Thursday, May 24, 2018

Prediction: Napoli vs RB Leipzig

Verdict: Over 3,5 goals – yes

Best Odds: 43/20

Bookmaker: 888sport

The Round of 32 in the UEFA Europa League already kicked off this past Tuesday, but there will be 15 games on Thursday. One of the most interesting ones is the one that will face RB Leipzig against Napoli. The current Serie A leaders will try to get a statement win at home, but the Bundesliga side has enough talent to pull an upset on the road. Kick-off at Stadio San Paolo is scheduled at 20:05 GMT.

Napoli

Napoli have had an impressive campaign in the Serie A since they currently sit at the top of the standings with a one-point lead over Juventus, but their performances in the other competitions have left a lot to be desired. They got eliminated from the Coppa Italia and couldn’t get past the Group Stage in the UEFA Champions League, but they will have a great chance to make a deep run in a European competition here. The opponent is a very difficult one, but the numbers back up Napoli of late. They are riding an eight-game winning streak in the Serie A, and are unbeaten in 17 of their last 19 Europa League matches. History is on their side in their recent games against German teams as well, as Napoli have W4 D2 L3 in their last nine contests against German opponents. Will they manage to translate those numbers into the Europa League, or will they struggle just like they did in the Champions League when they finished third in their group (behind Manchester City and Shakhtar Donetsk)?

Team News

Napoli won’t have two valuable defenders, as Vlad Chiriches (thigh) and Faouzi Ghoulam (knee) have both been ruled out.

To make things more complicated, Marek Hamsik (back) and Arkadiusz Milik (knee) are doubtful. Hamsik has a bigger chance to play, but it wouldn’t be surprising if he is ruled out of the contest.

RB Leipzig

Like Napoli, RB Leipzig also started the season on the UEFA Champions League but finished in third place of a group that also included Besiktas, Monaco and FC Porto. The German side has not been able to repeat their outstanding Bundesliga campaign from last season when they were alive on the title race right until the final weeks of the season, but they have been remarkably consistent and they remain as one of the best teams in the league once again. But we have to see how they will perform in the Europa League and on the road, since this will be their first ever game against an Italian opponent in a UEFA competition. To make things a bit more complicated, Leipzig have won just one of their last five away games, and they will take on a team that looks unstopabble at home at the domestic level. Will they pull the upset in their first-ever visit at San Paolo?

Team News

RB Leipzig have a relatively healthy squad ahead of this game.

The German side does not have confirmed absentees. However, Marcel Halstenberg (hand) and Fabio Coltorti (muscular) are likely to be out.

Key Factors to Consider

  • These two sides have never met in the past. In fact, this will be Leipzig’s first ever game against an Italian opponent.
  • Napoli do have history against German sides, and their recent results have been quite decent. They have W4 D2 L3 in their last nine contests against German opponents.
  • Napoli are on a very good run of form in this competition. They are unbeaten in 17 of their last 19 UEFA Europa League matches.
  • As if that wasnt’ enough, they are riding an eight-game winning streak in the Serie A. They sit at the top of the standings in their domestic league.
  • RB Leipzig have won just one of their last five domestic away games. Can they get out of that bad run of results against a top opponent such as Napoli?

Conclusion

Napoli have scored at least two goals in four of their last five home games across all competitions. Meanwhile, RB Leipzig have seen over 2.5 goals scored in three of their last five road games.

Considering what’s at stake here, it seems likely that both teams will come out with an attacking approach. Expect over 3,5 goals scored in total.

Verdict: Over 3,5 goals – yes

Best Odds: 43/20

Bookmaker: 888sport

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Juan Pablo Aravena


A freelance writer and sports analyst with almost five years of experience in the industry before joining SoccerNews, Juan Pablo Aravena is based in Chile and currently contributes to several publications and websites including SoccerNews, 12up, and Sports From The Basement, while also working as a fantasy beat writer for RotoWire, as a database editor for EA Sports, and as a football analyst for SmartOdds and InsideFutbol. His areas of focus are Serie A, Bundesliga, Premier League, LaLiga, and Ligue 1, but he has also written about MLS and South American football in the past.

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