Frankfurt vs Napoli – Analysis, Prediction, Team News
Tuesday 21st February 2023
As part of our Champions League predictions, we preview Napoli’s visit to Frankfurt. Napoli are in red-hot form and running away with Serie A. Can Frankfurt stop them? Read on with our Frankfurt vs Napoli prediction.
Frankfurt vs Napoli Match Preview
Frankfurt come into this tie having finished in second place in Group D. Drawn with Spurs, Sporting Club, and Marseille, things could have looked better for the German club, who qualified as last season’s Europa League winners. Indeed, Frankfurt only had four points after the first four games, which included defeats to Spurs and Sporting. A 2-1 win at home to Marseille in the fifth game set them up for a winner-takes-all match in Portugal. In a tight group where all four teams could qualify on the final day, Frankfurt came back from 1-0 down to finish second to the English club.
Frankfurt have been doing reasonably well domestically. They sit fourth in the form guide over the last six games, with 11 points. They are fifth in the Bundesliga with 38 points – five points from the top three, who are all on 43. A 2-0 win over Bremen at the weekend will see them come into this game with relative confidence.
Napoli enter the game having finished top of Group A with 15 points, level with Liverpool but with a better head-to-head record. The Italians were in scintillating form in the group stage, starting with a hammering of Liverpool in the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona. They followed this up with the destructions of Rangers and Ajax. In the final game, they just had to avoid a heavy defeat at Anfield to top the group, and they did, losing 2-0. With a massive 20 goals scored in six games, they were the highest scorers of all teams in the group stage.
Domestically, things could barely be going better for Napoli. They look set to win their third Serie A title and their first since 1990. They have 62 points after 23 games, only dropping seven points all season. Hence, they are a massive 15 points ahead of Inter in second place. Juventus’ 15-point deduction for financial breaches helped, too. However, even without that, Juve would still only have an equal total to Inter. Nothing can be taken for granted in football, but Napoli are flying and arguably the form team in Europe. They should win Serie A from here and will have designs on emerging victorious in this competition, too.
Injuries and Suspensions
Might Not Play:
Will Not Play: Rode, Wenig, Junior
Might Not Play: Osimhen
Will Not Play: Raspadori
Frankfurt vs Napoli Lineups (Predicted)
Eintracht Frankfurt (3-4-2-1): Trapp; N’Dicka, Jakic, Tuta; Max, Kamada, Sow, Buta; Gotze, Lindstrom; Kolo Muani
Napoli (4-3-3): Meret; Rui, Kim Min-Jae; Rrahmani, Di Lorenzo; Zielinski, Lobotka, Anguissa; Kvaratskhelia, Osimhen, Lozano
Frankfurt vs Napoli Analysis
How the midfielders match up with each other will likely be critical in this game. Napoli are a team that like to keep possession, having averaged 62 per cent of the ball in Serie A this season. Frankfurt are more middle of the road, as they are eight-ranked for possession in the Bundesliga, with 50 per cent. Napoli have also completed 789 short passes in the Champions League this season, compared to 548 for Frankfurt.
With Napoli being the better team with the superior players, a case could be made by people that they will come into this game and attempt to control it. However, with Frankfurt at home, they will be under pressure from their fans to try to take the game to the Italian club. Being expansive is a dangerous tactic, however; Napoli are equally adept on the counter-attack as they passing the ball around. If Frankfurt are too adventurous, Napoli could tear them to shreds.
Therefore, Frankfurt will likely play a balanced game. There will be much responsibility on Kamada and Sow in midfield. The Japanese player especially is a silky and classy operator. The two must not allow Zielinski and Anguissa to press them and win the ball in dangerous areas. Lobotka is also critical in this game. The Napoli defensive midfielder often sits just in front of the defence, and his ability to play short passes and make mazy runs with the ball to break lines benefits Napoli.
