It’s time to hear that triumphant ballad again, with Napoli returning to Champions League group stage action for the first time since 2013 with a match against Dynamo Kyiv in Ukraine.
While excitement abounds in the fanbase, especially coming off two strong matches in Serie A, it’s also impossible to deny that the pressure is on in a big, big way. Group B is one that is obscenely tight in terms of the quality of the four teams, and there will be little to no room for error — Napoli can afford few dropped points throughout the group stage, especially not right at the start.
That means Napoli need to come out racing at their focused best, which will be a tough task coming off traveling to Ukraine and dealing with the hostile environment they’ll face in the stadium. Dynamo will be without a key player in Danilo Silva while Napoli are relatively healthy — only a reserve defender in Vlad Chiriches is missing off their Champions League squad — a factor that could prove decisive come the final whistle.
Napoli are also unquestionably in better form, coming off two dominant performances while Dynamo have stumbled of late, drawing to a Shakhtar Donetsk side that is much weaker than we’re used to seeing, and losing at home for a lowly side in Vorskla just before the international break. If Napoli come out strong and play to the same ability they’ve shown of late, there is a win there for the taking.
So go on, Napoli. Go out there and take it. And then move on to the next.
Predicted Lineups Sure To Be Wrong
Napoli: Reina; Ghoulam, Koulibaly, Albiol, Hysaj; Hamšík, Jorginho, Allan; Mertens, Milik, Callejón
Dynamo Kyiv: Shovkovskiy; Morozyuk, Khacheridi, Vida, Makarenko; Rybalka; Yarmolenko, Sydorchuk, Buyalskiy, González; Júnior Moraes
When: Tuesday, 8:45 p.m. CET, 9:45 p.m. local, 2:45 p.m. ET
Where: NSL Olimpiyski, Kyiv, Ukraine
TV: Canale 5, PremiumSport HD (Italy), BT Sport Extra (U.K.), Futbol 1, OLL.tv, Kanal Ukrayina (Ukraine)
Online: Fox Soccer 2GO, ESPN3, WatchESPN (U.S.)
You can find additional viewing options on LiveSoccerTV, and as always, we’ll have a match thread live here for discussion of the game at hand. You can also follow along with us live on Twitter, and we’ll have updates of the most important events on our Facebook page.