European champions Chelsea begin their 2012-13 Champions League campaign with a mouth-watering home fixture against Serie A champions Juventus. Join us from 4:30am AEST for live scores and blog.
Both teams are out to prove that they were not just lucky winners last season, and will surely be aiming to get the three points in their first first-leg European match up.
Three points on the road will be a priceless result for the Bianconeri, while Chelsea will be expecting to take the cake at home.
Juventus were deserving winners of Italy’s Serie A last season, going unbeaten to wrap up their first league-title since 2002-03.
Their record of 23-15-0 will be a talking point among the Chelsea brains trust, who will need to find a way to dismantle the determined Juventus back line commanded by Giorgio Chiellini and Gianluigi Buffon.
Chelsea Manager Roberto di Matteo will be depending on star playmaker Eden Hazard to continue his devastating form in the final third. The 21-year-old Belgian has been instrumental in the Chelsea attack, having a hand in seven of Chelsea’s eight goals this season.
Chelsea are unbeaten in the 2012/13 Barclays Premier League, winning their opening three games, and drawing 0-0 with QPR at Loftus Road.
The inability to register a name on the scoresheet will be food for thought for di Matteo, who professes faith in inconsistent front man Fernando Torres, but has the luxury of having Daniel Sturridge and new signings Victor Moses and the young Brazilian playmaker Oscar waiting in the wings.
Juventus on the other hand have recently lost talismanic striker Alessandro Del Piero to Sydney FC. Del Piero has scored 44 goals in 92 Champions League matches for the Turin-based club, and will be sorely missed should the visitors be struggling to find the back of the net at the 70-minute mark.
There are encouraging signs for Juve too though; the return of young attacking-midfielder Sebastian Giovinco from his loan move to Parma and the potential of his exciting link-up play with the master puppeteer Andrea Pirlo in the middle of the park is certain to set tongues wagging.
Will Chelsea be able to hold off a determined Juve outfit desperate for an away goal or two? Or will the West Londoners prove too strong for the Italians who look in truth a very dangerous outfit even without Alessandro Del Piero?
Join us at 430am AEST, Thursday 20th Sept 2012 for live updates and interactive commentary.