Juventus focused on winning the Champions League
MILAN: With a sixth straight Serie A title looking likely and another Italian Cup final on the horizon, Juventus has become almost obsessively focused on the Champions League.
There is a feeling in Turin that victory in Europe would crown its resurrection from relegation to Serie B in 2006 following a match-fixing scandal. But first, Juventus needs to get past FC Porto on Tuesday in the last 16, already holding 2-0 lead from the first leg.
"I'm aware of the importance the Champions League has for the Bianconeri family and for the history of the club," Juventus defender Dani Alves said. "I too, like all Juventus fans, want to dream and I'm convinced that if we continue down our path calmly, with personality, and without fear of making a mistake ... Then we can get right to the end."
Against Porto, Juventus will be boosted by the return of Juan Cuadrado from suspension and Mario Mandzukic from illness. The two are almost certain to start in Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri's innovative 4-2-3-1 system.
Juventus holds an eight-point advantage in Serie A, and is leading Napoli 3-1 ahead of the second leg of the Italian Cup semifinals. So a treble is still possible.
"We are well, physically and mentally," Alves said. "Now the most important part of the season is coming and the great players work all year to be ready for these moments, those in which you have to win competitions.
"Together we can have a great end to the season."
Juventus went close to the treble in Allegri's first year in charge, but the Italian team lost in the Champions League final to Barcelona.
That was the closest it had got to winning Europe's premier club competition since it was defeated in the final by AC Milan in 2003. Juventus, which was also runner-up in 1997 and 1998, last won the trophy in 1996.
Playing for titles in three competitions makes for a hectic schedule, however.
"There's no time for us to rest after Milan and we don't want to," Alves said. "We want this match to come, to aim to pass the round and be in the quarterfinal draw.
"That's what we want and what our fans want. We can have a good game on Tuesday and ensure our fans go home happy with what they've seen at the stadium."
Juventus has been practically unbeatable in Turin. The Bianconeri beat AC Milan 2-1 on Friday to extend its Serie A record to 31 consecutive home wins, and it hasn't lost in 20 Champions League home matches, stretching back to a loss to Bayern Munich in the 2013 quarterfinals.