The Numbers Game: Inter out to avoid another Champions League hangover in Derby d'Italia

By Sports Desk March 17, 2023

Though neither has hope of winning the Scudetto this season, history will be made at San Siro when Inter and Juventus meet in one of the Italian football's most famous fixtures.

Eighteen points behind Napoli, second-placed Inter are looking over their shoulders at those behind them in a tight fight for the Champions League places.

Had they not been deducted 15 points, Juve would be above Inter and firmly in that battle.

As it is, victory here is critical for Juve's slim chances of climbing into the top four — they are 10 points adrift of fourth-placed Milan — with both sides hoping the Rossoneri slip up at Udinese and Lazio and Roma play out a draw.

And, as Stats Perform explains in a look at the standout Opta numbers ahead of the Derby d'Italia, history is on the side of Juve keeping themselves in the hunt.

Juve dominance

Inter and Juve are set to face off for the 180th time in the top flight, making it the fixture with the most matches in Serie A history.

Juve have dominated this great rivalry, winning 86 matches compared to 48 for Inter, with 45 games finishing as a draw.

The hosts have long since struggled in this fixture when it has been played in the second half of the season. They are winless against Juve at home in Serie A in such games since April 2010.

On top of that, since winning the treble 13 years ago, Inter have prevailed in just two their 12 total home league games against the Bianconeri (D5 L5).

Key to improving that record may be Lautaro Martinez, who has scored four home goals in Serie A in 2023, a tally only Adrien Rabiot and Victor Osimhen can match.

However, the World Cup winner has only scored one goal in nine top-flight games against Juventus and has a goal average of one every 586 minutes against the Bianconeri: his worst in Serie A against any opponent versus whom he has found the net.

Bianconeri back at their best

From an Inter perspective, Juve head into this game in worryingly good form.

Indeed, the Bianconeri are playing at a level not far away from that of runaway leaders Napoli.

Only Napoli (23) have scored more goals than Juventus (20) in Serie A in 2023, while Partenopei are the sole team to have claimed more wins (9) than Massimiliano Allegri's side in this calendar year.

Perhaps of even more concern for Inter is the contrast in form between the two sides in the match immediately after a European contest.

Another Champions League hangover?

Inter got the job done in Porto in midweek and, through to a quarter-final with another Portuguese opponent in Benfica, can have hope of a first Champions League final appearance since their triumph in 2010.

But the Nerazzurri have struggled of late in games following Champions League tussles. Inter have lost three of their last six Serie A matches after their Champions League games, including their last two (against Bologna and Juventus in the reverse match).

Juve are competing in the Europa League after failing to make it out of the Champions League group stage, but they have won each of their last such six league games after Continental encounters.

If Juve repeat the feat from the reverse fixture and defeat Inter without conceding, it will mark the first time they have won both games in this fixture to nil since the 1976-77 season.

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