Napoli play host to last year's beaten finalists in this Champions League group game. Both the Italians and the Germans have gotten off to a flying start in their respective league campaigns, but Wednesday's matchup will be the first test of their real potential this season.
Both sides have scored nine goals apiece in their last three games, so this tie should be anything but boring. There'll be no shortage of attacking talent on display, so the spoils will likely go to whichever side is better organised at the back.
When: Wednesday, September 18 at 8.45 p.m. CET; 2.45 p.m. ET; 7.45 p.m. BST
Where: Stadio San Paolo, Naples, Italy
Watch: beIN Sport; beIN Sport Play; Sky Sports Red Button (UK)
Odds: Dortmund win, 2.35 to 1, Napoli win 2.95 to 1 (courtesy of paddypower.it)
The southern Italians have had a change in management since last they featured in Europe's top competition, but with Rafa Benitez at the helm they're in experienced hands. The Spaniard knows how to handle European football better than almost any manager working in the game today, and has the spoils from spells at Valencia, Liverpool and Chelsea to prove it.
Jurgen Klopp begins anew with Dortmund and will want a win to get this Champions League season off to the best possible start. The Germans have shown little sign of lingering disappointment from last season's final loss to Bayern Munich in the league, but it remains to be seen how they'll fare in continental competition having suffered such a demoralising defeat.
Last season, there was major drama when the German paper Bild broke the story that Mario Gotze, Dortmund's star player, would be signing for rivals Munich at the end of the season.
Gotze is seen by many to be the most talented German player of his generation, so you'd think Klopp's side would be missing him more. It was a deal that some thought would actually damage the credibility, the competitiveness and perhaps even the fabric of German football itself, but so far Dortmund seem to be coping just fine.
Keeping the very gifted and in-demand Robert Lewandowski, who has just a year left on his contract and wants to move, was crucial to their continued success. So was signing the likes of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. The Gabonese forward has five goals in five games for the Germans, and should cause Napoli back-line problems.
Napoli, too, have lost their best player. And yet the Italians don't look any the worse for it either. Club president Aurelio De Laurentiis has added wisely to the squad, with star signings Gonzalo Higuain and Dries Mertens giving the Azzurri more options going forward.
Marek Hamsik is in great form too, so Benitez will have plenty of attacking options as he tries to secure a first home win in Europe in front of a packed San Paolo.
Dortmund will know how valuable an intimidating home ground can be. Their Westfalenstadion is rightly regarded as one of Europe's great football grounds—but the Partenopei's San Paolo can more than match it for atmosphere.
There's genuine excitement in Naples right now. Despite losing Edinson Cavani to Paris Saint-Germain and Walter Mazzarri to Inter, the Azzurri look more impressive than any time in recent memory.
Benitez has settled in well, and the new recruits brought in on the back of Cavani's big-money move to France mean that the squad as a whole looks more balanced and complete.
Being last season's Champions League runners up, Dortmund have to be the favourites for most games they'll play in Europe this term, but regular observers of Italian football will tell you Napoli are good enough to win—and will expect to do as such.
The Germans are still the better side, more complete and experienced. They'll most likely win the corresponding fixture later in the year. But at home in front of their uniquely passionate fans, Napoli are going to give some beating. This writer calls it at 2-1 to the Italians.
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