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Inter-Milan: Teams on different paths leading to Derby

Nerazzurri in a different place than before game was originally scheduled.

FC Internazionale v Hellas Verona FC - Serie A
Head coach of Inter Luciano Spalletti during the serie A match between FC Internazionale and Hellas Verona FC at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on March 31, 2018 in Milan, Italy.
Photo by Maurizio Lagana/Getty Images

The midweek Derby della Madonnina has a ton of implications, not the least of which is bragging rights in Milan.

But, taking a look at where these teams were before Wednesday’s match was supposed to play to where they are now, you can see a difference.

Take for example Inter.

Just before the early March game, the Nerazzurri were struggling to say the least. A nearly disastrous end to 2017 mixed with a complacent start to the new year saw Inter drop from near the top of the table to out of Champions League placement.

FC Internazionale v Hellas Verona FC - Serie A
Has Mauro Icardi found the form that made him one of the most potent goal-scorers in the beginning of the season?
Photo by Maurizio Lagana/Getty Images

December saw defeats at the hands of Sassuolo and Udinese following a 16-game unbeaten run that found Inter in good spirits and thinking of Europe next season. But, after a Coppa Italia in over Pordenone, the Nerazzurri fell on hard times.

A loss to Milan in the Coppa quarters followed by ties with Lazio, Fiorentina, Roma, SPAL, Crotone and Napoli and a loss to Genoa saw Inter drop to below Champions League placement, despite wins over Benevento and Bologna.

In the midst of it all, Mauro Icardi and Ivan Perisic – and most of the Inter squad – forgot what the back of the opponent’s net looked like.

But, after the 0-0 draw with Napoli March 11, Luciano Spalletti retooled Inter. In their last two games, Inter has scored eight and the defense has held opponents scoreless – a perceived return to how Inter started the season.

On the other hand, you have Milan. In December, Milan was riding high with wins over Bologna, Hellas Verona twice, the Coppa win over Inter, Crotone, Cagliari, Lazio, SPAL, Sampdoria, Roma and Lazio.

But, since the Coppa semifinal win at Lazio, Milan have looked vulnerable. A pair of losses to Arsenal in the UEFA Europa League, a last-minute goal needed to beat lowly Chievo and the most recent loss to Juventus and seen the Rossoneri drop to sixth in Serie A, seven back of Lazio and eight back of Inter.

AC Milan v AC Chievo Verona - Serie A
Lucas Biglia of AC Milan will not play in Wednesday’s Derby della Madonnina due to suspension.
Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images

For the Derby della Madonnina, Milan will be without Lucas Biglia, who has been suspended after picking up his fifth booking of the season. Right backs Ignazio Abate and Andrea Conti are injured and their return to action is not yet known.

Additionally, strikers Patrick Crutone, Andre Silva and Nikola Kalinic have failed to impress with the trio scoring five of Milan’s last 13 goals dating back to the first leg of their Europa League round of 32 matchup with Ludogorets in mid-February.

But, what does all of this mean, you ask? Well, in the grand scheme of things, nothing. This is a derby game so you can basically throw out all the records, the trends and the analysis because this game is about pride.

Regardless of what we examine, this game has the potential to have a championship atmosphere because both teams definitely have something to play for besides just Milan bragging rights.

There is Europe.

Inter and Milan both want Champions League football next year and find themselves on the cusp of making that happen. The likelihood of both making the Champions League is pretty slim and the winner of this match could have a leg up to make that happen.

However, looking at the table, a win for Inter puts them in a much better position to qualify than a win for Milan does for their chances.

Nonetheless, this last Derby della Madonnina this season has the potential to be one of the more exciting in recent memory.

What do you think? Post your comments below!