It's been more than a decade since we last saw the two Verona sides battling it out in Serie A. In fact, this Derby della Scala will be only the third in Serie A. If we include the duels in Serie B, the teams have 4 wins each, with 2 draws.
Hellas Verona come into this match positively buoyant, at least compared to their city rivals. Verona are having the best start to a Serie A season since that golden 1984/1985 season when Verona became champions of Italy. They are currently sixth, in front of giants of Italian football like Lazio and AC Milan. Hellas have a perfect record at home, with six wins in as many games, and it doesn't take a genius to conclude that they are the favorites this weekend.
Chievo Verona, on the other hand, are - literally -- in the worst possible position. They're last in the table, with only 6 points, 16 less than their local rivals.Hoping to rescue the season, the Flying Donkeys sent Giuseppe Sannino packing after he failed to beat Milan, and brought back Eugenio Corini, who kept them up last season.
Corini, despite saying that he wants his Chievo to play attack minded football, will probably not make too many changes to the way the Flying Donkeys are playing - after all, his Chievo didn't exactly play attacking football last time around. He is likely to use the same defensive (and let's face it, boring) 3-5-2, which often looks more like a 5-3-2, formation that Chievo have been using for awhile. And unlike his colleague on the other bench, Corini is missing a couple players, most notably the legendary Sergio Pellissier who is suspended Adrian Calello and Simone Bentivoglio are injured, but the latter may recover in time to make an appearance.
With all his players at his disposal, Andrea Mandorlini is likely to field his team in a 4-3-3 formation, with only one or two doubts about the starters Vangelis Moras and Alejandro González will battle for the spot next to the experienced Domenico Maietta. In the attack, veteran Luca Toni and rising Argentinian star Juan Iturbe have secured their spots in the starting eleven, so it's between Juanito Gomez, Raphael Martinho and Bosko Jankovic for the place on the left wing. All three have showed good form recently, but reports in the Italian media suggest that Mandorlini will opt for Martinho, who is quick and technically gifted, but also the most responsible of the three when it comes to the defensive part of the game.
The Verona derby is unlikely to surprise. Hellas will go for a win, as they always do at home, making the most of their quick players in the midfield and attack, who are capable of hitting the opponent on the break if given any space. The presence of Luca Toni gives Hellas another dimension - although not quick, his domination in the air provides big threat from set pieces, as well as flick ons for his teammates in the attack.
Chievo, on the other hand, will sit back and try to win a point, holding slight hope of doing something on the break. While they are last in the table and probably the most boring team in Europe, they still have capable and quick players up front. But, especially with Hellas's perfect home record, that is likely not enough for them to come away with a result.
Hellas Verona injuries and suspensions
Chievo Verona injuries and suspensions
Adrian Calello, Claiton (injured), Sergio Pellissier (suspended), Simone Bentivoglio (doubtful)
Projected line ups
Saturday, November 23 at 6:00 p.m. local, 12:00 p.m. ET
Stadio Marc'Antonio Bentegodi, Verona
beIN Sport Play, RAI Internazionale, beIN Sport (USA); Premium Calcio, Sky Supercalcio HD, Sky Calcio 1 (Italy)