Thursday August 6 2020
Garcia: 'Juve have advantage over Lyon'

Rudi Garcia maintains Juventus ‘have the advantage’ in terms of match fitness, so despite Lyon winning the first leg, it’s ’50-50’ on Champions League qualification.

Olympique Lyonnais won the first leg 1-0 on home turf in February, which gives them a huge advantage going into the Round of 16 decider in Turin.

That kicks off on Friday at 20.00 UK time (19.00 GMT).

“Usually when you win the first leg, you have a better chance of qualifying, but in this case and considering the strength of the opponent, I’d say it’s 50-50,” said Garcia in his press conference.

“They’ve won nine Serie A titles in a row. That alone should tell you about Juve’s strength. They’re not as solid defensively as they were in previous years and naturally we’ll try to make the most of that situation, as we will be playing to score a goal. If we find the net in Turin, it’ll be easier for us to reach the next phase of the competition.”

Paulo Dybala remains in doubt following a muscular problem, although Cristiano Ronaldo will lead the trident attack.

“There aren’t just Dybala and Ronaldo at Juventus, as they have many star names in this squad. Having said that, we are humble and ambitious, so we want to qualify tomorrow.”

Ligue 1 halted their season when the lockdown hit in March, but unlike every other major European league, decided not to resume and simply handed the title to leaders Paris Saint-Germain.

That means Lyon have played one competitive game since March 8, a 0-0 draw with PSG in the Coupe de la Ligue Final on July 31.

“Let’s just say that playing every three days can obviously get you match fitness, but it can also get you more tired. Juve won the Scudetto by Week 36, so were effectively able to take the last two rounds off,” continued the coach.

“The disadvantage is therefore almost all for us, as we don’t have match fitness. At least the Coupe de la Ligue game showed that we aren’t in bad shape, so there is promise. Losing to PSG on penalties was very disappointing. Our fate is in our hands tomorrow.”

Garcia is no stranger to Serie A or Juventus, having battled them for the Scudetto in charge of Roma.

“No, that was a different time, a different team and above all a different competition. There is nothing from the past that can be in my mind around this game.

“It will be behind closed doors and that is a pity, as even away from home, it’s always better to play football in front of fans. I hope we can soon get the fans back into the stadium.”

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