Come April 27, Juventus and Inter will again figure in a Serie A clash
The Derby of Italy, as noted here last May, is always keenly awaited and strongly felt. The two clubs involved have officially faced off 234 times, with Juventus winning 106 matches and Inter Milan 71. A total of 57 matches, meanwhile, have ended in draws. These numbers show that Juventus has the clear advantage over Inter historically, though they don’t convey the intensity and passion that are always on full display when these regional rivals get together on the pitch.
Come April 27, Juventus and Inter will again figure in a Serie A clash, this time at San Siro in Milan. This match will likely be a mere formality for Juventus, which has all but clinched another league title. Juve has actually looked surprisingly vulnerable of late — a fact underscored by its recent loss to Genoa. However, the club does still have a double-digit — and virtually insurmountable — lead over its closest pursuers, Napoli and Inter. That means a slip up every now and then, even in the Derby, won’t hurt its chances of securing further Serie A glory.
Inter, on the other hand, is fighting for a top-four finish, which means automatic qualification to the UEFA Champions League group stage. This Derby match, therefore, will likely be more important to Inter than to Juventus. As of this writing, Juventus and Napolii look like locks to secure two of those top-four slots. That means Inter, AC Milan, Roma, Lazio, and Atalanta are battling it out for the final two spots. (Torino is on the outside looking in, and could potentially get in the mix if it finishes strong and the other clubs falter badly.) Thus, Inter has all the incentive in the world to play its best football and win enough matches in the home stretch to avoid falling out of the top four and into the UEFA Europa League.
This is essentially how the stage is set for the final Derby of Italy of this Serie A season. Juventus, in all likelihood, will have nothing to play for aside from bragging rights. Given the intensity of the rivalry though, that alone is certainly enough impetus for Cristiano Ronaldo and company to go for the win. As a result, Juve will likely be picked to win the upcoming match. Still, don’t expect Inter not to put up a fight. As pointed out earlier, Juventus has looked vulnerable, and appears to be slumping at the worst possible time. Among the recent results for the club are a 3-0 defeat to Atalanta in the Coppa Italia and a 3-3 draw against Parma in Serie A, to say nothing of the aforementioned loss to Genoa. It simply hasn’t been a good stretch for the league leader.
Clearly, Juventus is not unbeatable, and that could embolden Inter. Additionally, Juve could be without Cristiano Ronaldo, though it sounds as if his recent injury isn’t as severe as was initially feared. Likely of more significance to the upcoming Derby is that Inter also held its own relatively well in a 1-0 defeat to Juventus in Allianz Stadium last December, meaning the players know they can match up respectably with the soon-to-be Serie A champs, Ronaldo or no Ronaldo. Such circumstances point to another intense match, and that is certainly great for the fans.