As they close in on a first Serie A title since 1990, Napoli have plenty of reason to think they can celebrate an historic double with Champions League glory, as they transferred their sensational domestic form to Europe with a 2-0 win over 10-man Eintracht Frankfurt.
The win at the Deutsche Bank Park will give Napoli even more cause for optimism in the return leg at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona, with the form of Victor Osimhen in particular making the Italian club the overwhelming favourites to progress.
Boosted further by dismissal of Frankfurt‘s top scorer, Randal Kolo Muani, and his subsequent suspension, Napoli have a platform to turn their focus on a push for the Champions League in addition to the scudetto, and their free-flowing attacking football ought to place them up there with the key contenders to lift the trophy at the end of the season.
Goals galore at home and abroad
Having only dropped seven points all season domestically, Napoli have been imperious in Serie A and are on course to claim the title at a canter, with nearest rivals Inter an astounding 15 points behind in second place.
Luciano Spalletti‘s side have been in sensational form in the Champions League this season, winning the first five of their group games before falling to a 2-0 defeat to Liverpool at Anfield in a dead rubber match in the final round of Group A.
The Azzurri had previously thrashed the Premier League club 4-1, before securing a 3-0 win over Rangers and blitzing Ajax 6-1 in Amsterdam. With qualification almost already assured at the halfway point, this was followed up a second 3-0 victory against Rangers, before the Dutch champions were put to the sword with ease, in a comprehensive 4-2 win.
Racking up 20 goals was enough to set alarm bells ringing across Europe, with nobody wanting to be drawn against Napoli in the Round of 16, and it was Frankfurt who were selected to be the sacrificial lambs.
Osimhen and Kvaradona unstoppable
The Europa League champions are no pushovers though, with coach Oliver Glasner losing just two of his 19 continental matches at the helm before kick-off. Yet, they were unable to lay a glove on Napoli, and were undone by an excellent Osimhen goal on the counter.
It came after Khvicha Kvaratskhelia had missed a penalty minutes before, a growing cause for concern amidst a third failure from the spot in the Champions League already this season for the Azzurri.
In Osimhen, Napoli have one of Europe’s most prolific forwards and the Nigerian has already struck 20 goals in 24 appearances in all competitions. The former Lille star is a danger for any defence and his incredible form in front of goal is enough to make Napoli amongst the contenders for glory in the final in Istanbul.
Kvaratskhelia has been the signing of the season in Italy and the twinkle-toed winger was unlucky to come up against a goalkeeper in Kevin Trapp who was at the top of his game. The summer arrival showed his class though, with a magnificent backheel teeing up Giovanni Di Lorenzo for the second goal after the break, and the Georgian is set to be pivotal to Napoli’s European hopes.