Well, at least Juventus will find out if they can beat Sampdoria right off the bat.
Antonio Conte's men will open the 2013-14 Serie A campaign against the only team that Juve didn't record a win against last season, traveling to the Luigi Ferraris to face Delio Rossi's Samp squad on Aug. 25. It's the same place where Juve ended the 2012-13 campaign with a 3-2 loss to ensure Conte would have to wait a little while longer for his first win of his Juve coaching career against Sampdoria.
So much for the trend of beating Parma to open the year like has been the case the past couple of years, huh. Too bad. I was getting used to it.
But the tie against Sampdoria is what looks like a very interesting — and possibly very difficult — start for the two-time defending champs. Juventus finish up their trip to the Ferraris with Lazio coming to Turin and then Juve traveling to Milan to face Inter in the Derby d'Italia. And did I mention that Juventus' first derby of the season is just three days before their Champions League opener? Yeah, that's happening, too.
Rounding out the first six matches of the season will be Hellas Verona, Chievo, and the Derby della Mole against Torino at the Juventus Stadium in the final weekend of September. Awaiting Juve after the Turin derby? MIlan at home and then away to Fiorentina. That's one heck of a challenging stretch to open the season, even without the first half of the Champions League group stages being thrown into the mix.
Basically if Juve get through their opening 10 games in good shape, then things will be looking pretty darn good as they enter December and then the second half of the season after the holiday break. Or as Conte will probably say to his squad, "Bring it."