Champions League

Khedira set for Juve return

2015-09-30 13:50
Sami Khedira (Twitter)

Turin - Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri left media guessing, but said Germany midfielder Sami Khedira would feature in some capacity on Wednesday, when the Italians look to claim their second Champions League win in a row, at home to Sevilla.

One thing the embattled Italian coach did confirm was Juventus's ambition to get past the group stages and, if possible, repeat their feat of last season by reaching the final.

"The Champions League is a dream for us, but a club like ours should always be getting into the knockout stages," Allegri told media at the Turin giant's stadium on Tuesday.

"Tomorrow's game is almost decisive for us in terms of qualifying."

Hit by several injuries and struggling to pick up momentum, following their 3-1 defeat against Barcelona in last May's final, the arrival of several new players have failed to reap rewards as Juventus find themselves in 15th place in Serie A with just five points from six matches.

Their form so far in Europe's premier club event, however, has been impressive, Allegri's men returning from Manchester City with a precious 2-1 win that has left them second in Group D, on goal differnece behind Europa League holders Sevilla, who routed Borussia Moenchengladback 3-0 in their opener.

However that win came at the start of the season, when Juve's confidence was still high. Injuries have since piled up, with striker Mario Mandzukic (thigh) and, lately, Stephan Lichsteiner (head), joining Claudio Marchisio on the sidelines.

On Tuesday another Juventus player, defender Martin Caceres, was also ruled out of the match although his absence is down to a club suspension handed down after he crashed his Ferrari into a bus stop and was breathalysed by police in the early hours of the morning.

The absences have forced Allegri's hand, and to general surprise he named virtually all his starting line-up, minus the exact formation, for Wednesday's game, including German international Sami Khedira.

Khedira has played only 25 minutes for Juve, before hobbling off in a pre-season friendly against Marseille on August 1.

On Tuesday the former Real Madrid midfielder was named among nine players who will play in front of goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon. The tenth player, said a coy Allegri, "you can guess for yourself".

"Khedira will play tomorrow," said Allegri, although he would not confirm whether he would start.

"You'll have to wait and see. He's ready."

Asked if on-loan Chelsea forward Juan Cuadrado would feature, Allegri replied: "Cuadrado has done well but I can't make him play 95 minutes of every single game."

And he left French fans of Juve guessing as to whether Mario Lemina would join French compatriot Paul Pogba in midfield: "He's played the last three games, so tomorrow we'll assess his condition."

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