Champions Juventus tackle cup winners SS Lazio in the Italian Supercup today with new striker Carlos Tevez set to make his official debut.
Juve have made some significant signings in the close season, but only former Manchester City man Tevez is likely to be trusted in their first true test of the new campaign.
However, there will be no place for the Turin giants’ other marquee signing, Spain striker Fernando Llorente, who is apparently yet to adapt to the club’s style.
It has seen him already come in for criticism in the local press, although his teammates at least are sticking by the former Athletic Bilbao man.
“Calm down, he needs time to digest our style of soccer,” said Italy midfielder Claudio Marchisio when asked about Llorente’s struggles.
It means Tevez will likely partner inconsistent Montenegro forward Mirko Vucinic.
The Supercup, the traditional curtain-raiser to the season, is not being taken lightly by coach Antonio Conte, who has instilled a winners’ mentality in his team since taking over two years ago and leading them to back-to-back Serie A titles.
Conte has not forgotten the way his side were given a footballing lesson by Bayern Munich in last season’s Champions League quarter-finals.
The former Juve midfielder is eyeing success on the European as well as the domestic stage and dominating Serie A is not enough for Conte.
Nevertheless, as he looks to lead the team back to the summit of European soccer — they were last European champions in 1996 — Conte will be determined that his team starts the season as they mean to go on.
Fans can therefore expect a keenly contested encounter, not least because Lazio will be playing in their home stadium in Rome.
That in itself is a story as the match was originally scheduled to take place in Beijing, but Juve refused to go to China just a week before the new season began and a compromise was found by which Lazio will get home advantage in the Stadio Olimpico.
It will be a familiar-looking Lazio that takes to the field with veteran German striker Miroslav Klose ploughing a lone furrow up front while Brazil playmaker Hernanes tucks in behind him.
The only new face likely to line-up in coach Vladimir Petkovic’s team is Argentina midfielder Lucas Biglia, signed from Anderlecht in the close season.
One man Petkovic will not be able to call on is captain Stefano Mauri, currently serving a six-month ban for his role in the Calcioscommesse match-fixing scandal.