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Europa League: Table toppers S.S.C. Napoli under the microscope

S.S.C. Napoli currently sit top of Serie A table | Undefeated in nine league games and eight wins in a row | Record goalscorer Marek Hamšík and Dries Mertens goal-hungry

Expedition Europa continues! Die Roten Bullen face Italian top club S.S.C. Napoli in the Stadio San Paolo for the first leg of the Europa League round of 32 on Thursday (KO 21:05 CET).
 
We’ve collected the need-to-knows about Napoli ahead of the clash.

Season so far

DOMESTIC LEAGUE

Napoli are sitting at the top of Serie A with 63 points after 24 fixtures played. Maurizio Sarri’s team have already racked up 20 wins in the current season, with three draws and only one loss.
 
Only second-placed club Juventus, who gave Napoli their only loss (1-0), have been able to keep pace at the top of the table, and are one point behind with an equal number of wins. Inter Milan (48 points) and AS Roma (47 points) trail behind.

The most striking thing is winning streak of the “Azzurri” – the team have left the pitch as winners in their last eight games. Their success is also highlighted by the fact that they’ve scored 54 goals and only allowed 15 in on the other side.

Champions League

Napoli joined this season’s Champions League through the play-offs. The South Italian side beat Nice convincingly to go through (winning 2-0 in each leg). Napoli ended the group stage of the competition in third place with six points.

Ones to watch

Dries Mertens

The Belgium international has been under contract at Napoli since the 2013-14 season and the 30-year-old has since made 220 competitive appearances for the club, during which time he has racked up 87 goals and 58 assists.

Mertens has also shown his goalscoring ability this season – he’s scored 19 goals and made 12 assists in his 34 appearances so far this season. He’s the fifth-highest scorer in Serie A with 15 goals.

Because the centre forward picked up three yellow cards in the Champions League group matches, the Belgian must serve a one-match ban and sit out the first-leg fixture.

Marek Hamšík

The Slovakian international can’t be imagined playing for any club other than Napoli anymore. The 30-year-old has been with the club since summer 2007. The midfielder has played 485 matches for the South Italians to date and overtook Napoli legend Diego Maradona’s goal record in December 2017 when he scored his 188th goal for the club.

The winger has played for Napoli for eight years and has made 32 appearances this season, scoring ten goals and making eight assists.

The 26-year-old Italian forms a third of the threatening attacking trio along with Dries Mertens and José Callejón.

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Forward Dries Mertens has already scored 19 times this season for our Europa League opponents!

Current squad situation

  • Napoli are missing four players at the moment. 
     
  • Leandrinho has been out with a muscle injury since February. 
     
  • Faouzi Ghoulam has also been out since February. The leftback suffered a kneecap injury in his right leg. 
     
  • Vlad Chiricheș has a leg muscle injury and will likely not be able to play against Die Roten Bullen.
     
  •  Centre forward Arkadiusz Milik suffered a knee injury in September.

Club profile

  • Founded: 1st August 1926
     
  • Club colour: Light blue
     
  • All-time record appearance holder: Marek Hamšík (485 appearances)
     
  • All-time record goalscorer: Marek Hamšík (118 goals)
     
  • Stadium: Stadio San Paolo
    Built in 1959
    60,240 capacity
    Field size: 110 × 68 m
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Maurizio Sarri has been the coach of S.S.C. Napoli since summer 2015.

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