Inter Milan vs. Juventus preview: Nerazzurri after repeat victory

Claudio Villa

A heated derby d'Italia will be played out at the San Siro with Inter looking to rescue their Champions League hopes and also peg Juve's title charge back with a repeat of their November victory.

When these two sides met at the Juventus Stadium in November, the picture for Inter could hardly have been more different. The Nerazzuri had won their previous six league matches, powering themselves into contention right at the top of the table, their 3-1 victory over the reigning champions that night seemingly symbolising that Inter were putting their wilderness period of the previous two seasons firmly behind them.

Since that evening however, things haven't gone entirely to plan for Andrea Stramaccioni and Inter, their winning run broken in the next match against Atalanta and since then, inconsistent form and an ongoing injury crisis have hamstrung their efforts. They now sit fifth in the league, four points from Fiorentina above them and seven off Milan in the all-important third, meaning that a victory here is vital if they are to have any Champions League aspirations whatsoever. Not helping is the fact that they haven't been able to play since their away-goal loss to Tottenham on the 14th of March, owing to adverse weather conditions in Genoa cancelling their match against Sampdoria and then the subsequent international break.

Juventus were top of the table then as now, however their lead is in a much healthier state now, nine points over Napoli. The defeat at the hands of Inter brought the curtain down on a club record 49 match unbeaten league run, however it didn't symbolise the end of Juve's recent dominance. They have only lost three times in the league since then and have capitalised on the inability of their immediate rivals to take advantage of their slip-ups to extend their advantage. With such an advantage and only nine matches remaining in the season it is difficult to see past the Old Lady for a second consecutive title, especially given their uncanny ability to grind results out and the inconsistence of Napoli.

Juventus will be hungry for revenge for the November defeat and the end to their unbeaten run that came with it, and on current form there is no looking past them as favourites for the victory. Their sterling near-comeback against Tottenham in the Europa League notwithstanding, Inter's recent form has been extremely shaky leading to whisperings about the security of Stramaccioni's job and they will be looking for another confidence-boosting victory over their heated rivals. The lack of matches recently may be a blessing in disguise for Stramaccioni and Inter however as they were playing so poorly beforehand and the long break may have allowed them to forget just how dreadful they had been playing. They will be hindered by the international break however, as Fredy Guarin missed his flight back from Venezuela following Colombia's World Cup Qualifier there and key man Rodrigo Palacio played in the altitude of La Paz in midweek and could be fatigued as a result.

Inter still have an injury crisis on their hands, with no less than ten first-teamers either injured or doubtful for the match however the good news is that no new injuries were suffered in the international matches. Juventus have no such worries with Giorgio Chiellini in the frame for a return and only fringe men Martin Caceres, Nicklas Bendtner and Simone Pepe out.

Inter injuries and suspensions:

Out: Luca Castellazzi, Gaby Mudingayi, Joel Obi, Diego Milito (injured), Juan Jesus (suspended). In doubt: Ricky Alvarez, Zdravko Kuzmanovic, Dejan Stankovic, Yuto Nagatomo, Matias Silvestre.

Juventus injuries and suspensions:

Out: Nicklas Bendtner, Simone Pepe, Martin Caceres (injured). In doubt: Giorgio Chiellini.

Match Date/Time: Saturday 30th March 2013, 15:00 local, 09:00 E.T.

Venue: San Siro, Milan

TV: Sky Calcio 1 (Italy), beIN Sport, RAI Internazionale (USA)

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