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Napoli return to Leipzig 30 years on

SSC Napoli still top of Serie A | Unbeaten in ten league games | RBL winning run ends | Dries Mertens and Stefan Ilsanker return from suspension | Napoli last in Leipzig in 1988

Die Roten Bullen will be looking to take Expedition Europa to the next round on Thursday from 19:00 CET when Italian club SSC Napoli come to town for the second leg of our UEFA Europa Legaue last-32 tie.

After a 3-1 away win in the southern-Italian port city, the RBL boys are very much eyeing a place in the round of 16

Ahead of the return leg, we take a look at the latest news surrounding the two clubs and a trip 30 years into the past.

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Timo Werner was at the double in Napoli
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Bruma also got on the scoresheet in the first leg

League form

SSC Napoli - Serie A

Napoli followed up their European home loss to Die Roten Bullen by defending their place at the top of the Serie A standings. They beat promoted side SPAL 1-0 on matchday 25 of the Italian top flight to make it ten league games unbeaten, keeping them one point clear of Juventus.

RB Leipzig - Bundesliga

After three straight wins, Die Roten Bullen's domestic run came to an end as we were beaten 2-1 away by Eintracht Frankfurt on Monday night. RBL currently have 38 points after 23 matchdays in Germany and sit fifth, whlie the Eagles moved above them in the table to third with the win.

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The current Serie A table (source: www.legaseriea.it)
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How things stand in the Bundesliga

TEAM NEWS

SSC Napoli

  • DRIES MERTENS
    The Belgium international is available for selection again on Thursday after missing the first leg following an accumulation of yellow cards. His stats emphasise how important he is for the Italians, having scored 19 goals and assisted a further 12 in 35 appearances across all competitions this season.

    That means Napoli will have their deadly attacking trio of Mertens, Lorenzo Insigne and Jose Callejon at their disposal again in the Europa League.

RB LEipzig

  • STEFAN ILSANKER
    Die Roten Bullen were also without a player due to suspension in Naples. The 28-year-old Austrian had been sent off in the final UEFA Champions League group game. However, Ilsanker - who has started the last two league games - is available again on Thursday.
     
  • EMIL FORSBERG
    The Swede marked his comeback after 75 days out injured in the first leg and went on to set up RBL's third goal. The 26-year-old also came off the bench on Monday against Frankfurt and will no doubt be a serious candidate for the starting XI again come Thursday.
     
  • ADEMOLA LOOKMAN
    The January loan signing will also miss the second leg against Napoli, having already played for Everton in the UEFA Europa League this season, meaning he is cup-tied for the remainder of the campaign.
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Napoli's top scorer Dries Mertens has 19 goals to his name
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Defensive all-rounder Stefan Ilsanker is an option again for Thursday

Back in Leipzig 30 years on

There's an anniversary on the horizon for SSC Napoli, with the Italians being the last side to visit Leipzig for a Europa League (or UEFA Cup) tie, back in spring 1988.

World Cup winner Diego Maradona was part of the side that played in the old Zentralstadion in front of 80,100 spectators for the first leg of a second-round tie against 1. FC Lok Leipzig. The match ended 1-1, with Napoli ultimately progressing courtesy of a 2-0 second-leg win.

The Italian side went on to reach the UEFA Cup final that season, beating German side VfB Stuttgart to lift the trophy.

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Diego Maradona played for Napoli between 1984 and 1991, and is still considered a legend at the club

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