Juventus’ Marchisio bellows war cry against Bayern

Turin, March 13 (IANS) Italian midfielder Claudio Marchisio has said Bayern Munich “are a formidable team” but he is not willing to rate his club Juventus below the German giants ahead of their Champions League pre-quarter-final clash.

Bayern host the Italian champions in the second leg on Wednesday at the Allianz Arena after being held to a 2-2 draw at Turin, Italy, despite being up 2-0. The two away goals scored, nevertheless, put them in the box seat to advance to the last eight stage.

Juventus have been in prime form in Serie A this season, winning 18 of their last 19 games, but are up against an equally formidable team who are the runaway leaders in Bundesliga this season.

“Bayern are a formidable team, but so are Juventus. We are formidable for what we’ve done in recent years and also this season. We have to look back over the first leg, as we saw and felt their strength, but also showed what we could do in fighting back from 2-0 down for 2-2,” the midfielder told Sky Sport Italia on Saturday.

“A match like this will never be lacking emotion, motivation and drive, but the margins of error really are tiny, as champions can make the most of the slightest error. We have what it takes to play there without fear.”

“The first leg result is an advantage for them, so we cannot afford to sit back or hesitate in Munich. It’ll be difficult, but not impossible.”

The match has been dubbed as a battle between the two best goalkeepers in the world in Juventus’ Gianluigi Buffon and Bayern’s Manuel Neuer. While the first leg failed to give a definitive answer, the second-leg contest is expected to be equally close.

“Bayern have great stars in attack and defence, but so do we. It’ll be a battle between the two best goalkeepers in the world. These are two complete teams fighting for their domestic titles,” Marchisio said.

Buffon is about to become the greatest goalkeeper in Serie A history, as he is four minutes away from beating former AC Milan keeper Sebastiano Rossi’s 929-minute unbeaten record.

“He deserves it and even without the extra four minutes, what he’s achieved is already incredible,” insisted Marchisio.

“We are proud of him and also happy to have contributed a little one per cent to this record by giving him a hand and protecting him in goal.”

“Gigi is very important in the locker room as well as on the pitch, both as captain and a man. He proves his professionalism and desire to improve every single day,” he signed off.

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