Deep in crisis: Juve’s blatant fitness problem

Juventus Turin is deep in crisis. In the league, the proud old lady is only in eighth place, in the Champions League there is a risk of premature elimination after two defeats in a row. It has nothing to do with bad luck. On the contrary – things could be a lot worse: According to the Expected Goals (xG) model, Juve should have conceded 9.4 goals in the current Serie A season – 4.4 more than the team actually caught (via ‘Understat.com’).

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Running weak

Eighth place, despite the opponent’s poor conversion of chances. Rating: Poor. The reasons for the crisis are varied, but the focus of criticism is currently coach Massimiliano Allegri. The former champion coach seems to have gambled away his credit from the past, the pressure from outside is increasing day by day. The biggest deficit of the old lady is one for which Allegri can only do something to a limited extent: a number of indications suggest that the team has a catastrophic level of fitness.

Starting with the bare numbers: According to official information from Serie A, the Allegri team has run a total of 108.26 kilometers per game so far. In the league, that’s enough for ninth place – in an international comparison, it’s miserable. In the Bundesliga, Juve would be in last place with this value. It is also worth mentioning that none of the team’s regular players (over 500 minutes of play) is among the top 50 players in the league. Central defender Bremer is in 51st place with 10.3 kilometers per game.

Nagelsmann’s dig

Also noticeable is the lack of fitness of players who left Juventus in the summer. Matthijs de Ligt, for example, who had a lot of catching up to do physically at the beginning of his time at Bayern Munich. “I spoke to him after training and he said the training session was the toughest in four years. She was tough, but not that tough.”Julian Nagelsmann also stated in the ‘Bild’ in the summer.

The Munich coach could not resist a dig: “He didn’t play that many minutes last season and I’ve heard it’s not easy to stay fit in Italy then. We have to train hard with him.”

Not an isolated case

Nagelsmann is not the only one who noticed such a phenomenon with his new Juve signing. Luca Pellegrini, who moved to Eintracht Frankfurt on loan from Turin, is struggling with the physique of the Bundesliga and training and is therefore suffering from thigh problems. Coach Oliver Glasner last: “He only trained individually and with little stress all week. We now want to give him physical input so that he can take the strain.”

That’s not all: Arthur Melo, brought in as much-needed midfield help from Liverpool FC, played for 13 minutes in the Reds’ 4-1 disgrace in the Champions League against SSC Napoli and then for Liverpool’s reserve team. The reason, according to Fabrizio Romano: Arthur is working on getting in physical shape.

Just like Aaron Ramsey, who spent large parts of the preparations in Turin and only started the first four games for his new club OGC Nice on the bench after his departure. Coach Lucien Favre reasoned in August: “He helps us with his experience and has that certain something. At the moment, however, he still has problems with his condition.” By the way, Ramsey is currently injured.

Fitness trainer in the criticism

Speaking of injuries. Juventus are currently missing seven players, with Ángel Di María and Wojciech Szczesny number eight and nine recently returning from convalescence. An in-house medical report also revealed that eleven muscle injuries have already occurred among the players this season. The old lady’s personal worries are certainly a driving force behind the current crisis – but possibly also a symptom of a lack of fitness?

The problem seems to have been recognized in Turin. At least last week, ‘Sky Italia’ reported that Juventus are considering sacking the athletic coaches from Allegri’s staff. The head coach introduced himself to his assistants at the press conference ahead of yesterday’s game against AC Monza, but a public denunciation of third parties would have been badly received.

Just like the 1-0 defeat that followed at the bottom of the table. “It would be completely insane to fire Allegri now. Allegri has a project here at Juventus to be developed over the next four years.”, board boss Maurizio Arrivabene strengthened Allegri’s back during the game. If the old lady’s crisis continues, the club would still be forced to make personnel changes at some point. It remains to be seen whether it will hit the head trainer or the fitness trainer.

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