Ambitious Serie A champions Juventus will be looking to maintain their 100 percent start to the season in an away match at Genoa, which is the first of an impressive run of seven in 23 days.
Antonio Conte’s players are aiming for four trophies this season and while recently acquiring Denmark international Nicklas Bendtner, the Vecchia Signora have eyes for a striker with arguably more to offer.
Juventus’ trip to Genoa will be short, but next week they travel to Chelsea and then face AC Cheivo Verona, ACF Fiorentina and AS Roma, before hosting Shakhtar Donetsk in Europe and then league minnows AC Siena early next month.
It is no wonder the club’s director general, Beppe Moratto, is intent on bolstering a squad some observers feel has a real chance in Europe this season.
“If there’s one Italian side that can excel in the Champions League this season, it’s Juventus,” Gianluca Vialli, who won the trophy with Juve and also played with their group rivals Chelsea, told Tuttosport in midweek.
Spain international Fernando Llorente of Athletic Bilbao remains Juve’s main target, especially as Fiorentina have included an “anti-Juve” clause in the contract of their Montenegro international Stevan Jovetic.
“He [Jovetic] could be a very useful player for us, but it will be up to Fiorentina to decide his future,” Moratta said.
Whether Bendtner will get a chance for Juventus soon remains to be seen, although Moratta says the former Arsenal man has impressed Conte in training.
“The first judgement of Conte is very positive,” he added.
Juventus are one of only four teams — along with SSC Napoli, SS Lazio and UC Sampdoria — to have won their first two games of the season.
It means the other title favorites, AC Milan and Inter, need three points this weekend if they are to keep the pressure on the Turin giants.
Milan will be hoping striker Giampaolo Pazzini, who scored a hat-trick in a 3-1 win over Bologna two weeks ago, shakes off a knock he received in training on Thursday.
If Pazzini is given the all-clear, Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri could decide to give new signing Bojan Krcic, the Spanish international who arrived from Barcelona, a run-out with the Italy international.
A fitness test yesterday should have determined whether Allegri decides to risk Pazzini three days ahead of Milan’s Champions League group-stage opener against RSC Anderlecht.
Milan are already missing Robinho, Alexandre Pato, Riccardo Montolivo and Ignazio Abate, but the good news is that midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng is set to play with a newly fitted arm brace following surgery on a fractured hand bone last week.
San Siro rivals Inter make the short trip to Torino looking to make up for their stunning home defeat to a Francecso Totti-inspired Roma two weeks ago.
However, Inter coach Andrea Stramaccioni could be without Rodrigo Palacio after he picked up a knock playing for Argentina in midweek.
Antonio Cassano, who scored Inter’s goal in the 3-1 reverse to Roma, is expected to play in support of Argentina striker Diego Milito, with Dutchman Wesley Sneijder providing the service to the attacking duo.
Roma, who are fifth in the table, host Bologna at the Stadio Olimpico looking to replicate the performance which humbled Inter two weeks ago.
Bologna are one of seven teams, the others being Cagliari, Udinese, US Citta di Palermo, Delfino Pescara 1936, Atalanta BC and Siena, who have yet to win.