RB Salzburg will make the trip to Naples to take on Napoli in the first leg of their UEFA Europa League Round of 16 tie.
Napoli convincingly beat Swiss side FC Zürich 5-1 on aggregate in the previous round, while Salzburg survived a first leg scare against Club Brugge before comfortably winning 4-0 at home to send them to the next round.
Both sides are enjoying excellent seasons so far, with Salzburg only losing two games in all competitions this season, and Napoli sitting in second in Serie A, eight points clear of Milan in third place.
Here is 90min’s preview of this enticing Europa League Round of 16 clash.
Where to Watch
|When Is Kick Off?||Thursday 7 March|
|What Time Is Kick Off?||20:00 (BST)|
|Where Is it Played?||Stadio San Paolo|
|TV Channel/ Live Stream?||BT Sport ESPN|
The home side will continue to be without Spaniard Raul Albiol who has been on the sidelines for over a month following knee surgery.
German winger Amin Younes has been limited to just 25 minutes of action all season due to problems with his achilles tendon. The 25 year-old returned to the bench during last weekend’s defeat to Juventus and could be in contention to return to the starting lineup.
Jasper Van der Werff, Marin Pongracic and Youba Diarra will sit on the sidelines for the Austrians.
|Napoli||Ospina; Hysaj, Koulibaly, Chirches, Ghoulam, Allan, Ruiz, Callejon, Zielinski; Insigne, Mertens.|
|Salzburg||Walke; Lainer, Vallci, Onguene, Ulmer; Junuzovic, Schlager, Samassekou, Wolf; Dabbur, Daka.|
This will be the first ever meeting between the sides in either team's history, and also the first time that Napoli will host an Austrian team at Stadio San Paolo.
Salzburg have only won four of their 14 European encounters against Italian opposition. The last time they faced an Italian side was on their journey to the Europa League semi-final last season, where they beat Lazio with an 8-3 aggregate scoreline.
Salzburg have lost two of their past five fixtures in all competitions, their only two defeats of the season. The Austrian side sit 11 points clear at the top of the Austrian Bundesliga and have won all six games in their Europa League group earlier in the campaign.
Napoli head into the game on the back of a defeat to Juventus at the weekend, after being unbeaten in seven Serie A matches. Despite dropping down from the Champions League, Napoli only suffered one defeat in a tricky group that featured Liverpool and PSG.
Here is how each team has fared in their past five fixtures:
|Napoli 1-2 Juventus (3/3)||Salzburg 3-0 Wolfsberg (2/3)|
|Parma 0-4 Napoli (24/2)||Rapid Wien 2-0 Salzburg (24/2)|
|Napoli 2-1 Zurich (21/2)||Salzburg 4-0 Club Brugge (21/2)|
|Napoli 0-0 Torino (17/2)||Weiner Neustadt 1-2 Salzburg (17/2)|
|Zurich 1-3 Napoli (14/2)||Club Brugge 2-1 Salzburg (14/2)|
Both sides have been fantastic in European competition this season and are expected to make it to the latter stages of the tournament.
A tight game is on the cards, and Napoli will have to be aware that Salzburg are unbeaten at home this season and that a few away goals for the Austrian side could sway the tie in their favour.
Prediction: Napoli 1-1 Salzburg