Bologna-Inter Preview: Nerazzurri return to happy hunting ground

Inter will be hoping to keep pace with Serie A’s top three by maintaining their fine record against Bologna on Sunday night.

Walter Mazzarri’s men are unbeaten in their last five league outings and are just three points behind third-placed Napoli.

Inter possess a better goal difference than Napoli, though, and will move ahead of the Partenopei in the table if they overcome Bologna and Rafa Benitez’s men lose at home to Parma.

The visitors will certainly be confident of taking all three points at the Renato Dall’Ara, where they have not tasted defeat since 2002.

Inter are also the top scorers in Serie A at present, having found the net 29 times in their first 12 games.

That tally appears set to increase against a Bologna side that possesses the second worst defence in the division, but Mazzarri’s outfit will have to cope without a number of first-team players.

Defender Andrea Ranocchia is suspended, while Walter Samuel (thigh) and Cristian Chivu (foot) are also miss out.

Striker Mauro Icardi is still recovering from a hernia operation, and he is joined on the sidelines by Diego Milito (thigh), while Zdravko Kuzmanovic (knee) is to be assessed.

Bologna have endured a dismal start to the season and sit just a point clear of the relegation zone in 16th place.

Stefano Pioli’s men have experienced a slight upturn in fortunes in recent times and earned consecutive wins over Livorno and Cagliari late last month.

A three-match unbeaten run was brought to an end by Atalanta prior to the international break but, although their home record against Inter is poor, the hosts can take heart from their 1-0 win at San Siro last season and 3-0 triumph the campaign before.

Pioli will be boosted by the return of goalkeeper Dejan Stojanovic and defender Cesare Natali, but Nicolo Cherubin (foot) and Henry Gimenez (nose) are still sidelined.

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