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Report: Denis Zakaria, Alex Sandro hoping to return for Derby d’Italia next weekend

Sometimes international breaks can be useful.

Empoli FC v FC Juventus - Serie A Photo by Giuseppe Maffia/NurPhoto via Getty Images

As we arrive at the home stretch of the 2021-22 season, it appears as though Juventus’ crushing injury crisis that nearly saw an entire starting XI’s worth of players out is easing up quite a bit. There will be other injuries because that’s only natural after how much these players have done the last two years, but Max Allegri has a bit of a1 respite at least for the time being.

Because of that, we could see some much-needed depth arrive for said stretch run.

According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, two of the names from Juventus’ injury list are trying to make it back for the next time the Bianconeri take the field. Denis Zakaria and Alex Sandro — the latter who has had a pair of muscle injuries over the last six weeks — are both shooting to be ready for next Sunday night’s top four showdown in the Derby d’Italia against third-place Inter Milan.

Within Friday’s training recap on Juventus’ website, it was noted that both Zakaria and Alex Sandro — as well as Dusan Vlahovic, who returned from international with a slight knock to his ankle — underwent personalized training sessions away from the group. With still over a week to go before the showdown with Inter, how much longer it takes them to rejoin the group will obviously be the determining factor of how much they will be able to give Allegri in next Sunday’s derby.

Zakaria, the “other” big signing during Juventus’ wild end to the January transfer window, has been out since late February with a thigh injury he picked up in the 3-2 win over Empoli. At that time, Zakaria was said to be out three weeks, which meant he was always going to miss Juventus’ fateful Champions League Round of 16 second leg tie against Villarreal. It’s been nearly a month now — obviously with an international break taking up some of that time — and he’s just now returning to specialized training as he works his way back to full fitness.

Sandro has been forced to miss time again after coming back from a muscle injury earlier this month. In total, Sandro — who has also missed time in 2022 due to a positive COVID-19 test — has missed five games since the start of February. While Luca Pellegrini and Mattia De Sciglio have filled the void, we all know how Allegri likes to rely on his veterans in bigger and important games, and Sandro certainly fits that kind of bill no matter what form he’s in.