The UEFA Champions League brings another historical clash as Napoli and Barcelona go head to head for the first time in the competition.
Date: 25 February 2020
Time: 21:00 CET
Stadium: San Paolo
Referee: Felix Brych
The hosts of the upcoming historical night are coming into the tie with a 1-2 away win against Brescia. Napoli currently sit on the 6th position in Serie A. FC Barcelona will be travelling away as La Liga leaders after a 5-0 win against Eibar at the Camp Nou.
It is no surprise as Barcelona are in for a tough away night having won only six of their last 16 away matches in European competition (W6 D6 L4). The Blaugranas have failed to score in the last four away knockout stage matches against Italian oppositions.
FC Barcelona have played in the quarter finals of the Champions League in each of the last 12 seasons which is the record for the longest run in the tournament’s history.
The match will be Quique Setien’s first ever UEFA Champions League game as a manager.
The hosts have been victorious against Liverpool and Genk in this season’s group stage. However, they have won only six of their last 12 home games in the UEFA Champions League.
Gli Azzurri have lost last four two-legged ties against Spanish oppositions.
Napoli have never progressed from the Round of 16 in the UEFA Champions League.
These statistics clearly show that both teams are likely to have a tough night and we are going to witness quite a clash. Napoli seem to struggle at home and Barcelona have not produced many good away performances in recent years.
Koulibaly will not participate in the fixture with a thigh injury.
Milik and Hysaj are doubtful due to knee injuries. Llorente and Lozano are doubtful due to fever and adductor injury respectively.
Koulibaly and Llorente are one yellow card away from suspension.
Luis Suarez (Knee), Dembele(hamstring), Alba(groin) and Roberto(adductor) are not going to travel for this tie and have been left off from the team sheet.
Sergio Busquets and Nelson Semedo are one yellow card away from suspension.
Meret; Di Lorenzo, Manolas, Maksimović, Mário Rui; Fabián Ruiz, Demme, Zieliński; Callejón, Mertens, Insigne
Ter Stegen: Semedo, Piqué, Lenglet, Junior: Arthur, Busquets, De Jong: Messi, Griezmann, Fati
PLAYERS TO WATCH
In the Champions League since 2016/17, Mertens has scored 15 and assisted 6 for Napoli. He has scored 5 goals already in this season’s competition and matched his personal best of the 2016/17 season.
In any given match when this guy plays he has the potential to become his opponent’s destroyer. He is approaching another Champions League night but this time, scoring a poker. He has scored 2 and assisted 3 in the competition so far and surely the numbers will increase.
NAPOLI 1 FC BARCELONA 2
Barcelona will bag 2 away goals and have the edge going into the second leg.