Juventus will be looking for its first win of this season’s Champions League when it faces Maccabi Haifa on Wednesday.
The Italian team drew both of its previous games – 1-1 against Bordeaux and 0-0 at Bayern Munich – but needs a win against Group A’s last-place team to get back into the competition to advance to the knockout round.
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“We definitely have to win the two matches against the Israelis and hope other results go our way,” Juventus defender Nicola Legrottaglie said.
Juventus, which has lost four straight in the league, should be helped by the recent return of Diego, who is recovering from a knee injury.
“I’m improving and I feel at 110 percent. We have to continue improving as a team. At the moment we’re missing something and missing out on wins,” the Brazilian said. “We’re playing well and creating scoring chances, but we have to keep working to finish off matches.”
Several Juventus players have had little rest in recent weeks, with Gianluigi Buffon, Giorgio Chiellini and Fabio Grosso all playing for Italy last week in World Cup qualifying.
“This match and the one after in Tel Aviv are ones we have to win at all costs,” Chiellini said. “It will mean we will be able to be at our best for the last two matches.
“We know they are a team to respect because of how they played against Bayern Munich and Bordeaux, when they only lost the match in the last few minutes.”
Haifa, which lost to Bordeaux 1-0 on a last-minute goal on Sept. 30, goes into the match without captain and striker Yaniv Katan, who has the flu.
With Katan absent, much of the responsibility for scoring falls on Vladimir Dvalishvili’s shoulders. The 23-year-old Georgian has scored five goals in six matches to help Haifa to the top of the table.
“I know the striker Dvalishvili because I played against him a month ago for Italy against Georgia,” Chiellini said.