Lobotka is a buzzy player who gets around the midfield area. His partnership with Anguissa and Zielinski is very potent. We see Gotze and Lindstrom sometimes dropping into the centre of the pitch from their attacking midfield positions to help the Frankfurt midfielders. This movement should ensure a battle for ascendancy in the middle of the park.
How Frankfurt Can Hurt Napoli
Despite being heavy underdogs here, they are ways in which Frankfurt can hurt Napoli. The Germans have averaged two goals per game in the Bundesliga this season (42 from 21) which is a good return. However, they are unlikely to get as much space against a high-flying Napoli team as they do in Germany. Regardless, when they win the ball in midfield, the likes of Kamada must carry the ball and link up with Gotze and Lindstrom.
As stated, the two attacking midfielders will come deeper. However, when Frankfurt gain possession, they are responsible for supporting Kolo Muani up front. The Frenchman has had a breakout season, with 15 goals already and a fantastic game-changing performance after he entered the World Cup Final as a substitute. He and the two playmakers behind him must try to take on Rui and Di Lorenzo in the Napoli full-back positions. The two Napoli players fly forward often, so there may even be vacated spaces to exploit.
Gotze, Kamada, and Lindstrom must support Kolo Muani when possible. The two wing-backs will also fly forward and supplement the attack. Max and Buta are good attacking wing-backs and will look to advance when they feel the opportunity presents itself. However, as stated, it is a balancing act, given Napoli’s creative ability. Frankfurt can hurt the Italian club, and Kim and Rrahmani must be alert in the heart of the Napoli defence.
Napoli’s Deadly Attack
Napoli are absolutely on fire this season. With 56 goals in Serie A and the previously mentioned goalscoring statistics in this competition, they are a threat from everywhere. Anguissa often joins the attack and is a threat in front of goal and providing assists. Zielinski is one of the key playmakers in the team. The Pole’s crossing, passing and set pieces are massive weapons for the Naples club. Lozano has been in and out of the side. However, the Mexican presents a real problem for opposition full-backs with his dribbling and crossing.
Napoli’s two best players (and two of the best in Europe) are arguably Kvaratskhelia and Osimhen. We like what we see from the former in particular. The Georgian is electric, with fantastic dribbling, trickery, and an ability to come inside and shoot. Kamada and Sow must try to fill the spaces that Buta leaves when Frankfurt attack; otherwise, Kvaratskhelia can destroy the German club down their right-hand side. He will look to come inside onto the right-sided centre-back, take him on and shoot from that inverted position. The playmaker can also slide little balls or crosses inside for Osimhen. The winger is a fantastic player.
Osimhen has been brilliant, too, with him leading the line fantastically as a centre-forward. He already has 18 goals in just 19 Serie A matches and is coveted by Man Utd. He possesses excellent strength, pace, technical ability, and impressive hold-up play. His linking up with Kvaratskhelia will be vital in this game as the two have built a lethal understanding. Even up against three centre-backs, we see Osimhen bullying the Frankfurt defence. Ndombele, Elmas, Politano, and Simeone are further midfield and attacking reinforcements.
Frankfurt are a decent team, and they have done well to reach this stage after an awful start to their Champions League campaign. They are also going well in Germany and could finish this season in the top three places. However, this game is a step up from what they are used to this season. Other than Bayern Munich, Frankfurt rarely face teams of Napoli’s class and potency (Tottenham, Sporting, and Marseille are not at that level). It will be tough for the Germans to keep the Italians out in this match.
Therefore, we see a high-scoring game. Napoli generally score goals, and Frankfurt are a team who can score too. The Naples team often gives opponents a chance due to their expansive, positive, and attacking style of play. Hence, Napoli might come to Germany and score goals as they did against Ajax in Amsterdam. They may take a comfortable lead back to Italy for the return leg in three weeks.
Frankfurt 1-3 Napoli
Frankfurt vs Napoli Betting Tip – Napoli Odds:
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