The new season in Italy is finally upon us, and it is last term's Coppa Italia finalists who will once more take centre stage, with the Scudetto holders keen to exert revenge
Lucio, Barzagli, Bonucci
L'steiner, Vidal, Pirlo, Marchisio, De Ceglie
Campagnaro, Cannavaro, Aronica
Maggio, Hamsik, Inler, Behrami, Zuniga
Juventus are likely to name a full-strength XI for their trip to the National Stadium in Beijing, where they will contest the 2012-13 Supercoppa Italiana against Napoli.
Several changes are in the pipeline from the 2-0 friendly success over Malaga, with Luca Marrone, Simone Padoin, Kwadwo Asamoah and Sebastian Giovinco ready to be dropped in favour of Andrea Barzagli, Leonardo Bonucci, Paolo De Ceglie and Mirko Vucinic.
And despite being implicated in the Scommessopoli match-fixing scandal, Simone Pepe and Leonardo Bonucci are both eligible to feature in the China showpiece. The pair originally seemed destined to miss out, but their names have since been cleared.
However, Antonio Conte's 10-month ban from football, along with assistant Angelo Alessio, the departure of first-team coach Cristian Stellini, means it is presently uncertain as to who will take charge of the side in Asia.
Meanwhile for Napoli, numerous alterations are also to be expected. The side may have eased to a 2-0 win over Bordeaux in their last pre-season outing, but coach Walter Mazzarri will be in no mood to experiment come the weekend.
Consequently, Federico Fernandez, Walter Gargano, Blerim Dzemaili, Andrea Dossena and Eduardo Vargas should all be replaced by Paolo Cannavaro, Gokhan Inler, Marek Hamsik, Juan Zuniga and Edinson Cavani, the latter of whom returns from an unsuccessful Olympics campaign.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Juventus went the entire 2011-12 Serie A campaign unbeaten, before eventually lifting the title.
- Despite being one of the more successful sides to have won the fixture, the Old Lady last lifted the trophy in 2003.
- However, their recent record over the Partenopei is poor, with only two victories in their last eight.
- Napoli hold the upper hand over these two teams, having won their last meeting 2-0 in last season's Coppa Italia final.
- Marek Hamsik has scored five goals against Juventus; more than against any other club.
- Their only appearance in the Supercoppa was in 1990 - a resounding 5-1 success over Juventus.
- Both sides have enjoyed unbeaten pre-season campaigns, with Juve winning two of their three matches and Napoli maintaining a 100 per cent record.
- This will be the second time Beijing plays host to the Supercoppa, with at least two out of the next three curtain raisers to be played at the National Stadium.