- Napoli host Eintracht Frankfurt at the Diego Maradona Stadium on Wednesday night and head into the return leg with a two-goal lead.
- The Partenopei are in a good position to reach the last eight of the Champions League for the first time in their history, whilst Frankfurt face a huge task if they are to continue their fine run of form in Europe.
- The visitors will be without star forward Randal Kolo Muani for the second leg and chances of them overturning the deficit seem slim.
Starting goalkeeper Alex Meret had to pull out of the warm-up against Atalanta on Saturday for Napoli but the hope is that he will be fit enough to return to the side here. Kim Min-jae was forced off in the second half at the weekend after picking up a knock but the problem is not expected to be too serious and he should be good to go too.
However, the Partenopei’s depth option up top in Giacomo Raspadori will remain out due to a thigh injury which has seen him miss the last five matches. Winger Hirving Lozano is expected to return here though after dealing with some muscular issues.
Full-back Mario Rui will be fresh for this one having missed the last two Serie A fixtures due to suspension and he will likely be reinstated to the starting lineup, replacing Mathias Olivera.
The visitors will be without their star forward Kolo Muani after he was sent off in the first leg in what is a massive blow for Frankfurt. Rafael Santos Borre is expected to be the replacement up top.
Midfielders Eric Junior Dina Ebimbe and Jesper Lindstrom are unavailable due to ankle injuries. Djibril Sow and Ansgar Knauff are minor doubts, with the former picking up a knock last time out against Stuttgart and the latter being forced to miss the game in its entirety. However, both are expected to be available for the second leg.
Champions League Form
In their maiden Champions League voyage, Frankfurt have already achieved the impressive feat of qualifying for the knockout rounds. However, they face an incredibly difficult task of overturning a two-goal deficit away to Napoli on Wednesday if they are to continue their journey, especially without the suspended Kolo Muani.
Kvicha Kvaratskhelia’s missed first half penalty in the first leg did little to derail Luciano Spalletti’s men and they would go on to secure a 2-0 victory thanks to goals from key forward Victor Osimhen and captain Giovanni Di Lorenzo.
The Partenopei are aiming to reach the quarter-finals of the Champions League for the first time in their history and have put themselves in an excellent position to do so.
UCL 22/23 Key Stats:
Goals For: Napoli 22, Frankfurt 7
Goals Against: Napoli 6, Frankfurt 10
Both Teams To Score %: Napoli 42.86%, Frankfurt 42.86%
Over 2.5 Goals %: Napoli 71.43%, Frankfurt 57.14%
Last month’s victory for Napoli was their first in their history over Frankfurt, coming at their third attempt. The two teams were drawn together at the last 16 of the UEFA Cup back in 1994 where the German side picked up 1-0 wins in both legs, courtesy of a goal from Ralf Falkenmayer and an own goal by Renato Buso.
Champions-elect Napoli have all but secured their first Scudetto since 1990 and currently sit 18 points clear at the top of Serie A. However, a 1-0 loss at home to Lazio has proven that Spalletti’s side is capable of defeat. Nevertheless, they responded confidently with a 2-0 victory at home to Atalanta at the weekend.
Osimhen and Kvaratskhelia continue to be the main men in attack for the Partenopei and their incredible form continues. Despite not scoring in either of Napoli’s last two games, the Nigerian has contributed to 19 league goals in just 22 appearances, whilst the Georgian star rifled the ball home for Napoli’s opener against Atalanta in what was a stunning goal.
Head coach Oliver Glasner has seen Die Adler suffer since their 2-0 first leg defeat in Naples. Frankfurt have failed to win in any of their three Bundesliga matches since and have just one win in their last six games.
A 2-1 defeat away to RB Leipzig concluded February before they responded with back-to-back draws with Wolfsburg and Stuttgart respectively. That has seen them slip to sixth place in the Bundesliga standings, five points behind Union Berlin in fourth and 12 points behind league leaders Bayern Munich.
Prediction & Suggested Bets
Napoli 2-0 Frankfurt @ 13/2 Napoli should have too much quality for Frankfurt and they should put this tie to bed with a comfortable victory at the Diego Maradona Stadium. There’s too much to do for the visitors here and the task seems nearly impossible without Kolo Muani.
Victor Osimhen To Score or Assist @ 1/2 A shorter odds selection but one that seems like a guarantee and could offer a nice boost in an accumulator. Osimhen has been deadly for Napoli this season and has scored 11 goals in his last 12 matches in all competitions. The 24-year-old scored in the first leg too and despite failing to find the back of the net in his last two appearances, he did provide the assist for Kvaratskhelia’s goal last time out.
Frankfurt To Receive The Most Cards @ 7/5 Frankfurt have been card-heavy of late and have received a total of ten cards in the three matches since the first leg. In comparison, Napoli have only picked up five cards in as many games. Die Adler will have to fight to stay in the tie and so we’re backing them to pick up the most cards here.
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