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Juventus might be without talismanic captain Alessandro Del Piero and playmaker Diego for their UEFA Champions League opener against FC Girondins de Bordeaux, but goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon believes the Bianconeri are well equipped for the challenge ahead.
A 2-0 victory over S.S. Lazio on Saturday means Juventus are second in the formative Serie A standings with three wins from three, and Buffon is hopeful that they can continue in a similar vein in their Group A encounter at the Stadio Olimpico. "In Saturday's game against Lazio we never stopped fighting for victory, even when we struggling to impose ourselves," said Buffon. "The season is just beginning, but I think we are on the right track."
Juventus won a group containing Real Madrid CF, FC Zenit St. Petersburg and FC BATE Borisov last season before being knocked out by Chelsea FC. FC Bayern München and Maccabi Haifa FC complete their section this time around and Buffon is sure that similar progress could be on the cards again. "Last season we met strong opponents, and, despite this, we won our group brilliantly," he added. "Unfortunately, we met Chelsea at their best in the first knockout round and said goodbye to the tournament holding our head high. Now is too early to make judgments, but I think we are much better than last season as a squad."
Ciro Ferrara's preparations for his bow as coach in European competition have been hampered by a double injury blow. The Italian will be without the European pedigree of Del Piero, who is yet to play this season, and will also be unable to call upon marquee summer signing Diego after the Brazilian playmaker picked up a thigh injury against Lazio. "Diego is a very important player for us and we would like to see him in the starting XI in every game, but a great team can't be dependent on a single player," said Buffon. "If we want to be at the same level of the great European teams, everyone who plays with Juventus must be ready to answer the coach's call."
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