Napoli vs Frankfurt – Analysis, Prediction, Team News
Wednesday 15th March 2023
Stadio Diego Armando Maradona
As part of our Champions League predictions, we preview Frankfurt’s visit to Naples. Napoli took command of the tie in Germany, is the second leg a formality? Read on with our Napoli vs Frankfurt prediction.
Napoli vs Frankfurt Match Preview
Napoli have been sensational this season and are storming Serie A. With a massive 18-point lead over Inter in second, it will take an improbable collapse for Napoli not to be crowned champions for the first time since 1990. They have won 11 of 13 Serie A games at home this season, though they did lose there against Lazio two weeks ago. This result remains their only defeat at home all season, and it is doubtful they will lose by two here. Their third-ever Scudetto title will be a beautiful tribute to former player Diego Maradona – he died in 2020 and is arguably the greatest player of all time. Indeed, Napoli’s stadium is named after him.
Frankfurt travel to Italy in poor form. Indeed, last season’s Europa League winners have not won in their previous four (including the first leg). Their problems stretch further back, as they have only won twice in the Bundesliga in their last eight games. They have won four from twelve away from home in the league and conceded 20 goals, so their prospects of keeping a clean sheet in this second leg are poor. In sixth place with 40 points, they could still qualify for the Champions League next season. However, the Germans must improve to have any hope of doing so.
Napoli dominated the first leg in Germany. Indeed, they had 65 per cent possession, 17 shots to five, and an xG of 3.03 to 0.48. Osimhen and Di Lorenzo’s goals on either side of half-time gave them a comfortable win. Frankfurt also had striker Kolo Muani sent off. He and other starters, such as Knauff and Lindstrom, are missing for this second leg, making Frankfurt’s task in southern Italy even more daunting. Napoli will feel confident about finishing the job here and qualifying for the quarter-final in what looks to be an open field.
Injuries and Suspensions
Might Not Play: Kim Min-Jae, Meret, Lozano
Will Not Play: Raspadori
Might Not Play: Sow
Will Not Play: Kolo Muani, Junior Embibe, Knauff, Lindstrom, Wenig
Napoli vs Frankfurt Lineups (Predicted)
Napoli (4-3-3): Meret; Olivera, Kim Min-Jae, Rrahmani, Di Lorenzo; Zielinski, Lobotka, Anguissa; Kvaratskhelia, Osimhen, Politano
Frankfurt (3-4-2-1): Trapp; N’Dicka, Hasebe, Tuta; Max, Sow, Rode, Buta; Kamada, Gotze; Borre
Napoli vs Frankfurt Analysis
Frankfurt Must Try To Reduce The Deficit, But Not Leave Themselves Exposed
Make no mistake, the task facing Frankfurt is monumental. They must go to arguably the best side in Europe this season and win by two in a cauldron of a stadium that has been a fortress. Coach Oliver Glasner has implied they will be professional and that Napoli might get nervous if Frankfurt score an early goal. However, we believe he is simply saying the right things to appease the fans. The truth is that even if Frankfurt do score first and early, we don’t envisage Napoli panicking, and it might make them more determined to equalise.
Therefore, Frankfurt must play with balance in this match. They must refrain from attacking carelessly or too directly from the start. They need to win by two, but it is a ninety-minute game. They might be picked off if they go for it from the beginning. If Frankfurt go 3-0 down on aggregate, surely any small hope they have will be extinguished. Therefore, it is a game for balance for them – picking the moments when they can attack Napoli and using their speed on the counter-attack.
Rode and Sow will likely play in midfield in Frankfurt’s 3-4-2-1 system. They must be defensively diligent and not allow Napoli’s tricky playmakers space between the lines. The back three must stay compact with the midfielders. If Frankfurt can win the ball in the middle third, they can break with the pace of Max and Buta at wing-back. There is also the creativity, dribbling and passing skills of Kamada and Gotze in the attacking midfield positions. If Frankfurt are to score goals here, these two will likely be involved and must provide some magic moments to make it happen. With Kolo Muani out, Borre must finish any chances he gets, as they will likely be at a premium.
Napoli Will Likely Control The Game Despite Frankfurt Needing Goals
There is little we can say about Napoli that hasn’t been noted in the rave reviews they have received all season. The Neapolitans are an extremely dangerous team with threats all over the pitch. There is a chance that defender Kim will be out, which would be a blow. However, they have cover if he is. In midfield, Lobotka tends to control the game and make them tick. At the same time, Zambo Anguissa and Zielinski provide the attacking thrust and creativity. Anguissa drives into the box regularly, and Zielinski is particularly dangerous with his crossing and set-piece delivery.
Olivera and especially Di Lorenzo are massive threats from full-back. They will often get up and down the pitch to supplement the attack. Their ability to link with the wingers and come inside against Frankfurt will be vital. Due to injury, Lozano might miss this game, so the tricky Politano will likely come in on the right wing. Napoli also have more available attacking threats, such as Elmas, Ddombele and Simeone.
However, the two big game changers are the Georgian Kvaratskhelia and the Nigerian Osimhen. They have 30 goals in Serie A this season combined (19 for Osimhen, making him the top scorer in the division). Kvaratskhelia is a tricky dribbler off the left wing, adept at coming inside to take shots with his right foot or going either way and delivering crosses into the box. He has magic and is already one of the best players in the world. Osimhen is a technically gifted powerhouse up front; he can run any team ragged and is prolific in front of goal. It will take an incredible effort for Frankfurt to shut these two down.
Sometimes, any of the three results are possible when making predictions. There are times when we aren’t fully confident in our call because the game looks tight. This is not one of those occasions. Luciano Spalletti’s side are a much superior team with far better players. That is not to say that Frankfurt are not a good side – as one of the better teams in the Bundesliga, they are one of the better sides in Europe. However, Napoli are arguably THE best side in Europe. It will take a stratospheric effort from Frankfurt to win by two goals here, and that’s only to force extra time. This task is made even more difficult by them struggling for form and having personnel out.
We don’t see it happening. Napoli can play this game however they see fit. They will likely come out and dominate Frankfurt as they did in the first leg. They will want to make a similar statement as Benfica did at home to Brugge. Equally, when Frankfurt have attacking moments, Napoli are set up to counter-attack against them with pace. This match should be a routine victory for Napoli, which sees them sail into the quarter-final. Others can even argue that we are a little conservative in our prediction.
Napoli 2-0 Frankfurt
Napoli vs Frankfurt Betting Tip – Napoli Odds:
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