Napoli vs. Borussia DortmundBy: Neil | September 18th, 2013
The following lineup is expected: Reina – Maggio, Albiol, Cannavaro, Zuniga – Behrami, Inler – Callejon, Pandev, Hamsik – Higuain.
I don’t know what else to add. It kind of feels like two years ago when Napoli’s Champions League adventure got started in Manchester with so many unknowns. Could Napoli compete with the biggest teams in Europe? We got our answer that day as Cavani’s wonderful counter attack goal earned Napoli a 1-1 draw. This time around the players are different but has anything really changed? This year’s group looks equally as challenging: last season’s CL and Bundesliga runners-up are a stand-in for Bayern, Arsenal take the place of Man City, and Olympique Marseille replace Villarreal for the group’s underdogs.
I am expecting goals, goals, and more goals in this one. Many pundits believe Dortmund’s weak spot is the centre defence pairing of Hummels and Subotic, especially since Mats Hummels – probably the stronger of the two – isn’t currently in form. Both teams have cracking offences which can create goals in the blink of an eye. When the draw was made I thought this one would have tie game written all over it, as Dortmund might be content with a point on the road and neither side will want to lose on the first matchday. But I have a feeling both teams will go for the win, and we will see a lively match of twists, turns, and goals. I rarely do this, but I’m going to make an outrageous prediction.
Napoli 4 Dortmund 4, and one of the teams grabbing a late equalizer.
Enjoy the fireworks, and I really hope Napoli can pull this one out. It would be the biggest scalp in the De Laurentiis era, as Dortmund could have won this competition last season and are firing on all cylinders in the Bundesliga. Even when Napoli beat Chelsea 3-1 in early 2012 the Blues were a struggling side in search of some stability. This time around it’s a team that is genuinely playing at the top level of the club game.