve defender are the key men for their respective sides. Kane has 36 goals in all competitions, while Chiellini has made 25 appearances for Juventus this term as a mainstay of their defence. If Italy international Chiellini can keep track of Kane then it will nullify Spurs’ most potent threat.

Home v away

The hosts have lost just once at home this season – a 2-1 defeat to Lazio in October. They are formidable at the Allianz Stadium while Tottenham have often come up short in the big games away from home. Spurs have lost to Arsenal, Manchester United, Leicester and Manchester City on the road this season, earning a point at Liverpool this month. Mauricio Pochettino’s side need to improve their record to ensure they can progress, although no side has won more points – nine – in home league games against the big six.

Gonzalo Higuain v Jan Vertonghen

Juventus v Real Madrid – UEFA Champions League – Final – National Stadium
Gonzalo Higuain has scored 18 goals for Juventus this season. (Nick Potts/PA)

Defender Vertonghen will have his hands full with Higuain , especially with Toby Alderweireld being left at home. Paulo Dybala is unlikely to feature after muscular issues and he has been training away from the squad so Higuain remains the main threat. The Argentina striker has 18 goals in all competitions while Vertonghen has helped Spurs to 14 clean sheets this term.

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