Juventus are flying the flag for Italian football after dumping out reigning European champions, Real Madrid during the week with a 3-2 aggregate win to book their ticket to the final on 6 June in Berlin. Berlin is a historic venue for Italian football as it was the city of the national side’s last international success at the 2006 World Cup. The title and relegation zone are virtually sealed and it’s just left for the European qualification spots to be settled with 3 games remaining.
Inter v Juventus
Juventus are likely to rest a number of the starting 11 who held Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu to a 1-1 draw which sealed their place in the 2015 Champions League final. The Serie A title was confirmed a fortnight ago so they have no pressure to win their remaining games in the league although they will want to maintain some momentum for the Coppa Italia final and the Champions League final.
Inter Milan have an outside chance of breaking into the top 5 but will require results to go their way and beat Juventus on Saturday to stand any chance, something they haven’t done in 5 attempts despite scoring against them on every occasion.
Maximilian Allegri will have been delighted at his side’s performance to hold off Real Madrid and the defensive performances of Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci could see the Italian centre backs rested. Andrea Pirlo and Paul Pogba are also likely to be dropped to the substitute’s bench whilst Carlos Tevez could be replaced by Fernando Llorente.
Roberto Mancini has had his injury troubles since taking over but they’re in very good form at the moment. A Hernanes brace against his old club Lazio, sealed a 2-1 victory but it came at a hefty price as Freddy Guarin suffered a hamstring injury which will keep him side lined for the season.
Sampdoria v Lazio
Lazio have it all to do after losing to Inter Milan last weekend. Fortunately for them they face Sampdoria who they enjoy playing against in recent times. They’ve won 5 out of the last 6 meetings and will need to continue that good run if they’re to jump above Roma into runners up spot who despite Lazio’s defeat, failed to capitalise after a 2-1 defeat to AC Milan.
Lazio have Roma and Napoli left to play this season and will need to be at their best to remain in the Champions League positions. Sampdoria have European aspirations of their own and put a halt to their slide in form with a convincing 4-1 demolition of Udinese on their travels. It puts them back in the hunt for a Europa League spot as they sit just 1 place and 1 point off Fiorentina.
Lazio’s Mauricio was handed a straight red card against Inter which turned the game on its head as they were 1-0 up at the time of his dismissal. To make matters worse, Lazio were reduced to 9 men when goalkeeper Federico Marchetti received his marching orders and sub goalkeeper Etrit Berisha saved the resulting penalty and will step in for Marchetti. Stefan De Vrij is close to returning from a month long injury but it still looks too soon for Senad Lulic or Lorik Cana to return.
Sampdoria have 3 players returning from suspension, Pedro Obiang, Lorenzo De Silvestri and Alessio Romagnoli all return but they’ll have their work cut out to get back in the starting XI after their impressive performance against Udinese.
Roma v Udinese
Rudi Garcia’s side had the opportunity to increase the gap on 3rd placed Lazio against AC Milan at the San Siro but they fell to a 2-1 defeat which thankfully for them was followed up by a home defeat for Lazio and kept them in 2nd. Roma will fancy their chances of beating a Udinese side that have nothing to play for and a side they’ve beat the last 3 occasions.
Gervinho came off through injury deep into the first half and the Ivorian looks set to miss the rest of the season through his hamstring injury. Juan Iturbe or Adem Ljajic will be desperate to feature on the wing in his absence. Francesco Totti scored just 3 minutes after coming on as a substitute through a penalty and could feature against Udinese who have a veteran amongst their ranks themselves.
Antonio Di Natale scored Udinese’s consolation against Sampdoria and will continue to lead the line for the visitors. Emmanuel Badu serves the last game of his suspension keeping him out but Allan Loureiro returns from his suspension.