Union Berlin vs Napoli. Prediction and Preview. Probable Lineups, Team News, Stats, and more
FC Union Berlin will host SSC Napoli in the UEFA Champions League Group C 3rd round match at the Olympic Stadium in Berlin. The fixture will take place on Wednesday, October 25, beginning at 00:30 IST.
Parimatch News will tell you everything you need to know ahead of the upcoming match.
Union Berlin News & Current Form:
In five years, the Berliners went from the second Bundesliga to the group stage of Europe’s premier club tournament, but that’s where the beautiful fairy tale stalled. The club’s first ever Champions League campaign started with two defeats – a decent one at the hands of Real Madrid CF (0:1) and a frustrating one at the hands of SC Braga (2:3).
The Iron Ones almost survived at the Santiago Bernabeu but failed to keep an eye on Jude Bellingham in the fourth added minute, who slotted in the only goal of the game.
The first home game turned out to be even more dramatic. A double by Sheraldo Becker in the 30th and 37th minutes made the Olympic Stadium believe in a miracle, but four minutes before the break Braga reduced the deficit.
Just six minutes after the resumption of play, Braga equalized. The fatal denouement happened again in the fourth compensated minute – the guests completed the comeback and plunged Union to the last place in the quartet.
At the same time, the team from Berlin had a very successful start in the new German championship, twice defeating FSV Mainz 05 and SV Darmstadt 98 with the same score of 4:1. But then the Berliners began a prolonged black streak, which included eight consecutive defeats. During this period, the German club distinguished themselves only five times, conceding 19 goals in their gates.
As a result, the club is in fifteenth place with only 6 points to spare. In addition, the gap from FC Cologne, which is in the relegation zone, is only 2 points. Although Union Berlin became a real revelation of last season in Germany, after which they took fourth place in the Bundesliga and for the first time won a ticket to the Champions League.
In the last round of the German championship the team of Swiss specialist Urs Fischer lost to VfB Stuttgart (0:3) on their field without a chance. The teams seem to have switched roles: if last year Stuttgart barely escaped relegation, this year they are above FC Bayern Munich and are now in second place, trailing the leading Bayer 04 Leverkusen by only one point. But Union Berlin in turn risk fighting for survival with such results.
It’s hard to imagine that the club will be able to dramatically interrupt the succession of failures. Especially in a confrontation with such a powerful opponent. The main problem is that the coaching staff can not find a common language with the players.
The fact that one of the leaders of the defense, Leonardo Bonucci, may receive a long suspension for at least six months does not add positive emotions to the team. The former Juventus FC player allegedly learned that his teammate Nicolo Fagioli plays at illegal bookmakers, but did not report it to the Italian prosecutor’s office.
In the upcoming match several players will not help the club: Laurenz Dehl, András Schäfer, Josip Juranovic. The participation of Alexander Schwolow, Mikkel Kaufmann and Jerome Roussillon is also in doubt. The absence of these players will obviously not positively affect the game of the Iron Ones.
Napoli News & Current Form:
Napoli continue to play as the reigning Italian champions, which they won last season, breaking a 30-year streak without a win in the national championship. Luciano Spalletti has since stepped down as head coach, and the side of recently appointed Rudi Garcia are not doing great, so defending the title will be a challenge.
Nevertheless, the Neapolitans have collected 17 out of a possible 27 points in nine Serie A matches, which puts them in fifth place in the standings. But in the Champions League, the Blues started with a 2:1 win over Braga. The Blues took three points away from Portugal thanks to an 88th minute auto-goal by an opponent.
After that, the Italians threatened to beat Real Madrid, but eventually lost 2:3. The meeting at the Diego Maradona Stadium was an eventful affair: the hosts opened the scoring thanks to a mistake by Kepa Arrizabalaga on a corner kick. Then there was another outstanding performance by Jude Bellingham (assist + goal), who put Madrid ahead before Piotr Zielinski equalized from the penalty spot.
As in the match against the Arsenalists, everything was decided by an auto-goal – but this time not in favor of Rudi Garcia’s team. After a howitzer shot by Fede Valverde, the ball hit the back of Alex Meret and flew into the net. As a result, Napoli are still only second in Group C.
Five days later, the Parthenopeans lost at home again – this time to ACF Fiorentina in Ligue A (1:3). In this meeting, Khvicha Kvaratskhelia scored a double – for the first time this season. The Georgian winger is gradually gaining form, as well as the entire Neapolitan attack – in the last five matches in all competitions Garcia’s team has hit the opponents’ goal 14 times.
After two home defeats actively began to appear rumors about the resignation of the French coach and even the name of his successor was mentioned – Antonio Conte. However, Conte said that he does not take teams in the middle of the season, and Napoli slightly improved their position by beating Hellas Verona FC away in the championship by the score of 3:1.
