Serie A leaders Napoli are back in the Champions League as tonight, they will face Bundesliga side Eintracht Frankfurt away in the first leg of the last 16.
Luciano Spalletti’s team enter the knockout phase as the strongest outsider left in the competition for a variety of reasons.
One of them is that they’ve lost only three games in this season, one of which came in Coppa Italia’s last 16 when Luciano Spalletti played all his reserves against bottom-side Cremonese.
They were not unbeaten in the Champions League but they won their group over Liverpool, with Jurgen Klopp’s side demolished 4-1 at the Maradona Stadium, and they’ve scored 20 goals in total – more than any other team during the group stage.
If that’s not enough, they’re on a hot streak as they won the last seven Serie A games, scoring 19 goals and conceding just two and they have a 15-points different between themselves and second placed Inter.
Victor Osimhen and Khvicha Kvaratskhelia scored one goal each against Sassuolo on Friday night and they are dominating with 28 goals combined. They’ve scored the same amount of league goals of PSG’s Mbappé and Neymar.
All these stats make Napoli the clear favourite for this match-up but it won’t be a walk in the park for the Partenopei.
Eintracht Frankfurt know how to deal with top dogs in Europe as last season, they eliminated Barcelona on their route to win the Europa League.
Furthermore, since Austrian coach Oliver Glasner was hired, Eintracht have only lost two of their 19 matches in the Europa League and Champions League and just one of their nine home games in European competitions.
Results from their last five matches in all competitions:
W L W W D
W W W W W
Victor Osimhen is fully fit. The Nigerian was subbed off against Sassuolo on Friday night due to muscle fatigue but he always trained with the squad since then and during yesterday’s press conference, Luciano Spalletti confirmed that he’s ready to play.
Mexican international Hirving Lozano is likely to start alongside him and Kvaratskhelia in the front three.
Two changes are expected in the line-up saw, with Mario Rui and Piotr Zielinski retaking their place from Mathias Olivera and Eljif Elmas.
Giacomo Raspadori is the only player missing for Napoli and it’s likely he’ll be back after the international break.
Eintracht’s captain Sebastian Rode made the squad despite illness but as confirmed by coach Oliver Glasner, he won’t start the match.
Eintracht Frankfurt (3-4-2-1): Trapp; Tuta, Hasebe, N’Dicka; Buta, Sow, Kamada, Max; Lindstrom, Gotze; Kolo Muani.
Napoli (4-3-3): Meret; Di Lorenzo, Rrahmani, Kim, Mario Rui; Anguissa, Lobotka, Zielinski; Lozano, Osimhen, Kvaratskhelia.
Andrea Agostinelli | GIFN