With the mid-season break done and dusted for many Italian sides, Juventus now get back to the business of defending their first major piece of silverware of the season.
The Bianconeri are in action in the Coppa Italia as they look to retain the trophy they won in convincing fashion against Milan last season.
They first must overcome Serie A rivals Bologna, who they downed with a pair of early goals in a 2-0 win in September – but the Stadio Renato Dall’Ara will likely prove a cauldron for Massimiliano Allegri’s side to contend with.
Will Juve be heading to the quarter-finals in comfortable fashion? Or is there an imminent twist in the tale set to foil their ambitions?
|Game||Bologna vs Juventus|
|Date||Saturday, January 12|
|Time||7:45pm GMT / 2:45pm ET|
TV Channel, Live Stream & How To Watch
In the United States (US), the game will be available for streaming on the ESPN+ channel.
|US TV channel||Online stream|
In the United Kingdom (UK), the game will be broadcast on BT Sport 3 and streamed on BT Sport Live.
|UK TV channel||Online stream|
|BT Sport 3||BT Sport Live|
Squads & Team News
|Goalkeepers||Skorupski, Da Costa, Santurro, Pirana|
|Defenders||Helander, Calabresi, Gonzalez, De Maio, Danilo, Paz, Dijks, Mattiello, Mbaye|
|Midfielders||Pulgar, Nagy, Donsah, Soriano, Svanberg, Dzemaili, Valencia, Sansone, Krejci, Okwonkwo, Orsolini|
|Forwards||Santander, Destro, Falcinelli, Palacio|
Filippo Inzaghi will be unable to call on Andrea Poli, who sits out this game through suspension – but otherwise has the luxury of a full squad to choose from.
Rodrigo Palacio and Federico Santander are likely to lead the line once again for the hosts.
Potential Bologna starting XI: Skorupski; De Maio, Danilo, Helander; Mattiello, Orsolini, Pulgar, Svanberg, Dijks; Palacio, Santander.
|Goalkeepers||Szczesny, Pinsoglio, Perin|
|Defenders||De Sciglio, Chiellini, Benatia, Bonucci, Rugani, Sandro, Barzagli|
|Midfielders||Pjanic, Matuidi, Can, Bentancur, Bernardeschi, Spinazzola, Khedira|
|Forwards||Ronaldo, Dybala, Costa, Mandzukic|
Joao Cancelo is thought to have not recovered from surgery in December that saw him ruled out for the rest of 2018, while Andrea Barzagli and Juan Cuadrado are also still sidelined for the visitors.
However, the powerful front three of Cristiano Ronaldo, Paulo Dybala and Mario Mandzukic are expected to be on the prowl for goals once again.
Potential Juventus starting XI: Szczesny; De Sciglio, Rugani, Chiellini, Alex Sandro; Pjanic, Emre Can, Matuidi; Dybala, Mandzukic, Ronaldo.
Betting & Match Odds
Juventus are priced as heavy favourites at 1/3 to win this clash at . Bologna can be backed at 15/2, while a draw is on offer at 4/1.
Click here to see all of bet 365’s offers for the game, including goalscoring markets, correct score predictions and more.
The new year is in full swing and Juventus return from the mid-season break, like the rest of Italian football, refreshed and raring to go.
Before they can return to their defence of Serie A, however, they must first begin their defence of the Coppa Italia, as Massimiliano Allegri’s side aim to make it a historic five domestic doubles on the bounce.
The Bianconeri have not exited the competition since a quarter-final defeat to Roma way back in 2014, with a virtually spotless record since.
They face a trip to relegation-threatened Bologna looking to keep that intact and will feel confident of doing so against a side who have not progressed beyond this stage, bar once, for two decades.
Filippo Inzaghi knows how to win this tournament though – the former Italian World Cup winner saw victory as a player with Milan in 2003.
As a manager, he knows how to contend with the pressure of knockout football too, taking Venezia to the Coppa Italia Lega Pro final in 2016-17, defeating Matera.
The visitors are the clear-cut favourites, of course – led by a fearsome attack that has provided last year’s marquee signing Cristiano Ronaldo with no shortage of opportunity to find the net.
But could their imperilled hosts find themselves delivering a shock to the established system? The magic of the cup might be with them this weekend.