UCL OUTLOOK: Dortmund and Napoli

When you think of the past week of Champions League action, chances are you remember PSG smashing Barca 4-0 and Bayern hammering Arsenal 5-1. The two other, fixtures, Real Madrid vs Napoli and Benfica vs Dortmund often get overlooked. It’s time to dive into the other two fixtures that happened this week, and look at my expectations for their second legs.

Real Madrid vs Napoli is a very interesting one, as Napoli lost 3-1 but did grab an away goal. A very good goal from Lorenzo Insigne put Napoli in front for a brief period of time, but Los Blancos managed to nab 3 goals before the end of the game.I think Napoli have the potential to be able to come back against Madrid. They have one of the most inform players in Europe in Dries Mertens and other talented players such as Lorenzo Insigne, Arkadiucz Milik, and Jóse Callejón to help spice up the attack. I feel Napoli have a good Defense, but not one that could stop Bale, Benzema, and Ronaldo. If Napoli’s fans really create a great atmosphere, and if players like Mertens and Insigne turn up, there would be the potential for an upset in the second leg in Naples.

That being said, I think Real just has too much talent to blow this lead. Napoli could do something similar to Atletico vs Bayern, and change their pitch conditions to favor their playing style, to create more scoring opportunities, but even then I think Real Madrid just have too much firepower to be beaten in this second leg. Napoli is a great side but I think this is just too big of a hole to climb out of.

On the other side of things, Benfica vs Dortmund was definitely a game of missed chances for Dortmund, as they missed chance after chance, with Aubameyang even missing a penalty. To contrast that, Benfica took one of their few chances and scored the only goal of the match.

As we know, Dortmund has a very talented squad. Reus, Aubameyang, Dembelé, and Pulisic can definitely help Dortmund through to the last 8 especially at home. They have some of the best supporters in the world and the atmosphere, especially in the “Yellow Wall” section. With their league hopes essentially ruined, they should feel they need to go all out in the Champions League.

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Signal Iduna Park provides one of the biggest home field advantages in all of football. “Signal Iduna Park” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by achimh

To be honest, I expect Dortmund to come back and win. They have the talent, they have the skill, they have the squad, and they have the home advantage. All of these are major factors which can propel Dortmund into the last 8. And even in the first leg, they were the better side; if they can finish their chances I believe they can beat Benfica at home.

On a side note, let’s just take a second and imagine where Dortmund would be right now if they wouldn’t have sold Lewandowski, Hummels, Gotze (while he was in his prime), and others. What is the point of bringing all this up? Considering how good they are now, if Dortmund can keep producing youth players, but more importantly, hold on to them, they could actually be looking at becoming mainstays as Champion’s League title contenders in the next couple of years.


Let us know what you think in the comments!

Author: Kieran

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