Friday, 18 May 2007

Serie B Wk 39: Juve on the verge of promotion

While Juventus have another chance to book a place in Serie A this weekend, Genoa and Napoli look to further their promotion bids as the season enters the final run-in.

The game of the weekend will take place in tranquil Tuscany as Arezzo host Juventus. The Bianconeri know that a win over the struggling minnows would guarantee their return to the top flight next term, but they are unlikely to underestimate their gutsy opponents.

The last clash between the two sides was a nightmare before Christmas for Juve who shipped two goals in the last 10 minutes to draw 2-2. This time around Arezzo have won six of their last seven games and are on the verge of a stunning relegation escape.

Genoa make the long trip to Calabria to take on mediocre Bari but will be wary after the Galletti sank play-off chasing Rimini last weekend. The Grifoni lead Napoli in second by two points, but it may be that both sleeping giants join Juve in Serie A next season.

Napoli currently lead fourth-placed Mantova by 10 points, the exact total that would see them automatically promoted in place of a play-off tournament if it finished like this at the end of the season. The Azzurri entertain troubled Modena this weekend with a bumper crowd of over 50,000 expected at the Stadio San Paolo.

Behind Genoa and Napoli, five clubs - fighting for three play-off spots - will be hoping that the gap between them and third-place cuts down to nine points or less before the end of the season.

There are some key clashes in the race for the play-offs this Saturday and the big one is between two sides that are currently outside the play-off zone. Seventh-placed Bologna host Brescia, eighth, with both sides in dire need of a win to enter the top six.

Mantova, looking to put pressure on the top three, will host strugglers Verona, while fifth-placed Rimini travel to Spezia and sixth-placed Piacenza visit Cesena in an all Emilia-Romagna affair.

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