21st of February 2018 Author: Johnny Karp
Serie A leaders Napoli need a small miracle on Thursday if they want to advance in the Europa League as they face RB Lepizig in the second leg of their first knockout round tie. RB Leipzig pulled off a surprising 3-1 victory in Naples last week, leaving Napoli on the brink of elimination. That was the first ever meeting between the two sides because it's the maiden European season for RB Leipzig. Napoli have won just one of their eight away matches against German teams in European competitions so far.
RB Leipzig are enjoying their first ever participation in European competitions, even though they dropped out of the Champions League at the end of the group stage. Last week's 3-1 victory at Napoli was quite impressive, considering that Napoli had taken a 1-0 lead shortly after half-time. However, RB Leipzig lost 2-1 at Eintracht Frankfurt on Monday and dropped to fifth place in the Bundesliga. Marcel Halstenberg is the only injury concern for the home side, while Stefan Ilsanker is available again after having served his suspension.
Napoli are having a pretty bad European campaign, first they dropped out of the Champions League after finishing third in their group and now they are all but eliminated after the shocking first-leg defeat. It is true that some of the first-team regulars were rested by head coach Maurizio Sarri last week, but that's no excuse for the result. However, Napoli bounced back with a 1-0 victory over Spal on Sunday, a result which keeps them at the top of the table. Faouzi Ghoulam, Vlad Chiriches and Arkadiusz Milik are injured and will most likely miss out.
RB Leipzig: Gulacsi - Laimer, Orban, Upamecano, Klostermann - Kampl, Keita - Sabitzer, Forsberg - Werner, Bruma
Napoli: Reina - Maggio, Tonelli, Albiol, Rui - Rog, Diawara, Hamsik - Ounas, Mertens, Zielinski
My prediction: Napoli to win 2-1.
Here are the odds for the match at Bet365:
Leipzig win - 1.80
Draw - 4.00
Napoli win - 4.50
21st of February 2018
Napoli have been knocked out of the tournament despite that 2-0 second leg away victory, but in fact I think that could be a good thing for them being involved in so close battle with Juventus in Seria A.
I believe they should concentrate all their efforts in that direction as winning EL not looks too realistic anyway with so many good teams in the tournament.
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