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Genoa vs Lazio, Preview: A game of thirds

Third from bottom Genoa welcome third placed Lazio to the Port City.

Maurizio Lagana

Davide Ballardini comes face-to-face with one of his former clubs, as he plots Genoa's great escape from the relegation mire.

Ballardini, in his second stint in charge, is Genoa's third coach of the season. Not even Palermo have fired as many coaches...yet! A point away at Juventus (which snapped a two game losing streak) is an impressive start, but the Grifone are still two points from safety going into this weekend's games.

Lazio remain in third place despite suffering a shock 1-0 loss at home to Chievo Verona last weekend. Thanks to Genoa's heroics in Turin, the Eagles only trail Juventus by six points.

The Biancocelesti bounced back from their first loss in 16 competitive games by defeating Juventus to reach the Coppa Italia Final on Tuesday.

Miroslav Klose returned from a thigh injury in midweek and was only withdrawn early as a precaution. Meanwhile, Hernanes' nasty head injury suffered during a clash with Luca Marrone will sideline the Brazilian for a month. Vladimir Petkovic will have to reshuffle his defence with first choice duo Andre Dias and Giuseppe Biava both suspended. Lorik Cana and Michael Ciani are expected to deputise.

The Transfer window didn't bring in as many new signings as Petkovic would have hoped, with Sporting Lisbon's right sided player Bruno Pereirinha being the only major arrival. That being said, a lot of the fringe players sans Mauro Zarate and Modibo Diakite were shipped out. Brazilian midfielder Matuzalem was one of the players that joined Genoa and could face his former club on Sunday.

Genoa's go to guy is Marco Borriello. The former Roma man came off the bench last weekend to net the equaliser and also got the only goal when these two sides met in Week 4. That defeat was Lazio's first of the season. Genoa have won the last three meetings between the two teams and will be confident of adding another victory considering Lazio's defensive absentees.

Genoa injuries and suspensions

Out: Juan Vargas, Bosko Jankovic (in doubt) Luca Antonelli (suspended)

Lazio injuries and suspensions

Out: Ederson, Hernanes (injured) Andre Dias, Giuseppe Biava (suspended)

Match Date/Time: Sunday 3rd February 2013 3:00 p.m. local, 9:00 a.m. ET

Venue: Stadio Luigi Ferraris, Genoa, Italy

TV: Sky Calcio 2 (Italy) RAI Internazionale, beIN Sport (U.S)