Juventus was recently demoted to Serie B because of its involvement in the match-fixing scandal that recently shook Italian soccer. Can Juventus make it back to Serie A in just one year? Juventus was not just relegated to Serie B but also penalized with a 30 point deficit to start the season. In this article, I look at some numbers to see if it would be possible, in just one year, for Juventus to earn one of the 3 positions that lead back to Serie A.

First, I should explain which teams are promoted. Currently, there are 22 teams in Serie B. Each team will play a total of 42 games and the top 2 teams will automatically advance to Serie A. There is one more spot available for one of the teams that will finish in positions 3-6. These four teams will enter a playoff tournament to decide who gets the 3rd ticket to the big league.

Let’s look first at the number of points necessary for Juventus to advance by finishing in one of the two top positions. If a team wins all 42 of their games, then they can accumulate a total of 126 points (3 points for a win, 1 point for a draw and 0 points for a loss.) So, if Juventus wins all their games, then considering that they start with a 30 point handicap, they can get a maximum of 96 points. The next table shows the statistics for the 2nd team in Serie B for the last two seasons (the league had 24 teams in 2002/2003 season and 20 teams before that so a direct comparison would not be valid.)

Season 2nd place team Pts W D L
2005/2006 Catania 78 22 12 8
2004/2005 Empoli 74 19 17 6

So, Juventus needs on average 76 points or in other words they can only afford to drop about 20 points in 42 games (don’t forget the -30 points to start.) How many points do they need in order to place themselves into positions 3-6 so they get a chance to play for the 3rd spot? Let’s look at the data from the last two seasons.

Season 6th place team Pts W D L
2005/2006 Cesena 66 18 12 12
2004/2005 Ascoli 62 17 11 14

Juventus would need more than 64 points in order to finish in position 3-6. So, they can afford to lose about 32 points. Is it possible for Juventus to earn 76 or at least 64 points and hope to move quickly back to Serie A?

If Juventus was able to keep their Serie A squad together, then I do believe that they have a very good chance of coming back in just one year. However, relegation to Serie B was practically a financial disaster for them. It is very likely that they will have to sell some of their better players in order to survive economically. In fact, rumor has it that Fabio Cannavaro, Emerson and Gianluca Zambrotta might be moving to Real Madrid very soon. I am sure that others will follow. The loss of quality players will make it very difficult for Juventus to earn promotion this year. Even their new coach, Didier Deschamps, is not very optimistic about the outcome of this season. We must also remember that there are also Fiorentina and Lazio who were also demoted because of match-fixing but they were only given a 12 and 7 point deficit respectively. They will also be fighting for 2 of the 3 promotion spots and they are in a better position compared to Juventus considering that they will probably be able to keep most of their squads together.

It definitely looks like the odds are against Juventus and it is very likely that they will have to spend a number of years in Serie B while rebuilding both their team personnel and finances.

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