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Juventus 'energized' for Inter after holiday break

Looking to bounce back from Napoli loss, Juventus hosts Inter after Serie A's holiday break

German forward Lukas Podolski, second from left, shakes hands with supporters as he arrives at the Linate airport, Milan, Italy, Friday, Jan. 2, 2015....


German forward Lukas Podolski, second from left, shakes hands with supporters as he arrives at the Linate airport, Milan, Italy, Friday, Jan. 2, 2015....

ROME (AP) -- Juventus aims to bounce back from a loss to Napoli in the Italian Super Cup when it hosts Inter Milan on Tuesday as Serie A resumes with a full slate of matches after a holiday break.

Juventus holds a three-point lead over Roma and has lost only once in the Italian league -- to Genoa in October -- but struggled at times in a shootout loss to Napoli in Doha, Qatar, on Dec. 23.

"The squad is energized again after the vacation, which we needed after five months at high intensity," Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri said Monday. "It's going to be a difficult match with Inter as it's the first one of the year and that makes it dangerous. Just look at what happened yesterday to Real Madrid with Valencia."

In other matches, Roma visits mid-table Udinese, Napoli looks to build on the Juve win at struggling Cesena, and AC Milan hosts Sassuolo.


DERBY D'ITALIA: When Juventus and Inter play, it's called the derby d'Italia -- Italy's derby -- as it's a matchup between two of the clubs with the most fans in the country.

This season, it's also a matchup between two of the league's leading scorers: Carlos Tevez tops the scoring chart with 10 goals for Juventus, while Mauro Icardi is tied for second on the list with eight for Inter.

Inter is the only big Italian club that Tevez has not scored against since joining Juve last season. Fellow Argentine Icardi scored twice against Juve in a 2-1 win while with Sampdoria two years ago in the first match after the winter break.

"Inter has made progress recently and rediscovered its confidence. The team that pays more attention and is more focused will win," Allegri said. "It's not a physical or technical matter, it's a mental thing."


SCORING HELP: With Inter in 11th place, 18 points behind Juventus, new coach Roberto Mancini has been looking for a striker to share goal scoring duties with Icardi and he may have found his man in Lukas Podolski.

The 29-year-old forward has already joined Inter while finalizing a transfer from Arsenal. Having scored 47 goals in 121 appearances for Germany, he has the pedigree to satisfy Mancini.

"We needed two wingers and Podolski is one of them," Mancini said Monday. "He has a lot of experience and I hope he can give us a big hand."

Inter is also reportedly interested in signing Ezequiel Lavezzi from Paris Saint-Germain or Xherdan Shaqiri from Bayern Munich. Mancini indicated, however, that it would be difficult to sign either player.


JUVE'S NEEDS: Wesley Sneijder helped Inter win a treble of titles under Jose Mourinho in 2010 and is now being courted by Juventus.

"It's no secret that we're looking for a playmaker and a defender," Allegri said. "Sneijder has great technical qualities. He would help complete an area of midfield that is already very strong and that would create competition."

Sneijder currently plays for Galatasaray, already eliminated from the Champions League.

Juve is also looking for help in defense. Center back Andrea Barzagli has missed the entire season thus far following right foot surgery in July. The Italy international is slated to miss at least another month.


438 GOALS: Francesco Totti and Antonio Di Natale have scored a total of 438 goals between them in Serie A and will go head-to-head Tuesday in an attractive matchup of the league's two top active scorers.

The 38-year-old Totti is second all-time with 237 goals in 571 appearances and the 37-year-old Di Natale is seventh on the list with 201 in 404 matches.

Silvio Piola, who won the 1938 World Cup with Italy, has the record of 274 goals.

"We're fighting for the title and the difference with last year is that we have to win something," said Roma coach Rudi Garcia.


Andrew Dampf can be followed at

Updated : 2021-09-26 05:51 GMT+08:00