Juventus host Bayern Munich having to overturn a two goal deficit if they are to make it into the Champions League semi-finals.
Juventus coach Antonio Conte is expecting an improved performance from his players as they try to overturn a 2-0 deficit against Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-final here.
Juve were outclassed in Munich last week where a rampant Bayern claimed a 2-0 first-leg win to put them in a commanding position to qualify for the last four of Europe’s premier club competition.
On three previous occasions in the competition, the Serie A giants have failed to overturn a 2-0 first leg deficit.
Should they concede a goal at home, they would need to win by three clear goals to make the semis.
Bayern, who reached the final in two of the last three years, remain strong favourites to progress but Conte insisted his players are ready to produce the performance of their lives.
“The mood in the camp is good, we’re feeling positive but we’re aware that we’re facing a stong side that showed their potential in the first leg,” said the 43-year-old.
“But we’re determined, we’re looking forward to the match and above all to playing a different kind of match than we did last week.
“The gap between us and Bayern is not what our performance from the first leg might suggest. My players and I know they can play a lot better than they did in Germany.”
David Alaba, who beat Juve ‘keeper Gianluigi Buffon after just 25 seconds with a deflected shot, and Thomas Mueller sealed Bayern’s first leg win although it could have been more such was the home side’s dominance.
Conte offered no explanation for their under-par performance at the Allianz Arena but admitted that when it comes to the Champions League, Bayern — four-times winners and beaten finalists in 2010 and 2012 — are streets ahead.
“This year they’re among the favourites to win the Champions League, and that is not by accident,” added the coach.
“They’ve been working for a number of years to raise their game for this competition and they now play at a very high level.
“People who say it’s easy to win this competition have never actually won it.
“We’ve only really been concentrating on this for the past two years. Bayern are like a skyscraper and we’re only a third of the way up.
“But, by taking a few short cuts, we’ve managed to reach the quarter-finals.”
Giorgio Chiellini was one of the three Juve defenders given a torrid time by Bayern’s incessant offensives in Munich.
He said: “We want to finish this game knowing we’ve given absolutely everything.”
Earlier Tuesday Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes said Juve were “capable of making the impossible possible.”
Asked his opinion of that remark, Conte replied: “They’re nice words. But we’ll have to wait until the post-match press conference tomorrow to see whether Heynckes says, ‘I told you so’.”
Arjen Robben on Tuesday said that Bayern Munich’s recent Bundesliga title triumph has taken the pressure off as they look to qualify for their third Champions League semi-finals in four years against Juventus.
Bayern outclassed the Italian champions 2-0 in the first leg in Munich last week and history is against the hosts, who have never overturned a 2-0 first leg defeat in the competition.
Although the Bianconeri are hoping to end that streak on Wednesday, Robben warned that Bayern are feeling no pressure following their 23rd title triumph at the weekend with six matches remaining in the campaign.
Bayern — beaten Champions League finalists in 2010 and 2012 — have been particularly solid away from home this season but Robben believes that is simply part of what has been a sterling season so far.
“I think in general it’s not only been the away games, up till now we’ve had a very good season,” the Dutchman told reporters in Turin.
“Of course, the pressure’s off in the league now because we have won the title and now we can completely focus on our games in the Champions League.
“It will be a difficult game, but we’re taking it day by day and tomorrow (Wednesday) we aim to reach the semi-finals.”
Juventus will be hoping for a different outcome and come into the game still smarting from a jibe aimed last week at their goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, who was labelled a “pensioner” by honorary Bayern president Franz Beckenbauer after he failed to stop the Germans’ opener despite the ball being deflected.
While Juventus played down that remark, it should provide extra motivation for the Italians.
Bayern ‘keeper Manuel Neuer, meanwhile, said: “Buffon remains a top goalkeeper and you can’t forget he stopped us from winning 3-0 in the first leg.”
Despite their 2-0 goal cushion, Bayern manager Jupp Heynckes said: “It doesn’t change anything for us.
“We want to score an away goal and try to win this game. Juventus remain a top team, they’ve shown that on several occasions including in the Champions League.”
Although Italian media has largely played up Beckenbauer’s jibe at Buffon — to the point that Juve striker Mirko Vucinic was quoted as saying the second leg would be “war” — Heynckes was quick to put things into perspective.
“I’m sure what he really meant was that Juve will give it everything but it’s not the best language to describe what is, after all, a game of football.”
Despite Bayern’s title celebrations at the weekend, Robben added: “We’re in an optimal position with our 2-0 first leg win but we have to stay concentrated and play our own style of football.”
Heynckes went one step further, adding: “We have a lot of experience of these situations, we got to the final in 2010 and we’ve been to the semi-finals several times.
“But Juve are a strong team and we have to stay focused. They’re capable of making the impossible possible.”