By Panos Bletsos
A couple of decades ago Borussia Dortmund and Juventus crossed their swords in two European finals, with the Italians, inspired by the great Roby Baggio, winning the 1992-’93 UEFA Cup and the Germans claiming their one and only Champions League title to date four years later, thanks to a Kale Riedle double.
Fast forward to present day and it’s been a weekend of contrasting fortunes for two of the Old Continent’s greats : while Die Borussen surrendered their 31-game unbeaten streak in the Bundesliga to struggling Hamburg, La Vecchia Signora extended its own run without defeat in the Serie A to 43 matches once again relying on Fabio Quagliarella.
The often undervalued striker, who kicked off his career as a teenager with bitter city rivals Torino, proved his worth again as he followed up his late equaliser at Chelsea in the Champions League by bagging a brace as Juve beat Chievo 2-0 on Saturday night. Even without their suspended head coach Antonio Conte last season’s Italian champions have begun the new campaign on a high in three different competitions.
The most successful club in Italy won last season’s scudetto undefeated, although they had suffered an unprecedented low of 15 league losses in a single season as recently as in 2009-’10. Their unbeaten run started with a 2-2 draw at Napoli on the final match day of the 2010-’11 campionato and now the Turin giants are even hopeful of shattering Milan’s all-time Serie A record of 58 games without a loss dating back to the early ‘90s and the Marco van Basten era. And while they do have some way to go until then, the omens seem to favour them.
The Parma coincidence
It was May 26, 1991 when the Rossoneri drew blanks against Parma at the ‘Giuseppe Meazza’ and on March 21, 1993 it was Parma again which ended that Milan streak with a famous 1-0 away victory. The Bianconeri last lost a league game at the ‘Ennio Tardini’, going down by a single goal against the Gialloblù in May 2011 and guess who they will face in January, on the match day they could be poised to re-write the Serie A history books: that’s right, it will be Parma on the road!
Can they do it? Even though they still have to play every other major domestic opposition within the next four months, including Milan away in November, I say they can. Tell us what you think.
Panos Bletsos has been a contributing writer to Soccer 365 for the past year or so, but has spent nearly two decades covering the Beautiful Game for a number of media, including Goal.com. Based in Greece, he also served as a Euro 2012 TV commentator for the public broadcast corporation ERT. You can follow him on Twitter @PanosBletsos.
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