Union Berlin’s hope to qualify for the Round of 16 of the Champions League could end tonight with a loss to Napoli at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona in Matchday 4 of the competition.
Napoli’s Giacomo Raspadori’s 65th-minute goal stood the difference when these two sides met in the reverse fixture in October. The Partenopei started their Champions League campaign with a narrow win over Braga but followed it up with a 3-2 loss versus Real Madrid. They have garnered six points till now in the group stages and could virtually progress to the knockouts today with the three points.
Newly appointed manager Rudi Garcia has failed to make an eye-catching start to the season. The Neapolitans’ hope of defending the Scudetto is fading away as their competitors for the title are consistent sides in the league. Napoli are seven points short of leaders Inter in the Serie A table and they need to muster a positive line of results if they want to climb the positions.
Meanwhile, Union Berlin approach this match on the back of a 3-0 defeat to Eintracht Frankfurt. A brace from Omar Marmoush and a single from Nacho Ferri settled the three points in the visitors’ favour. With this loss, the German capital outfits suffered a twelfth straight defeat across all competitions.
Urs Fischer’s plans for this season are going nowhere as his side sit in the relegation playoff zone in the Bundesliga, just a point adrift of 18th-placed Koln. Union Berlin have failed to score a single point in the Champions League, conceding narrow losses each time halfway through the group stage.
Results from their last five matches across all competitions
W D W W L
L L L L L
Giacomo Raspadori will aim to repeat his performance from the away reverse tonight as he is set to deputize injured Victor Osimhen upfront.
Natan is set to return from suspension to the defence and may replace Leo Ostigard.
Matteo Politano and Khvicha Kvaratskelia will be on the attacking flanks.
As for Union Berlin, Josip Juranovic could return from a muscle injury tonight. David Datro Fofana is set to start after completing the full 90 minutes against Eintracht.
Rani Khedira should provide the right midfield impetus.
Napoli (4-3-3): Meret; Di Lorenzo, Natan, Rrahmani, Rui; Zielinski, Lobotka, Anguissa; Politano, Raspadori, Kvaratskhelia
Union Berlin (3-4-3): Ronnow; Bonucci, Leite, Knoche; Juranovic, Khedira, Laidouni, Gosens; Becker, Behrens, Fofana
Trambak Bhattacherjee | GIFN