On Saturday night the Stadio Olympico once again hosts the Rome derby between Lazio and Roma.
Fabio Capello’s Roma have had the better of the encounters between the two teams this season despite being five places below Lazio in 9th.
Many predicted a difficult season for Lazio, due to the severe financial problems at the club, but young manager Roberto Mancini has competed well in Serie A and led his side to the quarter-finals of the UEFA Cup.
Whilst Mancini is still talking of the title, Lazio tifosi may be grateful for a Champions League place being secured during this transitional period.
Roma by contrast, have had a disappointing season by their standards but they are currently enjoying what could be the start of a run of good form.
Their league objective now is to push for a UEFA Cup place finish and points taken from Lazio on Saturday night would be gratefully received.
Although doubtful earlier in the week Roma’s captain Francesco Totti is expected to be fit and ready to face city rivals and Vincenzo Montella, who netted against Empoli last week, seems to be getting back amongst the goals.
Also returning to shore up Roma’s rearguard is Frenchman Jonatan Zebina, whilst Brazilian midfielder Emerson will look to concentrate on his recent run of good form, rather than his penchant for heavy tackling.
Sure to start up front for Lazio is Bernardo Corradi, who has drawn admiring glances from Milan, and will play alongside swift Argentine Claudio Lopez.
Giannichedda should provide some stability in midfield while the defence will have to do without Pancaro and Mihajlovic.
Playing on Sunday, Milan will look to re-ignite their Scudetto challenge as they play host to Chievo.
The Rossoneri are currently four points behind leaders Juventus while Chievo, who are challenging for a Champions League spot, will need a result to keep the pressure on Lazio a place ahead of them in fourth.
Title chasing teams are all in action over the weekend, Inter visiting Bologna, and Juventus travelling to Udinese, who remain unbeaten at home.
Elsewhere, relegation strugglers Empoli and Piacenza meet in what promises to be a crucial bottom of the table clash, whilst Torino entertain Reggina.
Other matches on the weekend’s fixture list are Atalanta at home to UEFA Cup place chasing Parma, Serie A new boys Modena at home to Perugia and 17th place Como versus Roberto Baggio’s Brescia.