Serie A Preview: Lazio hoping to overhaul Roma
Serie A resumes with a bang this weekend following the international break, with Lazio hoping to leapfrog city rivals Roma into second position in the league standings.
With international fixtures done and dusted, Lazio travel to third-bottom Cagliari on Saturday just a solitary point adrift of Roma, who kick-off round 29 at home to Napoli on the same day.
A run of five matches without a win saw Roma's grip on second spot loosen, although Rudi Garcia's men ended that streak when narrow 1-0 winners over Cesena before the break.
Lazio have been in contrasting form, winning six consecutive matches, scoring 14 goals and keeping five clean sheets in the process.
And with Juventus - 14 points clear atop the table ahead of hosting Empoli - on track for a fourth successive title, Lazio captain Stefano Mauri said ending the season as runners-up would be like winning the championship.
"Juventus right now are the stronger team, they've always had something more than everybody else," Mauri said.
"So coming second would doubtlessly have the flavour of a Scudetto."
Mauri added: "From the beginning of the season and in the moments of difficulty, we never discussed a final objective, we only looked to the team ahead of us and tried to reach them.
"Having Roma in front of us certainly provides us with an extra incentive. This rivalry is very strongly felt in the city."
Roma welcome fifth-placed Napoli to Stadio Olimpico missing injured forward Gervinho (hamstring), while iconic captain Francesco Totti is in doubt.
Napoli head to Rome out of form, having failed to win any of their last four league matches.
Sampdoria - fourth in the table - face fellow European hopefuls Fiorentina away from home and president Massimo Ferrero has asked for two goals from the visitors.
"How can we do in Florence? I always said you live in hope," Ferrero told Sky Sport Italia. "I want to go there and get two goals, just like we did at Roma."
Elsewhere on Saturday, Inter entertain embattled Parma bidding to end a four-game winless run as the San Siro club aim to qualify for Europe.
Inter are 10th in the standings - nine points adrift of the sixth and final European position, which will secure a spot in the UEFA Europa League.
Rivals Milan are away to Palermo, Udinese travel to Genoa and relegation-threatened Atalanta go head-to-head with Torino.
Hellas Verona tackle second-bottom Cesena, while Sassuolo play Chievo.