Juventus vs Nantes: Europa League Preview, Lineups & Prediction

Juventus continue their disappointing European season in the Europa League knockout playoffs as Nantes arrive at the Allianz Stadium on Thursday. Happiness and satisfaction have been rare commodities in Turin in 2023, but there’s no time to moan as their Champions League bid hangs by a thread.

Hit by a massive 15-point deduction for financial irregularities in mid-January, Juventus lag 12 points behind the Serie A top four following a narrow 1-0 home win over Fiorentina on Sunday. Adrien Rabiot’s first-half strike stretched Bianconeri’s winning streak to three matches in domestic competitions. But that was a mere consolation given their current position in the Serie A standings. 

Stuck in mid-table, Juventus must seek an alternate way into next season’s Champions League group stages. There’s a feeling that lifting the Europa League title this term is their best chance of returning to Europe’s elite competition in 2023/24. But Massimiliano Allegri’s men have flopped in continental action this season through and through. 

Having lost five of their six matches in the Champions League group stages for the first time in the club’s history (W1), Juventus should consider themselves lucky for having an opportunity to still compete on the European stage. Speaking of good luck, they must be grateful for being paired against inexperienced European campaigners Nantes in this seemingly manageable playoff tie. 

Antoine Kombouare’s side reached the Europa League knockouts as the second-lowest scorers among teams to have finished second in their group (G6). Yet, they should still be proud of themselves for making it to a knockout stage of a major European competition for the first time in over 20 years. 



Continuing their faltering European journey in the second-tier competition could be a blessing in disguise for Juventus. Allegri’s men have suffered six defeats in their last seven UEFA-sanctioned games (W1), including three in a row in the build-up. Another loss would see them lose four straight European matches for the first time in the club’s history.

Juventus parachuted into the Europa League for the first time since 2013/14 when they went all the way to the semi-finals before losing to Benfica. But it’s worth noting that the record-time Italian champions haven’t lost any of their 11 home outings in the Europa League (W5, D6), suggesting this could be a walk in the park for Allegri’s side.

Player to Watch: Dusan Vlahovic

Back from a long-term injury, Dusan Vlahovic should lead on the line on Thursday. He’s been a talismanic figure for Juventus this term, with the Bianconeri going unbeaten in all seven fixtures with him on the scoresheet (W6, D1). 


Nantes blew hot and cold across their six Europa League group matches this term (W3, L3), with four of those results (win/loss) yielding multi-goal margins. Scoring first could be a defining milestone in this fixture, considering four of the French team’s six group games witnessed the winner on the day keep a clean sheet. 

Interestingly, Nantes won their final two group outings in this season’s Europa League by an aggregate score of 4-1. They could make it three European victories in a row for the first time since 2001, with Kombouare brimming with confidence following his side’s impressive run of four away clean sheets (W2, D2). 

Player to Watch: Ludovic Blas

Like his Juventus counterpart Vlahovic, Ludovic Blas has been Nantes’ lucky charm of late, leading his team to win in each of his last three goalscoring away matches. His strike also helped Les Canaris to a 1-0 Ligue 1 home triumph over Lorient at the weekend. 

Team News

Juventus will welcome veteran defender Leonardo Bonucci back to the fold after a two-month absence. But Allegri won’t be able to call upon the services of Arkadiusz Milik, Fabio Miretti, and Paul Pogba.

On the other hand, Nantes will be without Ignatius Ganago, Moses Simon, and Quentin Merlin, with the latter two still struggling with injuries. 

Juventus vs Nantes Potential Lineups

Juventus (3-5-2): Szczesny; Danilo, Gleison Bremer, Alex Sandro; Juan Cuadrado, Nicolo Fagioli, Manuel Locatelli, Adrien Rabiot, Filip Kostic; Federico Chiesa, Dusan Vlahovic.

Nantes (4-2-3-1): Alban Lafont; Fabien Centonze, Joao Victor, Jean-Charles Castelletto, Charles Traore; Andrei Girotto, Moussa Sissoko; Evann Guessand, Florent Mollet, Ludovic Blas; Mostafa Mohamed.

Juventus vs Nantes Prediction 

Despite all off-field problems, Juventus should have this in the bag every day of the week. We expect Allegri’s men to win ‘to nil’ and laid the foundation for an effortless progression into the round of 16.

Prediction: Juventus Win

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