MILAN, December 8 (Serie A) - AC Milan and Internazionale will be playing for more than bragging rights in this weekend's top Serie A game with the derby result also having serious repercussions in the race for the Scudetto.
Both teams go into Sunday's encounter full of confidence after their midweek Champions League results allowed them to claim the top spot in their respective groups.
Milan bounced back from last weekend's defeat at Chievo, which left them eight points behind Serie A leaders Juventus, with a 3-1 triumph against Schalke courtesy of Brazilian international Kaka.
'Now that we have beaten Schalke, I am certain that we can win the derby,' said Kaka, who struck twice on Tuesday.
Milan know only a win will do against the Nerazzurri, who drew 1-1 at Rangers on Wednesday but are just two points behind the Rossoneri in the league.
'If we win we will surpass Milan in the standings but the tournament is still very long,' said Inter coach Roberto Mancini.
A draw at the San Siro would only benefit Juve and Fiorentina, with Fabio Capello's league leaders looking to extend their advantage over both Milan outfits when they take on struggling Cagliari at the Delle Alpi Stadium.
The Bianconeri, who have only lost two encounters out of 20 this campaign, go into the clash inspired by their midweek 3-1 triumph at Rapid Vienna which saw them clinch top spot in Champions League Group A.
All eyes will be on an in-form Alessandro Del Piero, who is only one goal away from becoming Juve's all-time leading goalscorer having equalled the record 182 goals set by Bianconero legend Giampiero Boniperti on Wednesday night.
Fiorentina are looking to bounce back from last weekend's painful 2-1 slip against Juve and a victory against 19th-placed Treviso could see the Viola climb to second in the standings, provided the clash at the San Siro ends in a draw.
Livorno will be determined to defend fifth position when they entertain Lazio, who travel to Tuscany looking for their third consecutive victory.
The pressure will be on Palermo coach Gigi Del Neri when he returns to the Stadio Olimpico to meet former club Roma this weekend, with his team in desperate need of points having failed to record a victory in their last six games.
A triumph against Sampdoria could see Parma leave the relegation zone, provided Messina lose against Chievo.
A victory at the Artemio Franchi stadium would allow Siena to overtake Tuscan neighbours Empoli in the table when both teams come face to face on Sunday.
Serse Cosmi's Udinese will need to put their heartbreaking elimination from the Champions League behind them if they wish to avoid defeat against bottom-side Lecce.
They were moments away from a place in the last 16 until two late Barcelona goals condemned them to UEFA Cup football.
Finally, Ascoli are looking to return to winning ways after a two-month drought when they play host to Reggina.