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Champions League Preview: Napoli Borussia Dortmund

Napoli have made a great start to the season under Rafa Benitez, but last season’s Champions League finalists will be Napoli’s biggest test to date this season.


Team News

  • Rafael Benitez will have his full squad available and after applying some rotation in the last league match he will have a lot of options in all positions.
  • The Spaniard seems to consider Britos as part of the typical XI rather than Cannavaro, but the captain could be picked for leadership reasons.
  • Insigne is fighting to get a place in the starting XI but the performances of Callejon and Hamsik only leave him with the chance to battle with Pandev for a spot.

Borussia Dortmund

  • In contrast to Benitez, Klopp fielded his strongest side against Hamburg with all of his four front stars in the XI.
  • Subotic and Mkhitaryan are working to recover from minor injuries sustained in the game at the weekend.
  • Captain Kehl was sidelined and is predicted to be out for six more weeks.


  • Benitez’ work at Napoli has been impressive so far as he’s managed to give the team a completely different playing style (starting with the four-man back line) and keep the points flowing. However, Borussia will be a far more challenging test than Bologna, Atalanta and Chievo.
  • Dortmund are the only side, together with Juventus, that didn’t change their coach amongst the European superpowers. Therefore, their start to the league has been better than any other team in Europe so far. Still, not saving players in the comfortable victory over Hamburg might have a cost should Subotic and Mkhitaryan not be available.
  • Napoli, as a city, has always proven to be a fortress hard to conquer for all teams, no matter the technical difference. By adopting more of a “European” style Benitez may have lost that provincial, hard-working charm that helped Napoli on so many occasions. The San Paolo will still be an element in the match, but it will take more than just a heated crowd and dynamism to get the points here. Rafa will have to show some defensive strength as well.

Prediction: Napoli 1 Borussia Dortmund 1