Seven-time Serie A winners Torino experienced somewhat of a renaissance last year, finishing in seventh position above the likes of giants Milan and Lazio in Serie A.
The Granata, who are managed by veteran tactician Giampiero Ventura, have carried that fine form into the 2014/15 campaign and currently remain very much in the hunt for a Europa League spot.
They have succeeded in beating the likes of Inter, Sampdoria and Napoli this season, courtesy of their never-say-die attitude and incredible team spirit.
But a different kind of challenge lies in wait for Ventura’s eighth-placed men this weekend when they square up with Derby della Mole rivals Juventus at the Stadio Olimpico in Turin.
It’ll be very much on the players’ minds to end a 20-year winless Serie A streak against the Bianconeri, a run which has also seen them taste defeat in each of the previous seven league meetings.
Here are three players - marauding wing-back Matteo Darmian, crafty midfielder Omar El Kaddouri and explosive striker Fabio Quagliarella – who will be looking to make the difference on Sunday afternoon.
Name: Matteo Darmian
Versatile defender Darmian – who can fill in at centre-back or on either flank – continues to earn rave reviews for his impressive performances in the Torino jersey.
The 25-year-old is now in his second season with the Turin-based outfit and after having caught the eye last year, he made his competitive debut for Italy in their 2-1 group stage win over England at the World Cup in Brazil.
Strong in the challenge and blessed with good crossing ability, Darmian likes to bomb up and down the wings, proving a constant nuisance for opposition defences.
The Milan youth graduate’s sole strike of the term came against basement boys Parma during a 1-0 triumph at the Stadio Olimpico back in October.
Name: Omar El Kaddouri
Position: Attacking midfielder
El Kaddouri is a silky number ten who acts as the crucial fulcrum between Torino’s midfield and attack.
Currently in his second season at the club on loan from Napoli, the 24-year-old has been likened to Bianconeri fan favourite Zinedine Zidane for his similar style of play.
The Moroccan international has chipped in with two strikes and three assists in 20 Serie A appearances, and returns to this weekend’s squad having served a domestic suspension.
Torino have won only one of the five games where El Kaddouri has been absent this term. Furthermore, the Granata score an average of 1.2 goals with him in the side and just 0.8 when he is missing.
Name: Fabio Quagliarella
Juventus alumnus Quagliarella rejoined Torino, the club who gave him his professional debut in football, at the start of the 2014/15 campaign.
During his four years with the Old Lady, the forward won three Serie A titles and two Italian Super Cups, contributing 23 strikes in the process.
Known for his spectacular shots from distance, the 32-year-old is also an expert finisher and carries an aerial threat from indirect set-pieces. The Bianconeri, who have conceded a league-high 27 per cent of the headers they have faced, will have to be wary of his presence in the area.
Azzurri international Quagliarella has hit exactly a third of Torino’s 36 Serie A goals this term and has also showed an unselfish streak by providing two assists for his team-mates.