Juventus could secure top spot in Champions League Group H with a win over Manchester United at the Allianz Stadium on Wednesday night, report agencies.
The Old Lady’s 1-0 triumph in the return fixture at Old Trafford saw them maintain their 100% start to the group, and even a point in Turin would secure their place in the last 16.
Romelu Lukaku was absent from the squad entirely at the weekend – having been dropped the week before – so his position as United’s leading striker is unclear.
Marcus Rashford came off the bench to score the winner at the Vitality Stadium, and will hope to have earned a starting spot alongside fellow impact sub Ander Herrera.
In a remarkable twist of events since the start of the season, Anthony Martial is now arguably one of the first names on United’s teamsheet, having scored five goals in his last four league games for the club.
Marouane Fellaini and Antonio Valencia remain sidelined for Mourinho, while Diogo Dalot is nearing a return but is not expected to feature in Turin.
Juve, meanwhile, could be without Blaise Matuidi and Douglas Costa after both players came off injured at the weekend with hip and adductor problems respectively.
Mario Mandzukic has returned to limited training after the ankle injury he sustained prior to the reverse fixture between these two sides, but this match will come too soon for the Croatian striker.
Sami Khedira could feature for the first time since matchday one, while former Chelsea winger Juan Cuadradois the most likely choice to replace Costa in the front three alongside Ronaldo and Dybala.
The one thing preventing this Juventus side from perhaps going down as the greatest in the club’s illustrious history is success on the European stage too, although they are among the favourites to lift the trophy this season.
Ronaldo has been in typically devastating form domestically, but it is Paulo Dybala who has been the star of the show in Europe so far, scoring four goals including a hat-trick against Young Boys on matchday two and the winner against United last time out.
Credit must also go to the defence, with Juventus one of only two teams yet to concede a goal in the group stages this season, and there is every sign that Massimiliano Allegri may finally have a team balanced and dangerous enough to get their hands on the trophy this season.
There is still a long way to go, of course, but simply a draw on Wednesday would seal their place in the last 16 while victory would secure top spot in the group with two games to spare, having already built a five-point lead over United in second.
Meanwhile, United have recorded some famous wins in Turin down the years, but rarely will they have travelled to the city regarded as such big underdogs.
Even manager Jose Mourinho was forced to admit that the Italian champions were a class apart at Old Trafford a fortnight ago, when Juve’s 1-0 win flattered the helpless home side.
Paul Pogba did hit the post against his former club that night, but anything United got out of the game would have been a smash and grab and they may be forced to hope for a similar thing on Wednesday night.
Attacking threats were few and far between at Old Trafford as United drew a blank for the second European game in a row, and they have not gone three without scoring since 2005-06.
Matters have improved on the domestic front since that defeat, with back-to-back wins over Everton and Bournemouth – the latter of which came courtesy of a stoppage-time goal on Saturday – lifting United to within four points of the Champions League places.
It could be a humbling week for the three-time kings of Europe, though, with this difficult visit to Turin being followed by arguably an even tougher assignment – an away derby against a rampant Manchester City side on Sunday.
The double-header has the potential to hand United an embarrassingly stark reminder that they are no longer the team to beat either domestically or abroad, but equally a good result in either for United could prove to be the catalyst for some much-needed momentum.
It is a tough ask for any club, but United have only lost four of their last 23 European matches heading into Wednesday’s game, while they have been beaten just once in their last 10 European outings on the road too.
Mourinho’s side have conceded just four goals in those last 10 European away games, which is in stark contrast to their defensive record in the Premier League, where they have kept only one clean sheet so far this season.
Juve may have only managed one goal at Old Trafford last month, but United will know that any mistakes at the back – which have occurred worryingly regularly – will be ruthlessly exposed by a team containing the Champions League’s all-time leading goalscorer.