The Italian football season officially kicks off Sunday 12 September with a total of 20 teams in Serie A, compared with 18 last season. The promoted sides are Atalanta, Cagliari, Livorno, Fiorentina and Messina.

Last season's title winners, Milan, will have a struggle on its hands this season as its three most dangerous rivals Inter, Juventus and Roma, all have stronger teams.

In Rome the first fixture of the season is against newly promoted Fiorentina on Sunday 12 September. The city's team has a new coach Rudi Voller from Germany. The former German national team coach replaces Fabio Capello who has moved to Juventus with two Roma players French defender Zebina and Brazilian midfielder Emerson. As usual much will depend on the popular captain Francesco Totti who is now in his fifth season as head of the team.

Lazio, Rome's other team is still in financial difficulties and the departure of its coach Roberto Mancini, for Inter Milan and a lack of inspiring new players, has done nothing but dampen the mood of the team. Their new tactician Domenico Caso from Serie B side Foggia faces a litmus test as his side plays Sampdoria away on 12 September.