In the San Paolo on Tuesday evening the squatter is on the program in the eighth finals of the Champions League between Napoli and FC Barcelona. The Spanish visitors are hoping for a new football show from Lionel Messi, who cheered no less than four times last weekend. However, the Italian hosts have been on the rise in recent weeks and are working towards this squatter with confidence!
After a disastrous first half of the season that led to the resignation of coach Carlo Ancelotti, it seemed that Napoli could already regard her season as being lost around Christmas, but under the leadership of the new coach Gennaro Gattusso, the Italians managed to pick up again. Thanks to six victories in the last seven games, the club from Naples qualified for the semi-finals of the Coppa Italia, and a top four in the Serie A suddenly became possible again.
Napoli is therefore full of confidence and therefore seems ready for the diptych against FC Barcelona in the eighth finals of the Champions League. “FC Barcelona is a great opponent, but we also have some good cards in our hands,” Gattuso said. He undoubtedly referred to players such as Fabian Ruiz, Lorenzo Insigne and Arkadiusz Milik, the most dangerous weapons of I Partenopei. In addition, the Italians are mentally strong. Last weekend, Napoli managed to reverse a 1-0 deficit during a visit to Brescia into a 1-2 victory. The blue shirts already managed to win ten points this season after an initial backlog – the highest number of all clubs in the five major European leagues. Nice numbers, although that also indicates that Napoli often comes late. For example, the formation of Gattuso did not score three games in a row in the first half.
Is FC Barcelona in shape just in time? After several mediocre competitions under the new trainer Quique Setien, FC Barcelona finally shot out of her shoe last weekend with a resounding 5-0 win over Eibar. Lionel Messi in particular had four goals on his hips, which convincingly ended a series of four duels without goals. It was a wonderful football weekend for the Catalans anyway, because after the surprising defeat of Real Madrid one day later, they can call themselves the new leader of LaLiga.
Yet it would be very naive to think that FC Barcelona now has the leak definitively. The Catalans are particularly vulnerable this season, especially outside their own Camp Nou. Only five of the twelve away games in LaLiga were won, and with only one win in the last nine games in the Champions League knockout phase, the European balance also offers little support. In addition, Luis Suarez, Ousmane Dembele, Jordi Alba and Sergi Roberto are all in the rag basket, while the new acquisition Martin Braithwaite is not registered for the European million-dollar ball. Messi will therefore probably have to pull the Catalan cart again on his own in San Paolo.