- Europa League champions Eintracht Frankfurt host Serie A league leaders Napoli in a fascinating round of 16 Champions League tie on Tuesday.
- Two of Europe’s most in form forwards Randal Kolo Muani and Victor Osimhen face off in a fantastic battle between two rising stars.
- Frankfurt are appearing in the Champions League knockout rounds for the first time in their history, whilst Napoli are appearing in the competition after a two-year absence.
French midfielder Eric Dina Ebimbe has been sidelined for the past six matches due to an ankle injury and will miss out once more for this one. Sebastian Rode is also a doubt since the captain missed Saturday’s clash at home to Bremen due to illness.
Daichi Kamada and Djibril Sow were the midfield pairing over the weekend and are expected to line up on Tuesday too, especially if Rode is unable to return. Veteran Makoto Hasebe is likely to return to the backline for Oliver Glasner’s side after being rested at the weekend. However, Kristijan Jakic also offers another option in defence.
As for the visitors Napoli, Giacomo Raspadori offers the only real selection worry for Luciano Spalletti. The 23-year-old forward failed to make the squad for Friday’s 2-0 win away to Sassuolo due to a thigh injury and is a doubt for this one too. However, this shouldn’t cause too many issues for the Partenopei with star striker Victor Osimhen set to continue leading the line.
Champions League Form
The German side finished second in Group D behind Tottenham Hotspur, ahead of the likes of Sporting CP and Marseille. Despite a 3-0 defeat at home to Sporting on matchday one, Frankfurt turned things around and two wins over Marseille and Sporting to conclude their group stage matches secured their qualification into the knockouts for the first time in their history.
Napoli took Group A by storm and a 4-1 victory over Liverpool on matchday one set the tone for the rest of their matches. Back-to-back victories over Dutch champions Ajax, including a vehement 6-1 victory at the Johan Cruyff Arena, would secure their qualification into the last 16 after just four group games.
The Partenopei also scored the highest number of goals at the group stages, registering a mammoth total of twenty goals after just six matches.
UCL 22/23 Key Stats:
Goals For: Frankfurt 7, Napoli 20
Goals Against: Frankfurt 8, Napoli 6
Both Teams To Score %: Frankfurt 50%, Napoli 50%
Over 2.5 Goals %: Frankfurt 66.67%, Napoli 83.33%
Frankfurt and Napoli last met back in 1994 in a UEFA Cup tie where the Germans would end up victors. Also at the last 16 stage almost three decades ago, Frankfurt recorded 1-0 wins in both legs to secure a 2-0 aggregate win to reach the final eight.
Die Adler are enjoying a much better domestic campaign in the Bundesliga this term than last and currently occupy sixth place after 21 games. They sit just two points off of the top four and are only five points behind league leaders Bayern Munich.
Randal Kolo Muani has been one of the decisive factors in Frankfurt’s success and the 24-year-old has a total of 20 goal contributions in just 20 Bundesliga appearances so far this term, registering ten goals and ten assists. The Frenchman, who also impressed at the World Cup last winter, has been on electric form of late too, scoring seven goals in his last seven games in all competitions.
Fellow World Cup star Kamada has been crucial in the midfield for coach Glasner and the Japanese international is enjoying his best goal scoring season for Frankfurt, with a total of seven Bundesliga goals so far this term.
Napoli, on the other hand, have taken Serie A by storm and have romped to the top of the table, leading Inter by a colossal 15 points after 22 games. Spalletti’s men have been incredible all season and have suffered just one loss in the league.
The Partenopei enter this one in fantastic form, having responded to their 1-0 defeat away to Inter after the World Cup break with a seven-match win streak. They head into the knockout rounds as one of the tournament’s dark horses.
Osimhen has been incredible up top for Napoli and is leading the goal scoring charts in Italy with 18 goals in just 19 Serie A appearances this season. Georgian winger Kvicha Kvaratskhelia, also known as ‘Kvaradona’ in Naples, has also been a revelation in the Napoli forward line, making 19 goal contributions in the same number of league games. The pair enter the first leg on form too, having both scored against Sassuolo on Friday.
Not only have Napoli been clinical going forward, having scored the most goals in the Italian top flight with 56, but they have also been sturdy at the back too, boasting the best defensive record in the division after conceding just 15 goals. Kim Min-jae and Amir Rrahmani have been ever-present at the heart of defence and have helped Napoli keep three clean sheets in their last three games.
Prediction & Suggested Bets
Frankfurt 1-3 Napoli @ 10/1 Although Frankfurt head into this one in great form, the power and quality of Napoli should be too much and so we are backing a win for the visitors. Both teams have also been full of line in front of goal of late and so we are expecting goals in this one.
Kvicha Kvaratskhelia To Score Or Assist @ 10/11 The former Rubin Kazan man has been on fire for Napoli so far this term and is great value to contribute either a goal or an assist to a game that is expecting goals. Kvaratskhelia has scored in all three of Napoli’s last three matches and has also provided four assists in his last five games. He was also excellent in the group stages, making five goal contributions across his five appearances.
Daichi Kamada To Commit 2+ Fouls @ 13/8 Kamada has played the full 90 minutes in Frankfurt’s last three games and has committed a total of six fouls over those games. The midfielder is known to put himself about and even committed five in just 64 minutes away to Freiburg at the end of January. The 26-year-old has also committed at least one foul in all of his starts since the return from the World Cup.
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