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Juventus will need to be much more alert to the threat of set-pieces if they are to overcome FC Bayern München in Wednesday night's UEFA Champions League return in Turin.
That was the verdict of coach Fabio Capello ahead of his side's match against the Group A leaders at the Stadio Delle Alpi. According to Capello, Juve's two defeats this season, away to Bayern a fortnight ago and at AC Milan on Saturday, have been the result of poor defending at corners and free-kicks, and this is the issue that has to be addressed. "Bayern are very effective on set-pieces," he said. "Their first goal against us was bizarre but the second could have been stopped. They didn't do much else against us in Germany - the goalkeepers weren't particularly busy that night."
The night in question, Matchday 3, saw Juventus beaten by goals from Sebastian Deisler and Martin Demichelis. The first was a snapshot that caught goalkeeper Christian Abbiati completely off guard, the second a powerful header from a Deisler corner. "Bayern have a very strong defence, they are determined and rock solid," Capello conceded. "But when it comes to set-pieces they are extremely good. In my opinion they are the best team in Europe in dead-ball situations. It was set-pieces that did for us, in both Munich and Milan, so we have to do something about it."
Change of formation?
To win games, though, requires scoring as well as preventing goals, and if the Turin giants are to close the three-point gap on Felix Magath's men they will have to play better themselves. "We do need to be more determined going forward," said Capello. "When we have possession in their half, we must be more productive." Whether this means a change of formation and the return to the starting lineup of Alessandro Del Piero remains uncertain, but with Mauro Camoranesi doubtful after sustaining an injury at the San Siro, Adrian Mutu could be asked to play wide right.
Santa Cruz blow
Two players certain to start are Abbiati, who missed the Milan match, and Patrick Vieira, who was suspended in Bavaria but back on Saturday, while Giorgio Chiellini appears a likely pick ahead of Gianluca Pessotto after replacing the right-back 41 minutes in at the San Siro. Bayern have injuries of their own with Owen Hargreaves and Bixente Lizarazu indisposed with calf and groin strains respectively. Striker Roque Santa Cruz is a more notable absentee, having been sidelined for five months after rupturing his cruciate ligament at the weekend.
"We will miss Santa Cruz," said Bayern boss Magath. "But we are pleased that [Gianluigi] Buffon is out for Juventus as we respect him a lot. We will also have to keep [Zlatan] Ibrahimovic in check as he played very well against us." In the absence of Santa Cruz, Claudio Pizarro will partner Roy Makaay. The Dutchman is hoping to score for the first time in over two months but remains unperturbed by his failure to find the net.
"Obviously when you don't score you ask yourself if you did anything wrong, or whether or not you could have done something differently," said Makaay. "But I won't change much because, most importantly, we're winning." Another victory on Wednesday would all but see Bayern through to the knockout stage as section winners, although the Bianconeri could overhaul their rivals with a home triumph. But only if they defend those set-pieces.
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