Serie A, Week 29 preview and fixtures: European concentration could leave certain sides exposed

Marco Luzzani

It was a week of thrills and spills for Italy in European competition, but Serie A clubs must concentrate on the league if they don't want to fall down the table. At the bottom, Genoa need to be worried about Siena's recent strength.

Now that the dust has settled around Europe and the bodies have been removed from the battlefield, it's time to focus on Serie A again. That means Juventus can't be thinking ahead to Bayern Munich in April, and Milan can't dwell on their loss to Barcelona. Inter, however, might be forgiven for not being able to set aside their Europa League match, considering they went all out against Tottenham Hotspur for 120 minutes. As for Lazio, well, now that they've fallen to sixth in the league, maybe it's best if they just shoot for winning Europa rather than clawing their way back into Champions League qualification.

Ok, so maybe it's just Juve -- who didn't have a midweek match -- and Milan that need to focus their attention on the league. The Old Lady are looking to further extend their nine-point lead at the top of the table, while the rossoneri want to catch Napoli in second or, failing that, at least keep Fiorentina at bay.

So let's take a look at just what might transpire in Serie A:

Saturday, March 16

Catania v Udinese (6 p.m. local, 1 p.m. ET)

This might be the most evenly matched match of the week, with Catania in eighth and Udinese just a point behind. The elefanti will be smarting after Juve's goal in added time last week, giving them all three points. Catania still aren't ready to give up on their dream of Europe, so expect them to go all out against a zebrette side determined to grab a point.

Bologna v Juventus (8:45 p.m. local, 3:45 p.m. ET)

Bologna may be a mid-table side, but they've taken points from Roma, Lazio, Napoli and Fiorentina this season. Last week, they dominated against Inter and Alberto Gilardino's goal secured all three points for the rossoblu. Of course, Juve will likely get a last minute goal and win, just like last week, just like in the reverse back in October.

Sunday, March 17

all matches at 3 p.m. local, 10 a.m. ET unless otherwise noted

Siena v Cagliari (12:30 p.m. local, 7:30 a.m. ET)

Is this a relegation battle? Well, somehow Cagliari have managed to pull ten clear of the drop, so let's just call this match "Hope for the Robur." Yep, a win for Siena + anything less than three points for Genoa = Siena getting out of the relegation zone for the first time this season. Fingers crossed!

AC Milan v Palermo

Might as well just write that match report on Friday -- this one's written in the stars. Milan will take out their Champions League humiliation on Serie B-bound Palermo, then sit back to see if the standings have changed.

Fiorentina v Genoa

Did you watch the Viola run circles around Lazio last weekend? If so, you don't need us to tell you that Fiorentina are the team to watch in Serie A. Genoa will do their best to defend and grind out a point, but that strategy hasn't gone so well for teams visiting Florence this season.

Napoli v Atalanta

This should be a simple home victory for Napoli. But with Walter Mazzarri determined to tie weights to his teams ankles and drag them out of the top three, Marek Hamsik still traumatized from his mugging, and Edinson Cavani having misplaced his scoring boots, Atalanta could very likely do the double over the partenopei.

Pescara v Chievo Verona

I seriously hope the FIGC has decided to spare humanity and not have any cameras present at the Adriatico.

AS Roma v Parma (8:45 p.m. local, 3:45 p.m. ET)

After Parma's impressive, come from behind 4-1 victory over Torino last week, it's hard not to root for this scrappy side. I mean, Roberto Donadoni has Amauri scoring a hat-trick. And Nicola Sansone has the ability to single-footedly change a match. Combine that with Roma's complete inability to make it through a match without conceding -- even if they've improved at the scoring thing over the past few weeks -- and this one could be a thriller.

Sampdoria v Inter Milan (8:45 p.m. local, 3:45 p.m. ET)

Carpe diem, Samp. The nerazzurri players will be utterly exhausted after their antics on Thursday. Just set Mauro Icardi free and wait for the Inter defense to collapse.

Torino v Lazio (8:45 p.m. local, 3:45 p.m. ET)

Since Miroslav Klose got injured, Lazio have fallen from grace, with Vladimir Petkovic uncertain how to turn his team around. Torino, suddenly shedding goals like crazy, might not have to fret too much over these visitors: the biancocelesti have managed to score in just one of their last four league matches.

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