Napoli relish a challenge
and cannot ask for a bigger one that attempting to break down
Bayern Munich's almost impenetrable defence in their Champions
League meeting on Tuesday.
Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer has kept a clean sheet for a
club record 12 games, the latest a 4-0 demolition of Hertha
Berlin in the Bundesliga on Saturday.
Napoli have been inconsistent this season but have already
showed that they are at their most dangerous against top teams
with a 3-1 win over Serie A champions AC Milan and a 3-0 win at
Walter Mazzarri's team also have a formidable record of
their own to defend, having remained unbeaten at home in nine
matches since their return to European competition in 2008
following a 13-year absence.
Bayern lead Group A with six points from two games while
Napoli, clearly relishing their debut in the group stage, are
second with four and their clash is arguably the pick of this
week's Champions League meetings.
Despite their inconsistencies in Serie A this season,
including a 2-1 defeat at home to Parma on Saturday, Napoli have
kept a clean sheet in their last six European home games.
Bayern, however, are clearly the in-form team, with coach
Jupp Heynckes having enjoyed a spectacular start to his third
stint at the Bavarian club.
Bayern have won 12 of their 14 competitive games this
season, conceding only one goal in the process.
They have also been potent in attack, scoring 35 goals with
Mario Gomez netting 14 of those.
"At the moment Bayern are playing a kind of football you do
not see every day," said Heynckes. "The whole team is putting in
Heynckes crossed paths with Napoli in his first spell as
Bayern coach when the clubs met in the 1988/89 UEFA Cup
semi-finals, Napoli taking a 2-0 advantage in the first leg with
Careca and Andrea Carnevale scoring.
Brazilian Careca struck twice more in the 2-2 return in
Germany before a Napoli side also including Diego Maradona beat
VfB Stuttgart in the final to claim their first European trophy.
The Italians will once again have a South American
strikeforce with Uruguayan Edinson Cavani, who scored 26 Serie A
goals last season, lining up alongside Ezequiel Lavezzi in
Bulgarian Goran Pandev, whose late goal for Inter Milan
knocked Bayern out of the competition in the second stage last
season, is unlikely to play as he still due to injury.
Bayern are without Dutch winger Arjen Robben, who is
sidelined for several weeks with a groin injury.
Napoli: 1-Morgan de Sanctis; 8-Andrea Dossena, 6-Salvatore
Aronica, 28-Pablo Cannavaro, 14-Hugo Campagnaro; 18-Camilo
Zuniga, 23-Walter Gargano, 88-Gokhan Inler, 17-Marek Hamsik;
7-Edinson Cavani, 22-Ezequiel Lavazzi.
Bayern Munich: 1-Manuel Neuer; 17-Jerome Boateng, 5-Daniel
van Buyten, 28-Holger Badstuber, 21-Philipp Lahm; 44-Anatoliy
Tymoshchuk, 31-Bastian Schweinsteiger, 25-Thomas Mueller,
39-Toni Kroos, 7-Franck Ribery; 33-Mario Gomez.
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