Preview: Bologna vs. Juventus

Third place in Serie A will be on the line when Juventus travel to Bologna on Monday night.

High-flying Bologna will aim to end their 26-year-old hoodoo against Juventus at home when they face the Coppa Italia holders on Monday night.

The Bianconeri should be celebrating following their cup win but are currently in a state of turmoil after parting ways with legendary boss Massimiliano Allegri. The veteran tactician’s departure could pave the way for Bologna to stun their rivals, inflicting their first loss in this match-up since 2011.

Both sides are currently tied at 67 points, separated by only goal difference. The game should more or less help decide who finishes higher up. For Bologna, it will be a good test of where they stand give that tougher challenges will await them in next season’s UEFA Champions League.

Curiously, Thiago Motta, who has been a key architect of Bologna’s rise has been touted as a potential successor for Allegri at Juventus. This clash on Monday could be seen as an audition of sorts for the 41-year-old to seal the deal. He currently has a new three-year deal on the table at Bologna, and the coming weeks should prove to be interesting reading.

Juventus have struggled to score goals this season and now come up against a Rossoblu side that has conceded just twice in the last eight Serie A games. Defensive solidity has been a key aspect in their success, and it remains to be seen if Juventus can pick their battles wisely on the night.

With Allegri gone, youth team coach Paolo Montero will be in the dugout for Juventus on the night. With a UEFA Champions League spot already assured, he will be able to get the job done without being overwhelmed by the potential consequences.

The Bianconeri have won just two of their last 15 Serie A games, effectively throwing away an opportunity to challenge for the title. They now face a fresh start and will hope to rediscover that winning touch after a run of five draws in the league. How the game pans out could prove to be decisive for both teams’ futures going forward.  The Hard Tackle delves into the potential elevens and tactics for this highly-anticipated clash.

Team News & Tactics

Bologna

Bologna will be without a trio of key players for Monday’s match at the Dall’Ara. Striker Joshua Zirkzee, who has attracted interest from Manchester United and Arsenal, is sidelined with a hamstring injury after playing 73 minutes against Napoli.

Additionally, Bologna will miss the services of Adama Soumaoro and promising Scotland midfielder Lewis Ferguson, both of whom are recovering from ACL injuries. Ferguson’s injury is particularly disappointing as it has dashed his hopes of a call-up for Euro 2024.

The home side will be likely to set up in a 4-2-3-1 formation, with Lukasz Skorupski in goal. He should be protected by the backline of Stefan Posch, Jhon Lucumí, Riccardo Calafiori, and Victor Kristiansen.

Remo Freuler and Michel Aebischer should form the double pivot in central midfield, with Riccardo Orsolini, Kacper Urbanski and Dan Ndoye forming the attacking midfield trio. Jens Odgaard should take Zirkzee’s spot up front.

Juventus

Juventus will be without Mattia De Sciglio, who is recovering from a muscle issue. Paul Pogba is still suspended but Nicolo Fagioli is set to return. Juventus have an otherwise fully fit roster to choose from for the game.

Paolo Montero is likely to set his side up in a 3-5-2 formation, with Wojciech Szczesny in goal. The veteran should be protected by the defensive trio of Danilo, Federico Gatti, and Gleison Bremer.

The trio of Adrien Raiot, Fabio Miretti and Weston McKennie should form the central midfield, with Andrea Cambiaso and Filip Kostic leading the forward foray on the flanks. Dusan Vlahovic was the hero in the Coppa Italia final and will hope to mark his 100th game for Juventus in style, with Federico Chiesa partnering him in attack.

Key Stats

  • A draw on the night will see both sides draw two of their games in a league campaign for the first time since 2011/12.
  • Juventus have lost just once in their last 42 Serie A games to Bologna. I Rossoblu last defeated the Bianconeri in Serie A in 2011.
  • Bologna last defeated Juventus at home in the league in 1998, 26 years ago. They have since drawn six games and lost 14 to Juventus.
  • Should Bologna win their remaining two games, they will reach 73 points, the second-highest tally ever in club history for a single league campaign.
  • Only Inter Milan have secured more points at home than Bologna in Serie A this season.

Player to Watch

Dusan Vlahovic

The Serb is set for his 100th appearance for Juventus and will hope to mark it off with another match-winning performance. He found the back of the net in the Coppa Italia final against Atalanta and will aim to continue that purple patch of form.

Vlahovic will once again be the focal point of the Juventus attack and will aim to link up once again with Federico Chiesa. Keeping him quiet will give Bologna a real shot at ending their poor run of form against Juventus.

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