Geoffrey Kondogbia will put his brotherly friendship with Paul Pogba to one side as Inter look to compound Juventus’ stuttering start to the Serie A season with a Derby d’Italia win.
Roberto Mancini’s men started the 2015-16 campaign in fine fashion, winning their opening five fixtures, but collected just one point from their two games prior to the international break.
Inter have subsequently dropped to second in the table, although they still hold an eight-point lead over Juventus – and Kondogbia is keen to increase the gap at the weekend.
“This is a very important week for Inter. The match against Juventus is huge and we are fully focused on winning this one,” Kondogbia told reporters.
“We are determined to win this one, for the fans and for ourselves.
“The break was important for the team. We have used each training [session] to fully recover and now we have to be ready both physically and mentally.
“Pogba is like a brother to me, but that won’t count for anything on the pitch. We will be enemies for the full 90 minutes.”
Inter have little reason for optimism if their recent record against Juventus is anything to go by.
Juventus’ last Serie A defeat to Inter at San Siro came in April 2010 and the reigning champions are unbeaten in the last five league games against their arch-rivals.
It is not all good news for Massimiliano Allegri’s men, though.
Two wins and as many draws from their seven Serie A games this term, represents the worst start to a season for Juventus since 1980-81, with their bid for a fifth successive Scudetto already fading.
“I don’t think it’s the last chance for us,” midfielder Sami Khedira told Mediaset.
“There’s still a long way to go this season. We’re aware of our qualities, it will be a 50-50 encounter.
“If we get chances we have to take them, because there won’t be many opportunities to score.”
Inter striker Mauro Icardi has proven a thorn in Juventus’ side, scoring six goals against the Turin side since January 2013. No other player has scored more than three goals against the Bianconeri in the same period.
Yet there are also reasons for optimism for Allegri.
After an unimpressive start to the season, Juventus have won four out of their last six matches in all competitions, seeing them climb to 12th place in the Serie A table.
Alvaro Morata and Pogba are doubtful for Sunday’s encounter after picking up knocks while away on international duty, but could be match fit in time for the derby.
Stephan Lichtsteiner and Martin Caceres, however, have both been ruled out of the match at San Siro.
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