Juventus regulars set for rest ahead of Borussia Dortmund clash

AFP| Updated: Feb 19, 2015, 18:55 PM IST
Juventus regulars set for rest ahead of Borussia Dortmund clash

Juventus warm up for their Champions League last 16 clash against Borussia Dortmund by hosting Atalanta on Friday, when Massimiliano Allegri could rest several regulars including Frenchman Paul Pogba.

The Italian champions host Jurgen Klopp`s Bundesliga strugglers in Turin on Tuesday looking to put one foot into the quarter-finals of the competition for the first time in two years.

The Serie A leaders` early midweek date means they host Atalanta play on Friday, but Pogba, Paolo De Ceglie and Angelo Ogbonna are only one yellow card away from a one-game league suspension and could be left on the bench.

Juve, who hold a seven-point lead over second-placed Roma, face Rudi Garcia`s side in the Italian capital next week and losing Pogba, especially, could dent Juve`s chances of beating the Giallorossi for the second time this season.

But given Atalanta`s mediocre form this season, Juventus can afford to rest the influential French midfielder for a meeting which looks to be decidedly in Juventus`s favour.

With only five wins all season, Atalanta sit three points above the drop zone and have fared poorly on their travels, winning only twice -- at Cagliari and most recently at an ailing AC Milan.

Stefano Colantuno`s side will be missing Yohan Benalouane, Carlos Carmona and Mauricio Pinilla to one-game suspensions while Richmond Boakye, German Denis, Giulio Migliaccio, Maximiliano Moralez and Guglielmo Stendardo are all walking the suspension tightrope.

Juventus remain unbeaten at home all season and although Allegri`s men have been held twice in their past three games -- settling for draws away to Udinese then Cesena -- the Bianconeri will be expected to cruise to a victory that would take their advantage to 10 points ahead of Roma`s trip to Verona on Sunday.

Juventus midfielder Claudio Marchisio, meanwhile, has left no doubts as to Juve`s ambitions in Europe`s premier club competition this season.

"We always strive to win," he told Sky Sport in midweek. "Our objective is to reach the final."

Borussia Dortmund, who host Juventus for the second leg of their last 16 tie on March 18, sit fourth from bottom of the Bundesliga with only six wins in 21 games.