By Marcus Christenson
Juventus FC welcome back Alessandro Del Piero for their crucial UEFA Champions League Group E fixture against Feyenoord on Tuesday night at the Delle Alpi stadium in Turin.
The Italian international sat out the 1-0 win over Udinese Calcio at the weekend with a hip injury but Juventus coach Marcello Lippi confirmed that the striker par excellence had recovered fully. "Del Piero will be in the squad although David Trezeguet won't be," said Lippi. "The only other players missing are [Paolo] Montero and [Gianluca] Pessotto so we are looking good."
Del Piero's return is a timely boost for the Italians, who need a win to confirm their place in the second group stage after last week's 1-0 defeat at Newcastle United FC. Lippi is fully aware of the significance of this game, saying: "This game is extremely important for us as we want to qualify and not have to travel to Kiev for our last game with everything depending on it. We need to win to qualify and we aim to do that."
Di Vaio expected to play
Lippi is expected to replace Marcelo Salas and Marcelo Zalyeta, who formed the attack against Udinese, with Marco Di Vaio, who returned against Newcastle last week after suffering concussion on Matchday Three, and Del Piero. Mauro Camoranesi and Igor Tudor should return in midfield after they were also rested at the weekend.
Van Hooijdonk still out
Feyenoord, meanwhile, are still without injured forward Pierre van Hooijdonk and veteran defender Ciro Ferrara feels the Dutch forward's absence will be advantageous to his side's cause. "Van Hooijdonk is a very good and physically strong forward and he scored against us in the 1-1 draw in Rotterdam so obviously it is good for us that he isn't playing," he said. "But then Feyenoord have a lot of good players who can replace him so there is no way we can allow ourselves to relax."
Lurling to keep place
Anthony Lurling, who scored twice as Feyenoord beat Willem II 5-1 on Saturday, is likely to keep his place in attack with Thomas Buffel operating just behind him, although coach Bert van Marwijk also has the option of playing him on the left side of midfield with Robin van Persie up front. Bonaventure Kalou, meanwhile, is suspended.
Van Marwijk hopeful
On their last visit to the Stadio Delle Alpi, in September 1997, Feyenoord lost 5-1 with Del Piero scoring twice in the opening eleven minutes, but Van Marwijk is hopeful that his team can pull off a surprise this time around. "Juventus are obviously a very strong team but we managed to beat Internazionale [FC] at the San Siro last season and will be looking to repeat that result," he said. "The group is still wide open and hopefully our win in the league on Saturday will make us forget last week's defeat against [FC Dynamo] Kyiv and help us get the result we need against Juventus."
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