For the 226th time since 1909, Inter Milan take on crosstown rivals AC Milan in the Derby Della Madonnina, one of the European game's most intense rivalry match-ups, perhaps equal to Spain's El Clasico. But Sunday's Milanese showdown at the San Siro will be more meaningful than many of the recent clashes in the derby, at least for Inter, who have a chance to regain the top of the Serie A table if they can win the match-up for the third straight time.
After a strong start to the 2019/2020 season under new manager Antonio Conte, a string of three consecutive 1-1 Serie A draws saw Inter sink as low as third place. Meanwhile, Juventus retook the top spot and appeared poised to pull away for their record ninth scudetto in a row. But the leaders suffered a shocking defeat to Hellas Verona on Saturday, 2-1. That means that Inter, just three points off the top, can regain first place with a derby win, thanks to a three-goal differential advantage over Juve.
Inter's win over Udinese Calcio last week snapped their dismal streak of draws, after Conte completed another highly active transfer window, completely revamping the team with five English Premier League stars joining the 18-time Italian champions. Two of those -- former Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Christian Eriksen, and longtime Manchester United winger Ashley Young -- appear likely to make their Milanese Derby debuts on Sunday, according to a Sempre Inter report.
The ESPN FC panel previews the monumental derby match-up in the video below.But AC Milan also brought in a game-changing player in the most recent transfer window -- and they paid nothing for him. The free transfer became possible when 36-year-old former AC Milan superstar Zlatan Ibrahimovic departed the Los Angeles Galaxy of the MLS to return to his old club and lead the Rossoneri on a seven-match unbeaten run.
The former Swedish international missed last weekend's draw to Hellas Verona with an illness, but according to a Daily Mail report, manager Stefano Pioli expects "Ibra" to have recovered well enough to play in the derby match.
A win in the rivalry clash would move AC Milan into a European slot on the Serie A table, just seven points off the fourth position currently held by Atalanta, a place that carries UEFA Champions League qualification.
Though AC Milan appear to have momentum -- and Ibrahimovic -- on their side, oddsmakers nonetheless see Inter, designated the home team at the shared San Siro stadium, as significant favorites. They have decimal odds of 1.83 to win, while the visiting side are installed as 4.20 underdogs to pick up the upset victory, according to odds published by Goal.com.
The Milan derby kicks off at 8:45 p.m. Central European Time at the San Siro, which converts to 2:45 p.m. EST, 11:45 a.m. in the United States, where the ESPN+ sports streaming service will carry the match.