It’s one of the fiercest rivalries in not just Italian, but European football, and for the past few seasons, Juventus has grown accustomed to going into the Derby d’Italia as the overwhelming favorite.
That’s not the case with this Sunday’s clash at the San Siro. With just eight points in seven matches played, Juve sits 12th in the table and has only just begun to arrest its downward slide.
High-flying Internazionale, on the other hand, sits second, two points behind league leader Fiorentina, with 16 points. While this Serie A season is still young, the balance of power looks to have shifted from Turin back to the blue side of Milan.
But the formbook, as they say, goes out the window for derbies. So although Roberto Mancini’s Inter is off to a flying start, the former Manchester City boss will be all too aware that Inter has not beaten Juve at home since April of 2010, when Jose Mourinho was on the verge of guiding the Inter to its historic treble.
And while Juve is in the midst of its worst start since 1980, recent results have been encouraging: Back-to-back wins for the Bianconeri against Sevilla and Bologna have coincided with Inter dropping points in the league for the first time this season – in a 4-1 loss to Fiorentina and a 1-1 draw with Sampdoria.
Sunday’s match will carry the added spice of pitting two of the finest midfielders in Serie A against one another in Juve’s Paul Pogba and Inter’s Geoffrey Kondogbia.
Another player Mancini will be looking to will be Mauro Icardi. The Inter striker was netted six times in five previous matches against Juve – both for Inter and for Sampdoria. On the Juve side, the player to watch may be Sami Khedira. Juve’s uptick in form has coincided with the German World Cup winner’s return from injury.
Napoli vs. Fiorentina
Elsewhere, league leaders Fiorentina will face Napoli. Visiting side Fiorentina find themselves atop the Serie A standings for the first time since 1999.
La Viola have scored 11 goals in their last three matches and have been recently bolstered by the return of Giuseppe Rossi from his latest bout with injury.
The New Jersey-born Italian striker found the net in Fiorentina’s 4-0 win over Belenenses and will hope to continue his good form.
Meanwhile, home side Napoli will look to its potent forward line of Gonzalo Higuain, Lorenzo Insigne and Jose Callejon. Higuain and Insigne have both netted five times this season and are currently tied for second in the Serie A scoring charts behind Sampdoria’s Citadin Eder.
Watch Napoli vs. Fiorentina at 8:55am ET Sunday on beINSports;
Watch Internazionale Milano vs. Juventus at 2:40pm ET Sunday on beInSports.