Preview: Atalanta BC vs. Juventus


Two contenders for a top-four Serie A finish convene at the Gewiss Stadium on Sunday afternoon, as Atalanta BC welcome Juventus to Bergamo.

While Juve ended a five-match winless streak in midweek to keep a grip on third place, their hosts have hit form at the right time - posting three consecutive wins during the past fortnight.

Match preview

After taking one point from four games previously, an ailing Juventus finally stopped the rot on Wednesday, when they edged out relegation-threatened Lecce in Turin.

Either side of their visitors' equaliser from the penalty spot, forgotten man Leandro Paredes opened the scoring from a free-kick and Dusan Vlahovic ultimately decided matters in Juve's favour with his 40th-minute strike.

Having also missed out on a place in the Coppa Italia final at the expense of arch-rivals Inter, the Bianconeri had endured quite a rough run domestically despite reaching the last four of this season's Europa League, where they will face Sevilla in the semi-finals.

Before the first leg of that tie next Thursday, Max Allegri's men must seek to build momentum in Serie A, as even aside from the possible re-imposition of a 15-point penalty, they are yet to assure Champions League football for next term.

With five games to go, Juventus have a five-point buffer to both Roma and Atalanta, but having lost four of their last six meetings with teams inside Serie A's top seven, Allegri will be all too aware of the danger that awaits his team this weekend.

Losing six of 16 away games this season also reflects their struggles throughout a tumultuous campaign; however, they have lost just once in their last 17 league visits to Bergamo.

Atalanta's sole success during that time came just over two years ago, but overall they are unbeaten in their last six league matches against Juventus ahead of Sunday's early kickoff.

One more without defeat would set a new club record versus the Turin giants, and victory would even draw them within two points of their visitors with four games left to play.

Gian Piero Gasperini's side have picked up the most points of any team in Serie A over the last seven matchdays and have won on each of the last three; equalling their best such run since the end of 2021.

Wednesday's 3-2 win over struggling Spezia proved far from straightforward, though, as Atalanta had to fight back from behind and then played out the last half-hour with a slim one-goal advantage.

Davide Zappacosta was on target for a second straight game, and following wins over Roma and Juve's city rivals Torino, the Nerazzurri have closed the gap on their fellow contenders for three Champions League spots behind new champions Napoli.

After winning half of their home games so far and losing five times in the process, La Dea's home record is inferior to that which they have put together on the road, but momentum is certainly on their side this weekend.

Team News

As Mattia De Sciglio's season was ended by a serious knee injury in midweek, and Leandro Paredes must serve a suspension, Juventus will make at least two changes to their starting lineup at the Gewiss Stadium.

Juan Cuadrado should replace the former on Juve's right flank, while Manuel Locatelli returns in place of the latter.

Having ended his scoring drought on Wednesday, Dusan Vlahovic once again vies with Arkadiusz Milik to feature up front; the Serbian striker has scored four Serie A goals against Atalanta to date, by virtue of two braces.

After netting Atalanta's third goal against Spezia, Luis Muriel may start on Sunday, with Rasmus Hojlund still hampered by a groin strain suffered in the warm-up on Wednesday.

While the Colombian has met Juventus 17 times in the league without scoring once, his compatriot Duvan Zapata has tallied six goals against them since 2013 - no other player has more versus the Bianconeri during that period. They could be paired again, as top scorer Ademola Lookman is still troubled by a thigh problem.

Jose Luis Palomino will also miss out due to injury, so Gian Piero Gasperini's back three could remain unchanged; Dutch duo Teun Koopmeiners and Marten de Roon will run the hosts' engine room.

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