It hasn't been a great few years for football in Genoa, first with Sampdoria being relegated a couple of seasons ago, and now with Genoa themselves on the brink of going down. Fortunately Samp bounced back at the first time of asking, and have established themselves as a safe mid-table team under Delio Rossi, while Genoa's toils near the bottom have continued.
After they fired Gigi Delneri and brought in Davide Ballardini it seemed like they'd rectified their problems -- under the new coach the grifone went five games unbeaten. Unfortunately, they've now gone six games without a win. The ominous revivals of Siena and Palermo in recent weeks have left Genoa in the relegation zone, and wins are now urgently needed. Sadly there won't be any brotherly love from their stadium-sharing neighbours Sampdoria, who would love nothing more than completing a seasonal double over their biggest rivals, after they won 3-1 back in November.
This is a comparatively modern derby to most -- Genoa are the oldest club in Italy, though Sampdoria are one of Italy's most modern outfits -- but it won't be any less fierce than any other. The tight, boxy Luigi Ferraris means the atmosphere is always raucous, and Genoa's relegation troubles add some spice to what's already guaranteed to be an incredible game.
Genoa will be without defenders Cesare Bovo and Damiano Ferronetti, while Marco Rossi and Juraj Kucka are both in doubt. The latter pairing provides Ballardini with his biggest headache, as they have been two of the side's best performers this season -- and Rossi is the club captain. It's probably best Bovo sits this one out anyway -- he had the incredible misfortune of scoring an own goal in the reverse fixture.
Sampdoria, contrastingly, can rub their hands together in glee at their fit squad, with only bit-part striker Maxi López a doubt. They'll be hoping top scorer Mauro Icardi can get back on form after scoring only once in his last seven games -- he settled Samp nerves with the third goal the last time these sides met, and scoring again would doubtless render him an instant cult hero.
Genoa Injuries and Suspensions
Out: Cesare Bovo and Damiano Ferronetti (injured) In doubt: Marco Rossi and Juraj Kucka
Sampdoria Injuries and Suspensions
Out: None In doubt: Maxi López
Match Date/Time: Sunday 14th April 2013 3 p.m. local, 9 a.m. E.T.
Venue: Stadio Luigi Ferraris, Genoa, Italy
TV: Sky Calcio 2 (Italy) RAI Internazionale (U.S.)