MILAN: When Massimiliano Allegri was sacked by AC Milan in January 2014, few could have predicted that a year later he would be on the brink of steering Juventus to treble success.
Italian football authorities themselves had little faith in that happening, scheduling the Italian Cup final for a day after the Champions League showpiece — and having to hastily rearrange after Juventus triumphed at Real Madrid last week.
But, having wrapped up the Serie A title with four matches remaining, Allegri could pick up his second trophy against Lazio on Wednesday in the cup, before targeting the final piece of the puzzle against Barcelona in Berlin on June 6.
Allegri had the luxury of resting many of his star players at Inter Milan on Saturday and the second-string Juventus side still won 2-1 against the only Italian team to have won the treble — under Jose Mourinho in 2010.
"The match proved that Juve's great season, on all three fronts, is down to the entire squad," goalscorer Claudio Marchisio said. "We have to remain focused, even though we have already reached our aim in the league. We have to try to keep up the tempo with a view to the two finals."
Here are some thing's to know about Wednesday's match at Rome's Stadio Olimpico:
Juventus may be aiming to win a record 10th Italian Cup but it has a weak record of late in the competition and will be looking to end a 20-year drought.
The Bianconeri last lifted the cup in 1995, beating Parma to clinch the double. It missed out on a treble after losing the UEFA Cup final — to Parma.
Since then it has lost in the final three times.
In the intervening years Lazio has won five times, including a victory over Juventus in 2004. Indeed Lazio has proved almost unbeatable in the showpiece event, winning on six of the seven occasions it has reached the final.
The only final Lazio lost was in 1961.
This could be the week that leaves Lazio celebrating all summer — or it could leave the fans dreaming of what might have been.
Days after the Italian Cup final, Lazio faces fierce rival Roma in an eagerly anticipated derby match which is a direct fight for second place in Serie A. Lazio is a point behind Roma, with two rounds remaining.
"Now we're closing for a bit the league chapter and opening that of the Italian Cup final," Lazio coach Stefano Pioli said. "We have to have the perfect match if we want to have a chance of victory."
Alvaro Morata is very much Juve's man of the moment, but will be missing from the cup final.
The Spaniard scored in both legs against Real Madrid to send Juventus through to the Champions League final — at the expense of his former club — and netted a late winner in Saturday's 2-1 victory at Inter Milan.
Morata futher endeared himself to fans with an unusual celebration — putting on a pair of sunglasses and striking a 'deal with it' pose.
However, Juve will have to do without him at the Stadio Olimpico on Wednesday, as Morata is suspended after being sent off against Fiorentina in the semifinal.
"I'm very disappointed not to be there, but it's always like that for me, I'm never happy when I don't play," Morata said. "I'm convinced, however, that my teammates will give it their all to win the cup. The team always wants to win, just like the boss tells us. It doesn't matter who plays."