Juventus will take the advantage to Germany in their UEFA Europa League (UEL) round-of-16 tie with SC Freiburg, after a fourth goal in two games for Ángel Di María ensured they ran out 1-0 first-leg victors at Allianz Stadium.
Flying high in both domestic and continental football this season, it was a new proposition for Freiburg as they found themselves at this stage of a European competition for the first time ever.
Also their maiden competitive match-up with an Italian team, it was a daunting task against a Juventus side with a point to prove, and Die Breisgauer struggled for a foothold in a feisty first half.
A couple of well-struck free-kicks followed, but the Freiburg stopper was once again unerring.
The visitors failed to forge any chances, but having previously conceded just three UEL goals this campaign, defence was a different story.
Juventus needed an injection of inspiration in the second half, and they were finally able to breach the Freiburg rearguard as their individual quality shone through.
For all of Juve’s dominance, Freiburg had the ball in the back of the net with their first attempt on target, but Lucas Höler’s pinpoint on-the-turn finish was chalked off after the referee judged that Ginter had handled it in the build-up.
The visitors were unable to get themselves back into the game, and aside from a wayward Vincenzo Grifo free-kick, created no further attempts.
They will, however, take confidence from the fact that they travel home for the return leg, for a chance at the quarter-finals.