Champions League recap: Juventus growing into Sarri's skin

Maurizio Sarri is starting to make a mark on his Juventus side, but is it too little, too late for this season's UEFA Champions League?

Watch every Juventus Champions League goal so far this season
Watch every Juventus Champions League goal so far this season

Juventus have been characteristically efficient for much of their UEFA Champions League campaign, and will hope that recent improvements under Maurizio Sarri bear fruit when they bid to come from behind against Lyon.

Rule changes for this season


Season so far

Matchday 2 highlights: Juventus 3-0 Leverkusen
Matchday 2 highlights: Juventus 3-0 Leverkusen

Form guide: W5 D1 L1 F12 A5
Top scorer: Paulo Dybala (3)

Their campaign in ten words: 'Sarriball' a work in progress but there are positive signs.

Group D winners
Atlético 2-2 Juventus (Savić 70, Herrera 90; Cuadrado 48, Matuidi 65)
Juventus 3-0 Leverkusen (Higuaín 17, Bernardeschi 62, Ronaldo 89)
Juventus 2-1 Lokomotiv Moskva (Dybala 77 79; Aleksei Miranchuk 30)
Lokomotiv Moskva 1-2 Juventus (Aleksei Miranchuk 12; Ramsey 4, Douglas Costa 90+3)
Juventus 1-0 Atlético (Dybala 45+2)
Leverkusen 0-2 Juventus (Ronaldo 75, Higuaín 90+2)

Round of 16

First leg (26 February): Lyon 1-0 Juventus (Tousart 31)

Juventus held the initiative for much of the game but failed to create clear-cut chances to score and had just a single shot on target. The Bianconeri were unable to unlock a rock-solid Lyon who made the most of one of their few opportunities.

Expert view: Paolo Menicucci, UEFA.com Juventus reporter

Juve qualified comfortably from Group D, with eight different players finding the net as Sarri’s men scored in every match. Though their powerful attacking arsenal was nullified by Lyon in February, Juve still have time to make amends.

The Bianconeri also seem to be settling into Sarri's approach, with the ex-Chelsea boss finally hitting on a formula that appears to get the best out of Paulo Dybala and Cristiano Ronaldo in attack. The return of Giorgio Chiellini after a serious knee injury was another boost, before the veteran defender's recent muscle problem.

Who’s in charge?

After lifting the UEFA Europa League with Chelsea last term, Sarri now has his sights on the UEFA Champions League trophy in his first season at Juventus. Their ninth consecutive Serie A title may go some way towards winning over the Turin club's fans – but Sarri knows that giving them the silverware that has eluded them since 1996 will assure him of a special place in their hearts.

Key quote: “In football, I know only one way of removing scepticism from the minds of people: win and do so convincingly. So all I can do is put on a show."

Tactical approach

Sarri has worked hard to imprint his philosophy on a team which looked to be struggling to grasp it early in the season. There are currently positive signs, however, with Juve showing glimpses of the fast-paced, possession-based attacking football their coach loves.

Dybala struggled to find space in the team in Sarri’s 4-3-3 but is now shining alongside Ronaldo, with a winger such as Juan Cuadrado, Douglas Costa or Federico Bernardeschi completing the front section ahead of Gonzalo Higuaín.

Star player: Cristiano Ronaldo

Matthijs de Ligt has matured quickly since arriving at Juve and is now considered a rock at the heart of defence, while Dybala is also blossoming. But when the knockout stage begins, there is only ever one man to watch: CR7.