Berliner Tageblatt - Inter seeking Milan derby Serie A title delight

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Inter seeking Milan derby Serie A title delight
Inter seeking Milan derby Serie A title delight / Photo: © AFP

Inter seeking Milan derby Serie A title delight

Inter Milan can secure their 20th Serie A title on Monday by piling on more humiliation on AC Milan in one of the most hotly-anticipated city derbies in years.

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Milan derbies are always big events as two of Europe's grand old clubs do battle in one of the world's most recognisable and atmospheric stadiums.

But Monday night's clash has even more at stake than usual as Inter can ram their superiority down Milan's throats by claiming both local bragging rights and the Scudetto with five matches of the season to spare.

Regardless of what happens Inter should beat Milan to a 20th league crown as they have a near unassailable 14-point lead over their city rivals.

But a sixth straight derby victory would further highlight the football power shift in Italy's economic capital, where two teams who have been crowned European champions a combined 10 times are locked on 19 Serie A titles.

It would also be sweet revenge for Milan beating Inter to the 2022 Scudetto on the final day, when many observers agreed Simone Inzaghi had thrown away the chance to claim his first league title as a coach.

Inzaghi had been labelled a cup manager throughout his career.

However, after losing to Manchester City in last season's Champions League final his Inter team -- helped by some judicious moves in the summer transfer market -- have kicked on to become Italy's dominant team.

Inter will have a full squad available and a full week's rest in preparation for the derby while Milan will try to pull back a 1-0 deficit against Roma in the Europa League quarter-finals on Thursday night.

Also on Monday Bologna will continue their bid for a first ever appearance in the modern Champions League when they travel to Roma.

Seven-time Italian champions Bologna have only played one round in the old European Cup in the 1964, the same year they last won the Scudetto, but are fourth and have a great chance to reach Europe's top club competition.

With a top-five finish almost guaranteed to secure a spot in the Champions League Bologna are eight points ahead of sixth-placed Atalanta, who are at Monza on Sunday but also have a game in hand to play against Fiorentina.

If Thiago Motta succeeds in guiding his Bologna team to a Champions League spot it will be without his Scottish captain Lewis Ferguson, who will miss Euro 2024 with a knee ligament injury suffered last weekend.

Ferguson being out is a huge blow for Bologna as he was key to the running of their midfield.

Roma have done so well under Daniele De Rossi that on Thursday the club announced he would be staying on "for the forseeable future" after revitalising the capital club since taking over when Jose Mourinho was sacked in January.

Since De Rossi took charge Roma have only lost twice, against Inter and Brighton when their last-16 Europa League tie had already been put to bed in the first leg.

Player to watch: Rafael Leao

Assuming he isn't injured against Roma Leao will be Milan's key weapon as they try to delay Inter's title celebrations by a week.

The last time Milan beat Inter, back in September 2022 when the Rossoneri were still reigning champions, it was Leao who drove his team to victory in a thrilling 3-2 win, netting twice and setting up an Olivier Giroud strike.

How the Portugal winger and Theo Hernandez do down the left is always key to Milan's performances and after an inconsistent season Milan need their star man to step up and be counted.

Key stats

19 - Inter and Milan are locked on 19 Serie A titles.

14 - Inter lead Milan by 14 points.

Fixtures (times GMT)

Friday

Genoa v Lazio (1630), Cagliari v Juventus (1845)

Saturday

Empoli v Napoli (1600), Verona v Udinese (1845)

Sunday

Sassuolo v Lecce (1030), Torino v Frosinone (1300), Salernitana v Fiorentina (1600), Monza v Atalanta (1845)

Monday

Roma v Bologna (1630), AC Milan v Inter Milan (1845)

M.Odermatt--BTB