Runaway leaders Juventus could wrap up the Serie A title this weekend if they overcome Lazio and Inter lose or draw at Atalanta.
With one eye on next week’s Champions League semi-final with Real Madrid, and given their their domestic supremacy, Juve coach Marcello Lippi may even be tempted to rest Alessandro del Piero, last week’s two-goal hero against Brescia.
Another player looking for a week off is Czech playmaker Pavel Nedved, who recently complained of fatigue.
“I’m not made of steel,” the Czech Republic international said after last week’s win over Brescia.
“I was dead tired. I didn’t have anything left to give.”
The 30-year-old pledged his career to Juve earlier in the week, saying he will retire when his present contract expires in 2006.
Juve’s opponents Lazio, have plenty to play for as they seek to secure the fourth Champions League spot. In fact, with Inter and Milan both faltering in recent weeks, Roberto Mancini’s team have an opportunity to finish second, which would guarantee them direct entry into the Champions League next season.
“We know it’s an important match for Juve,” Lazio said Lazio striker Simone Inzaghi said.
“But there’s no intention to roll over on our part.”
A win for Lazio, will further embellish the managerial CV of Mancini, who is now tipped to replace under-pressure Hector Cuper at Inter.
At the other end of the table, Torino could become the first team to be relegated to Serie B when they play Udinese in Reggio Emilia. Whatever the outcome, there will be an eerie atmosphere at the game, with Torino serving a five-match home stadium ban for violence committed by their supporters earlier in the season.
Atalanta v Inter
Lazio v Juventus
Parma v Bologna
Reggina v Roma