Ever since Filippo Inzaghi was announced as Bologna Coach, there has been talk of the ‘Inzaghi derby’ against brother Simone. It wasn’t just fans and media either, with both men openly talking of their excitement to face each other across the bench.
When the fixtures were drawn the timing couldn’t have been more perfect - a Christmas meeting between the Inzaghi brothers on December 26. However, as Lazio visit Bologna this afternoon, there will be very little room for festive cheer.
Pippo was always the better player - or at least the more effective one - but he has been somewhat in Simone’s shadow since moving into coaching. A difficult spell at Milan perhaps came too soon for the legendary poacher, and he was forced to drop down to Serie C with Venezia to rebuild his reputation.
A promotion and a run to the Serie B play-offs did that effectively, and Bologna came calling in the summer. Filippo’s return to the top flight hasn’t gone as planned though, and defeat today could well see the axe fall before 2019.
The Rossoblu have won just two games all season, and start the day in the relegation zone. With a trip to Napoli to come on December 29, could well mean that record continues in to the winter break. If the Bologna board have a Coach with two wins to his name, and two weeks to make a change, Pippo may not survive.
Not that Simone can afford to do him any favours. Saturday’s win over Cagliari was Lazio’s first in seven in all competitions, and the Aquile are locked in a titanic tussle for the fourth and final Champions League place.
There are just four points between the Biancocelesti in fourth and hated rivals Roma in 10th, and all the teams in between can legitimately dream of a European excursion next season.
Simone has endured his most difficult season since being appointed as Lazio’s permanent Coach, and is struggling to get the best from his star men. Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and Luis Alberto were superb last season, but so far this term they’ve looked a shadow of the players we know they can be.
While the Lazio boss is under far less pressure than his brother, real questions are being asked of him for the first time. Simone has proven himself to be a promising tactician, something demonstrated by switching to a Christmas tree shape against Cagliari to great effect. If the Aquile lose to Bologna today though, the grumbles of the fans will only grow louder.
Pippo and Simone are very close, speaking to each other on the phone almost every day. Both successful Serie A strikers, they’d love nothing more than to repeat that trick on the bench.
Football is a brutal world though, and there can be no room for brotherly love this afternoon. Both Inzaghis need to win, and there could be severe consequences for the brother who doesn’t.