Juventus vs Freiburg Highlights
As the Europa League match between Juventus vs Freiburg concluded with the victory of Juventus with 1-0 at Allainz Stadium on Thursday night.
Juventus established a narrow Europa League first-leg advantage over Freiburg without Paul Pogba who was dropped for disciplinary reasons.
It is understood the French midfielder was late for a team meeting and Juventus coach Max Allegri opted not to include him for the last-16 match in Turin.
Angel di Maria, a World Cup winner with Argentina in 2022, scored the only goal of the game for the Italians.
Meanwhile, Roma also took a step towards the quarter-finals after beating Real Sociedad 2-0 in the Italian capital.
Jose Mourinho’s side, who won the Europa Conference League last season, scored an early goal from a counter-attack by Stephan El Shaarawy.
Marash Kumbulla’s late header wrapped up victory after Sociedad‘s Mikel Merino had missed a golden opportunity to equalise.
The teams convene in Turin for the first leg, with the hosts having lost at the weekend to fall further behind in Serie A – where they have already been docked 15 points – and their visitors riding high in the German top flight.
Angel di Maria effort for his club
Already clear favourites to progress coming into their playoff tie with Nantes last month, Juventus may have been stung by a blistering counter-attack to draw the home leg 1-1, but ultimately eased through in France as Angel Di Maria bagged a hat-trick against 10-man opponents.
After Nicolas Pallois was sent off in the 17th minute, Juve’s task was made all the more straightforward, and they went on to make a more successful start to their Europa League campaign than the finish of their participation in Europe’s top competition.
Among the drop-outs from the Champions League group phase, where they lost five times, the Bianconeri subsequently bounced back from such embarrassment by embarking on a long winning run in Serie A without conceding a goal.
Max Allegri’s men were then humbled for a second time this season by Serie A newcomers Monza, before another positive run of results saw them surge towards the top six despite a heavy points deduction for financial indiscretions derailing their challenge.
However, Sunday’s high-profile clash with Roma at Stadio Olimpico saw them stopped in their tracks, as a Gianluca Mancini screamer split the sides before Juve striker Moise Kean was sent off late on, only moments after leaving the bench.
Nevertheless, following an eight-match unbeaten streak previously, Juventus are not only still in Europe but also into the Coppa Italia semi-finals; sitting seventh in the Serie A standings with more than a third of the season to go.
The two-time European champions may have slipped down the ranks in terms of continental standing – and off-field events continue to drag the club’s name through the mud – but before welcoming Freiburg to Turin, they have lost just one of their last 16 games at Europa League level.
Not accustomed to midweek nights under the bright lights of Europe, Freiburg will not only encounter Juventus for the first time this week, Thursday’s clash at the Allianz Stadium will also mark their first competitive meeting with an Italian opponent.
One of just three teams to go undefeated through the group phase – winning four times in the process – the Black Forest club have featured only sporadically in either the UEFA Cup or Europa League, but are enjoying their best run this season.
Only Real Sociedad have conceded fewer goals than Freiburg’s three in the Europa League, and the latter also finished well clear of Juve’s recent victims Nantes in Group G during the autumn.
Under maverick coach Christian Streich, who has been in charge of since 2011, they have lost only five times all season, while Saturday’s stalemate with Borussia Monchengladbach brought only a second failure to score in their last 17 matches.
Streich’s side may have recently slipped outside the Bundesliga’s top four, with that 0-0 result at Gladbach leaving them fifth, but still sit only two points shy of third-placed Union Berlin – another team still standing in this year’s Europa League.
Indeed, an impressive tally of 42 points after 23 games represents a new club record for Die Breisgauer, who will now seek to continue their improbable progress on the continent.