The Dark Blues arrive in Rome ahead of Saturday's RBS 6 Nations clash on the back of two painful defeats to Ireland and England.
The Azzurri have also suffered losses to Wales and France in their opening pair of fixtures but will fancy their chances against Scott Johnson's confidence-stricken side.
However, Brunel - who has made three changes for the Stadio Olimpico encounter and names former Scotland Under-20 fly-half Tommy Allan at number 10 - says he only has to cast his mind back to last year's 34-10 defeat to know the Scots are still dangerous.
"Last year we conceded 34 points at Murrayfield, that's something we have to take into consideration," said Brunel.
"Recent results haven't been going Scotland's way, but they're one of the teams we seem to have most difficulty with.
"They have character and always play with determination. They will be tough opponents."
The Azzurri will be buoyed by the feats of Martin Castrogiovanni and Sergio Parisse as both stalwarts win their 104th caps, eclipsing the previous Italian record held by Andrea Lo Cicero.
Two of Brunel 's switches come in the back row, where Roberto Barbieri and Alessandro Zanni replace Mauro Bergamasco and Francesco Minto.
The other alteration to the team beaten heavily by France in Paris a fortnight ago comes on the wing, where Angelo Esposito returns in place of Tommaso Iannone.
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