This quarter-final tie promises to be a very interesting one as the Bianconeri will hope to improve their performance against the Lupi...Taking The Coppa Seriously
Technically Juventus still remain in with a chance of winning the Scudetto but realistically the Bianconeri are fighting for a place in the top four in Serie A. With 35 points from 21 matches, Juve are currently stationed in sixth place and are nine points behind leaders Milan.
Results have been tough to gain since the start of the new year as after back-to-back hammerings by Parma and Napoli in the league, Luigi Del Neri's side won against Catania and Bari in the Coppa Italia and Serie A respectively before drawing a blank against Sampdoria at Genoa at the weekend. The suspicion is that Juve's season has collapsed, that they would struggle ever for a top-six finish.
Which is why, perhaps, Del Neri is so focussed on winning the Italian Cup as a possible back-up. Winning the competition would guarantee them a place in the Europa League next season and would also keep their confidence and motivation level high. Speaking in the pre-match press conference on Wednesday, the 60-year-old enthused just that.
“For us the Coppa Italia is a big stimulus and we have the obligation to honour the Coppa Italia to the full, regardless what the future looks like," explained Del Neri. "The match against Roma is going to be important. I expect Roma to come out and be highly motivated.
"Matches against Roma are always very intense on the pitch in terms of the support from the crowd. Therefore I have to pick a top-level team to play against them. The players most in form will play, this is because we want to qualify and keep on fighting to win the Coppa Italia.”
Looking For More Adventure
Roma's league campaign took some time to take off but the Giallorossi are now placed in a great position to challenge for the Scudetto. Perched on third spot in the league standings, Claudio Ranieri's side have 38 points from 21 matches and are six points behind leaders Milan.
The former Italian champions will head into tonight's Coppa Italia tie against Juventus on the back of three competitive wins and a victory in Turin will see them win their seventh game in eight. In the Round of 16 the Lupi defeated city-rivals Lazio 2-1 in Rome and will take a shot at the semis by winning in Turin tonight.
Coach Ranieri knows that it will be a tough match and despite Juve's recent troubles believes that the Old Lady have the potential to win. He said on Wednesday, "Juventus are a big side, a big contender, both in the championship and in the TIM Cup.
"We’re playing away from home, it’s a shame that we’re not in front of our own fans, but we’ll do all we can to return victorious.
"Juventus at home always play good football. Their squad is strong and built to win. We need to be aware that it’ll be a very difficult game. I’m not worried, just respectful towards them."
Paolo De Ceglio, Fabio Quagliarella and Luca Toni remain injured but Vincenzo Iaquinta has returned to fitness. Felipe Melo is also available for selection.
Marco Storari will start in goal and Milos Krasic and Simone Pepe will be on the two flanks in the midfield. Alessandro Del Piero and Amauri will be the forwards upfront in a 4-4-2 system.
Talisman Francesco Totti remains suspended and Adriano is injured. Mirko Vucinic and Marco Borriello will be the two strikers upfront with Jeremy Menez expected to line up behind them as the creator-in-chief.