Serie A Preview: Sampdoria host city rivals Genoa, Juve face Atalanta

Sampdoria host city rivals Genoa in Serie A this weekend with both sides hungry for victory to boost their European ambitions.

Rewards beyond local pride are on the line at the Luigi Ferraris this weekend as Sampdoria look to record their first Serie A double over city rivals Genoa since 2002-03.

Both sides have enjoyed an upturn in form generally this season and are well in the hunt for a European spot after recent seasons which have seen them mired in either mid-table obscurity or relegation dogfights.

Genoa currently sit ahead of Samp on goal difference and come into the derby on the  back of successive league wins, while Sinisa Mihajlovic's side have not won in four matches.

However, Sinisa Mihajlovic's side did win their first meeting - when they were the designated away team - this season 1-0, and the Serb will hope having the crowd in their favour can help turn their form around.

Victory would ensure either side keep the pressure on Lazio and Fiorentina, currently occupying the UEFA Europa League qualification places.

Fiorentina and Lazio respectively host two other sides in the top-five hunt – Torino and Palermo - in what looks to be an intriguing weekend for the top half.

Leaders Juventus enjoy a seven-point buffer at the top and will be expected to maintain that when they host Atalanta, perched precariously above the bottom three and on a run of nine-straight defeats to the Turin giants.

Second-placed Roma will hope their stuttering form does not continue at 16th-placed Verona, having drawn five of their seven league games in 2015.

Napoli have closed the gap to Roma in recent weeks but a 3-1 loss at Palermo dented their progress last weekend - Sassuolo are Monday's visitors to the San Paolo as Rafa Benitez's men look to get back on track.

Fallen giants Milan and Inter continue to try and turn around their miserable campaigns with clashes against sides in the bottom three, Cagliari and Cesena.

Elsewhere, beleaguered Parma will be glad to get back to action on the pitch against Udinese after another turbulent week saw reports of debt collectors moving in on the club to recover assets, while Chievo travel to Empoli.