Juventus will presumably be without forward Mario Mandžukić when Bayern Munich arrive in Turin next month for the first leg of the Champions League round-of-16 fixtures. The Croatian forward was substituted in a Coppa Italia match against Inter Milan on Wednesday and subsequent scans have revealed a torn muscle in his hip. The anticipated recovery period for his injury is four weeks, meaning Mandžukić will most likely miss out on an opportunity to square up against many of his former teammates.
Mandžukić scored an impressive 48 goals in 88 appearances for Bayern, the most significant of which came in the 2013 Champions League Final against Borussia Dortmund. After a brief stint with Atlético Madrid, he moved to Juventus in the summer of 2015. Since joining the bianconeri, Mandžukić has found the back of the net nine times in 22 appearances, including two goals in three Champions League appearances.
For the first time in Mandžukić’s career, however, nagging injuries are threatening to become a major issue. He has already missed six matches since September which is one more than he missed in two full seasons with Bayern. Four weeks on the sidelines could disrupt the goal-scoring rhythm he developed in the final two months of 2015 when he finally hit his groove and tallied seven of his nine for the season.
Mandžukić permanently won the hearts of Bayern fans everywhere as a part of the first ever treble-winning Bundesliga team and few, if any, will enjoy seeing him out injured. Come February 23, however, there is one reason Bayern fans should be happy that Super Mario will not be in the lineup: Juventus have won all eight games in which Mandžukić has scored this season, and he can’t score if he doesn’t play.