Preview: Juventus vs. Lecce – prediction, team news, lineups

Facing opponents still to secure Serie A safety, Juventus aim to end a five-game winless streak when they welcome Lecce to Turin on Wednesday.

While third-placed Juve stumbled again in Sunday’s draw with Bologna, their visitors from down south recorded a vital win at Via del Mare last time out, to move four points clear of the drop zone.

Having just crashed out in the Coppa Italia semi-finals – and after suffering three straight Serie A defeats – Juventus arrived at Bologna’s Stadio Dall’Ara in desperate need of a positive result to stop their rollercoaster season sliding off track, but once again they came up short.

Preview: Juventus vs. Lecce – prediction, team news, lineups

They had not lost to their Emilian hosts in 21 league matches ahead of the sides’ clash last weekend, but after falling behind to a first-half penalty and then seeing Arkadiusz Milik miss his own spot-kick in calamitous fashion, Juve were behind at the break.

Standing in for Dusan Vlahovic, who was struggling with an ankle injury and could only make a late cameo from the bench, Milik at least redeemed himself on the hour mark: slotting home following fine work from teenage substitute Samuel Iling – one of several young guns to break through this season.

Preview: Juventus vs. Lecce – prediction, team news, lineups

Bologna goalkeeper Lukasz Skorupski was also able to add a couple of sharp saves to his penalty stop, as Max Allegri’s men ultimately settled for a point – their last league victory came against lowly Hellas Verona right at the start of April.

Out of the Coppa, and with the Europa League their last hope of salvaging some silverware from a tumultuous campaign, Juve’s main aim is now to retain a top-four place in Serie A, but their recent travails mean that even seventh-placed Atalanta have drawn within five points with six games remaining.

Preview: Juventus vs. Lecce – prediction, team news, lineups

Both Milan clubs and Roma are also on the Bianconeri’s coat-tails, while the recent rescinding of a 15-point penalty could yet be re-imposed, so nothing is certain at the Allianz Stadium, as Allegri’s return to the club where he once enjoyed such success continues to go awry.

The embattled coach – who has drawn criticism for persistent tinkering with setups and personnel – now prepares his squad to meet opponents Juventus have lost to just four times in 33 meetings, so defeat cannot be countenanced.

Beaten by Nicolo Fagioli’s strike at Via del Mare in October’s reverse fixture, Lecce’s last win over Wednesday’s hosts came back in February 2011.

Though an overdue victory would be warmly welcomed this week, Marco Baroni’s current team eased the pressure to achieve such a feat by edging out Udinese last Friday, when Gabriel Strefezza’s spot-kick split the sides in Puglia.

Lecce’s first home win since January inched them further away from danger at the wrong end of the standings, and last year’s Serie B champions are close to securing a second straight top-flight campaign for next season.

Ending an eight-match winless run clearly aids the Giallorossi’s cause in that regard, but alongside a tough trip to Lazio, they must also tackle direct relegation rivals Spezia and Verona during their next four games.

Taking anything home from Turin, even given Juve’s current state, would be considered something of a bonus – particularly as they have scored just three times in their last nine matches and the Bianconeri generally give little away on home soil.