Serie A league leaders Napoli will be looking to seal their place in the Champions League quarter-finals when they welcome Eintracht Frankfurt to Diego Armando Maradona Stadium on Wednesday.
Goals on either side of half-time from Victor Osimhen and Giovanni Di Lorenzo saw the Italian giants extend their winning streak to an impressive six games in the reverse fixture at Deutsche Bank Park.
Since the comprehensive victory in Germany, Luciano Spalleti’s side have only faltered once in the subsequent three games, with a narrow 1-0 defeat at home to Lazio coming in between 2-0 wins over Empoli and Atalanta.
Second-half goals from Khvicha Kvaratshkelia and Amir Rrahmani were enough to down Gian Piero Gasperini’s side to establish an emphatic 18-point lead at the Serie A summit, keeping them within touching distance of the Scudetto glory.
However, with one foot in their first-ever Champions League quarter-final berth, it’s all systems go for Spalletti’s side, who will be keen to ensure there are no slip-ups in front of their own fans.
Having racked up 22 goals in the competition this season, returning to home turf should provide a confidence boost for the rampant Gli Azzurri, who are unbeaten in their last 11 Champions League home games (W8, D3), winning all three so far this term and scoring at least three goals each time.
Napoli may not be considered major contenders to secure Champions League glory. But with the domestic title all but secured, Spalletti will fancy his side’s chances of going all the way in Europe.
Unconvincing since their first-leg defeat in front of their own fans, Frankfurt have done precious little to suggest they have what it takes to deliver a shocking comeback at the home of the soon-to-be Italian champions.
A run of one loss and two draws in the Bundesliga has seen them slip to sixth in the standings, four points adrift of the top four and barely hanging on to the Europa Conference League spot.
The results may have been poor, but the performances from Oliver Glasner’s men will be more concerning to the club faithful who watched as Sebastian Rode rippled the net with their only shot on target in the uninspiring 1-1 draw with relegation-threatened VfB Stuttgart.
Needing to score at least two goals to salvage something from the tie, Frankfurt will be hoping to draw inspiration from their impressive away form in the competition, having scored in all three of their Champions League away matches (five goals), recording two wins and just one defeat across those games.
Spalletti’s side ran riot in the group stage before winning their first knockout fixture, so it is safe to say there is no shortage of confidence in the Napoli camp as they look to finalise safe passage to the quarter-finals.
Winning their last two meetings with German sides in all European competition signals the start of a revolution, having managed as many victories in their previous 12 such games (D3, L7). Their first-leg win was also their first-ever success over Frankfurt, having lost the other two meetings.
Having scored at least three goals in each of their home victories this term, Napoli could become the second Italian team to win four consecutive home games while scoring 3+ goals each time after AS Roma (between April-October 2018).
A slice of history is also within reach for either Osimhen or Di Lorenzo after scoring in the first leg, as no Napoli player has ever scored in both legs of a Champions League knockout stage tie.
Frankfurt have it all to do if they are to claw their way back into this tie. But history offers a positive omen for the Germans as their only previous away game against Napoli ended in a 1-0 win as far back as December 1994 in the UEFA Cup last-16.
The Europa League champions have lost just three of their last 20 matches in Europe while picking up ten wins, so all hope is not lost as they travel to accomplish a daunting task in Naples.
However, they will need a significantly improved performance to stand any chance, having recorded their fewest number of shots (5) while also facing their highest number of shots (18) in the first leg than they did in any of their seven Champions League games.
Napoli vs Eintracht Frankfurt Potential Line-ups
Napoli (4-3-3): Alex Meret; Giovanni Di Lorenzo, Min-Jae Kim, Amir Rrahmani, Mario Rui; Frank Anguissa, Stanislav Lobotka, Piotr Zielinski; Matteo Politano, Victor Osimhen, Khvicha Kvaratskhelia.
Eintracht Frankfurt (3-4-2-1): Kevin Trapp; Tuta, Makoto Hasebe, Evan Ndicka; Aurelio Buta, Djibril Sow, Sebastian Rode, Philipp Max; Daichi Kamada, Mario Gotze; Rafael Santos Borre.
How to Watch?
Napoli vs Frankfurt, alongside all other matches in Europe’s most prestigious club competition this season, is available to watch online via Champions League live streams.
And if you are interested in attending a future UCL game, see our Champions League tickets page for more information.
Napoli vs Eintracht Frankfurt Prediction
Frankfurt boast an impressive European away record, but whatever potency the Germans may possess in attack has been significantly reduced with their star striker Randal Kolo Muani set to miss this clash through suspension.
While still expected to put up a fight, they also face a stern test against a Napoli side that only need a draw to progress, and Spalletti’s side should find no problem avoiding defeat on home soil.
Napoli 2-1 Eintracht Frankfurt (Agg: 4-1)
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