Draw specialists Juventus running out of steam
Two points clear at the top in early February when they had played a game less than their rivals, Juve have dropped two points behind leaders AC Milan and used up their match in hand when they drew 1-1 at Bologna on Wednesday.
Juventus will have to field a makeshift defence when they visit Genoa on Sunday with Giorgio Chiellini and Andrea Barzagli out of action through injury and Leonardo Bonucci suspended after his red card at Bologna.
Coach Antonio Conte, also dismissed in the second half of Wednesday's fiery encounter, now has to find another partner for Martin Caceres, who himself was playing in the centre defence for the first time this season on Wednesday.
Chilean midfielder Arturo Vidal appears to be the most likely contender, having occasionally filled the role at international level.
Juventus' biggest problems remain in attack where, despite his fourth goal of the season on Wednesday, the individualistic Mirko Vucinic has fallen well short of expectations since his 15 million euro move from AS Roma.
Marco Borriello has failed to hit the target in Serie A since he was signed on loan from the same club in January.
Conte, who overlooked leading scorer Alessandro Matri on Wednesday, still sees no reason to panic.
"We are on the right track and must continue like this," he said. "Borriello is a player with strong physique who helps us to hold the ball up and open up space in attack.
"We've been playing continually recently, so some squad rotation is necessary."
"I don't think we are dropping off the pace. I don't think it's right to talk about Juve losing momentum. We proved [against Bologna] we can count on great men. If there was a slowing down, then it was only in terms of results.
Genoa, 14th with 32 points, have drawn their last two games, 2-2 on both occasions, and are an unpredictable side.
They had successive 3-2 home wins over high-flying Lazio and Napoli but suffered a 1-0 loss to mid-table Chievo.
Juventus, who have 52 points from 26 games, are now only four clear of third-placed Lazio who have bounced back from their 5-1 mauling at Palermo two weeks ago with successive wins over Fiorentina and bitter rivals AS Roma.
Edoardo Reja's team host Bologna on Sunday as they attempt to close the gap on the leading pair and hold on to the Champions League qualifying spot.
Milan, Champions League quarter-finalists despite their 3-0 defeat at Arsenal on Tuesday, should be able to count on three points when they host relegation=threatened Lecce while troubled Inter Milan have an awkward match at Chievo.
Despite ending a run of five successive defeats in all competitions with a 2-2 draw against Catania last Sunday, Inter may only have earned underfire coach Claudio Ranieri a stay of execution.
France coach Laurent Blanc and former Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boast have linked with Ranieri's job in media repo