Bring on Dortmund, says Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri
Juventus are brimming with confidence ahead of taking their first step towards a possible Champions League last eight spot when they host Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday, coach Massimiliano Allegri said.
Juve warmed up for their last 16 first leg against the Bundesliga side with a hard-fought 2-1 win over Atalanta in Turin on Friday when Andrea Pirlo hit the winner on the stroke of half-time.
It left Juve 10 points clear of Roma, who visit Verona on Sunday, and means they will hold at least a seven-point lead ahead of their meeting in Rome next week.
Despite being held to two draws in two of their three previous league games, Juve remain firm favourites for a fourth consecutive scudetto, and Allegri says there will be no fear ahead of Tuesday`s clash in Turin.
"This is a key period in the season, but we`re coming through it nicely. It`s satisfying to win these kind of games because it keeps your feet on the ground," he said.
"For Tuesday`s game we`re in great form. I`m not worried about the Champions League, in fact we`re full of confidence."
Dortmund visit Juventus Stadium looking to set aside mediocre league form to end Juve`s 40-game unbeaten streak at home in all competitions.
In the Bundesliga, they moved further away from the danger zone thanks to a 3-2 win away to VfB Stuttgart on Friday but overall it has been a far from successful season for Jurgen Klopp`s men.
If the Germans are to capitalise on any of Juve`s weaknesses, they could do so by focusing on defence and trying to hit the Italians on the counter-attack and at setpieces.
The latter two aspects remain Juve`s Achilles` heel: Atalanta got off the mark on Friday when Guilio Migliaccio rose to head Urby Emanuelson`s corner past Gianluigi Buffon in the Juve goal.
Juve hung on for the win after Pirlo netted six minutes after Fernando Llorente had levelled for the hosts, but Allegri admitted it was a far from easy three points.
"It was a difficult game, Atalanta defended well and we left ourselves exposed to a few counter-attacks. We conceded from a corner, as we did against Milan (two weeks ago) and I wasn`t happy about that at all," he said.
"Before the game I`d warned about the danger of Migliaccio. When the ball is in the air he usually gets his head on the end of it. And that`s what happened in the end.
"It goes to show there are few easy games. You can`t always win 3-0, but it was a key win because it`s a delicate moment in the championship."