The Blues will not have their top scorer Victor Osimhen. The Nigerian was injured in a game for the national team and is out for 4-6 weeks. It will be interesting to see what tactics will be chosen by the coaching staff, because it is very difficult to find a worthy replacement for him. Also in the upcoming game Frank Anguissa will not take part in and the appearance of Juan Jesus is questionable.
It should be noted that Union Berlin and Napoli have never met on the field before, this will be the first meeting of two teams.
Union Berlin form guide: L-L-L-L-L-L
Napoli form guide: D-W-W-L-L-W
Union Berlin vs Napoli Predicted XI:
Union Berlin’s possible starting lineup (3-5-2): Ronnow; Doekhi, Bonucci, Leite; Knoche, Tousart, Kral, Laidouni, Gosens; Becker, Behrens.
Napoli’s possible starting lineup (4-3-3): Meret; Di Lorenzo, Rrahmani, Natan, Olivera; Zielinski, Lobotka, Cajuste; Politano, Raspadori, Kvaratskhelia.
Statistical preview of the match Union Berlin vs Napoli:
- Union’s First XI average age is 29.5 years, Napoli’s First XI average age is 26.8 years.
- The total value of Union’s squad is 189 mln euros, while Napoli’s is 587 mln euros.
- Irfan Peljto has been appointed as the center referee. The referee has already served five games this season, showing an average of 3.6 Yellow Cards and also whistles 23 fouls per game.
- In the last 5 games, Union Berlin conceded an average of 2.60 goals per game and scored an average of 0.80 goals per game.
- In the last 5 games, Napoli conceded an average of 1.60 goals per game and scored an average of 2.80 goals per game.
- Union last won at home back on the 20th of August. It’s been two months. During this period, the team lost four consecutive meetings on its field.
- In the current season, Napoli perform well on foreign fields. Since the 19th of August, the team has played 6 away matches, gaining four victories, two more two draws were recorded.
- Union Berlin serve an average of 5.1 corners per game. But Napoli excel in this area as well, averaging 7.18 corner kicks per game.
- The Italians average 2.27 yellow cards per match, while Union infringe on an average of two cards per game
- Napoli have three wins in their last five games.
What has been said before the match:
Gaffer of Union Berlin Urs Fischer about getting back on track after having 8 losses in a row:
“We’re going into this game with confidence and a positive attitude, even if the ease isn’t there at the moment. In the end, soccer should also be fun. For us, it’s a chance to get back on track.”
“We’ve achieved our goals and celebrated successes together in the past few years. Now it’s a little stormy. I’m not worried about what might happen in two, three weeks, I’m concentrating on the here and now. Our task is Napoli.”
Rudi Garcia, new head coach of Scudetto winner Napoli, about the upcoming opponent and intention to win against them:
“We know Union Berlin’s recent history has been good, they had a very good championship last year and deserved entry into the Champions League. Right now they are going through a difficult time, but we know the value of the team, they have good players, some even known internationally.”
“We are motivated and ready for the challenge. In this respect, there is never a need for the coach to give additional charge to these kinds of matches that already contain great stimuli. We need to recover the points we lost at home to Real Madrid and we will try to do so as early as tomorrow.”
“But it was not only in Verona that group unity was seen. This squad has always had solidity in the locker room, unfortunately the results have not always come, but there has always been so much attachment and concentration.”
“I have no doubts for tomorrow, at the moment I have the starting team in my head, however, let’s wait because the night brings advice. What I am interested in is that the boys are well and ready for the challenge.”
“We are here to win, we have so much respect for Union Berlin and we know that in the Champions League every match has various pitfalls. That’s why I expect a level performance with the right mentality.”
Union Berlin vs Napoli Prediction:
The current form of the Iron Ones looks just appalling – the team has lost in the last eight matches in the Bundesliga and the Champions League in a row, leaving them on a downward spiral towards the relegation zone. The last victory was back on 26 August, that is almost two months ago. During this period, the German club celebrated goals only five times, conceding 19 goals in their gates. It seems that the fairy tale is over, Union Berlin is in crisis. The Berliners have obviously lost confidence in their own strength. In addition, there are simply no resources to act on two fronts, to play in the elite European competition against big-name opponents. With such inputs it will be difficult to count even on the fight for third place in Group C.
After a tough game against Real Madrid, Napoli lost at home to Fiorentina in Serie A, with Fiorentina hardly showing anything special. The break for the national team matches gave the Italians a breath of fresh air. Now the Neopolitans have been able to re-energise and come back with the same fighting spirit, having improved their results. A few days before the game in UCL, Rudi Garcia’s wards beat Verona away – 3:1, where, by the way, Kvaratskhelia scored a double. Khvicha and his team are sound, even considering the expected absence of the attacking leader – Victor Osimhen. The Azzurri are determined to take three points against the clear outsider of the quartet at the Olympic Stadium.
Parimatch News staff prediction:
We say: Napoli will score more than 1.5 goals – Yes.