When Juventus entertain AC Milan at the Allianz Stadium on Saturday night in Serie A, it will have been eight years almost to the day that the Rossoneri last tasted victory over the Old Lady in Turin, and the timing could not be better to end that drought.
Therefore, it is somewhat fitting that the solitary goalscorer on that chilly early-spring evening back in 2011, is now leading Milan’s charge back to former glories, coach Gennaro Gattuso.
The world of Italian football has changed significantly since that win for the Rossoneri. Crowned champions a few months later, the Italian giants have not won a single major trophy – discounting the Supercoppa Italiana – and disrupted by changes in ownership (twice!).
A two-time Scudetto and Champions League winner, the former midfielder will be only too aware of the willingness, consciously or unconsciously, Juventus players will have to ease themselves through the last few weeks of the campaign, particularly with an 18-point gap at the summit.
With the Bianconeri also looking to address 23 years of failing to be crowned European champions once more and facing Real Madrid conquerors Ajax in Amsterdam on Wednesday night.
Bookmakers will point to two defeats in three domestically for Milan, however, before that Gattuso had made his side almost unbeatable and were previously undefeated since Christmas.
The question is which team does Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri decide to send out in Turin? Before their Champions League last 16 tie with Atletico Madrid, although having to overturn a two-goal deficit, the tactician effectively sent out a shadow side against Udinese.
That fixture was also held at the Allianz, however, supporters may not be as receptive should he choose to do so against one of their historic rivals, whereas, Allegri has his own past with the Milanese giants.
Coach during that final Serie A triumph for the Diavolo, the 51-year-old can rightly feel aggrieved that he was too quickly disposed of in January 2014. Plenty of time has passed, though, and his primary concern will probably be on collecting unnecessary injuries.
While the likes of Moise Kean and Leonardo Spinazzola will relish more playing time, they will also be aware that they could play heroic roles in what is the Bianconeri’s only real challenge now this season.
If defensive duo Alessio Romagnoli and Mateo Musacchio, along with shield Tiemoue Bakayoko, can continue Milan’s relatively steadfast rearguard resolve, success may reside efforts at the opposite end of the pitch.
Even against a full-strength Juventus, Serie A breakout star Krzysztof Piatek would expect to add to his 20 goals this term and if Lucas Paqueta continues his impressive start in a Rossoneri shirt, they could well end their barren run.
Victory will be a huge boost for the sides Champions League qualification hopes and give Milanisti brief reason to crow, even if, the Old Lady just brush it off as a training exercise ahead of bigger challenges.