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Match Preview: Inter Milan vs. Milan - Serie A Week 31

Inter Milan and Milan found themselves at mid-table in a very difficult season as they are ready to face off in the Derby della Madonnina.

Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

Match Facts:

Date: Sunday, April 19, 2015

Time: 2.45pm ET/ 20.45 CET

Venue: Stadio Giuseppe Meazza; Milan, Italy

Il Derby della Madonnina. Why this name? Easy, because of the statue of the Virgin Mary on the top of the Duomo, which is often called Madonnina (literally "Little Madonna").

This is not just a game and it never will. These two teams have won a combined 36 Scudetti, 10 Champions League/European Champion Clubs' Cup, 3 Europa League/UEFA Cup and much more, so they are undoubtedly two of the most historical and successful Italian clubs. For both, playing in the same stadium, the place they call home, has always added extra spice to an already tasty game.

The epic clashes of the past are now just a far memory, the times when Zanetti and Maldini, two real football legends, were captains, the times when there were Van Basten and Klinsmann on the same field. All gone. Both clubs are going through periods of struggle and rebuilding and the quality of the players may be at their lowest point.

Here I give you some enjoyable moments of a Derby from 2009. Maicon was such a beast at the time and Sneijder arrived just a few days prior the match, but Mourinho decided to start him nonetheless.

The two Milanese teams have played a lot of official matches against each other: 213 if we count all competitions and 161 "only" in the Serie A. Overall Inter has been the most successful team, winning 76 times, while Milan has won two less than the Nerazzurri, 74. In the Serie A Inter's success is more pronounced having won 60 matches against Milan's 51.

For the Nerazzurri is a great chance to relaunch themselves for the 6th place run and a win would also do a lot for the team's confidence, calming down the discontent of the supporters for the bad season so far. The 3-0 win against Verona surely is a sign that our team is capable of being a good team, but winning more games in a row is something our team has lacked all season long, Inter currently is 10th in the league with 41 points, one point behind Milan, and Sampdoria, which currently has the last place that would qualify us for the Europa League next season, has 49 points. The desperate need of three points will add something more to an already significant match.

Guarin and Brozovic will miss Sunday's match because they picked up the disqualifying yellow against Verona last week and Mancini will have a very hard time finding the best replacements for them at midfield. It seems our coach is willing to give the youngster Gnoukori a chance to show his talent instead of giving playing time to Kovacic, who has failed to impress since the arrive of Mancio on the bench. Hernanes will be the other chosen to help Medel in the middle of the pitch while Shaqiri will play against Milan after the exclusion from the starting XI against Verona and this is what Mancini had to say about him previewing this match:

It's quite normal that someone who's new to a league might have a slight dip in form. The players we signed in January will be important next season.

As center-backs Ranocchia and Vidic have shown to play quite well together, while Juan Jesus has played more as a left-back recently and he should keep that role for this match too. On the other wing D'Ambrosio should be preferred to the recovering Santon.

As important as this game is I would take a win, no matter how we play or how we score, a goal like Adriano's one back in 2009 would be very well-accepted.

Projected Starting XIs

Inter: Handanovic; D'Ambrosio, Ranocchia, Vidic, Juan Jesus; Medel, Gnoukori, Hernanes; Shaqiri; Palacio, Icardi;

Milan: Diego Lopez; Abate, Mexes, Paletta, Antonelli; Poli De Jong, Van Ginkel; Honda, Menez, Bonaventura;