They don’t freeze in awe. Even if the former Maradona club dominates Serie A. Eintracht is looking forward to the round of 16 Champions League games against SSC Napoli.
Coach Oliver Glasner does without motivation tricks, ex-world champion Mario Götze is looking forward to a “sensational game”: Eintracht Frankfurt is more than ready for the Italian celebrations in the Champions League against SSC Naples.
“The team is hot as frying pan fat. The players will have goosebumps,” emphasized Glasner: “There is no need for an additional video.”
They want to get ahead – of course. Even if the opponent in the first leg of the round of 16 this Tuesday (9 p.m. / Amazon Prime) dominates Serie A with 20 wins, two draws and only one defeat and a whopping 15 points ahead of Inter Milan. “If we play at the upper limit, we have a chance against every team in Europe,” emphasized the 48-year-old Austrian head coach on Monday. Glasner had already led Eintracht to win the Europa League.
The awe of sports director Markus Krösche is also limited. “We have exactly the same chance as Naples,” he said. “Our chances are good. Napoli are a good team and we have a good team.” On the other hand, national goalkeeper Kevin Trapp expects the premiere in the round of the top 16 in the premier class with some respect: “There’s a big chunk coming our way.”
SSC Napoli is aiming to win the title in Italy. The team scored 56 goals from the foot of Mount Vesuvius, only conceding 15. The top attacking duo Victor Osimhen, who played unsuccessfully for VfL Wolfsburg from 2017 to 2018, and Chwitscha Kwarazchelia alone contributed more than half of the goals.
Napoli offensively oriented
SSC trainer Luciano Spalletti not only led Diego Maradona’s former club to the top nationally, but also confidently through the group stage of the premier class with high caliber players such as Ajax Amsterdam, FC Liverpool and Glasgow Rangers. Spalletti doesn’t believe in catenaccio, he loves attacking football.
“Naples plays anti-Italian, they play very aggressively with high counter-pressing. Completely different from all other Italian teams,” explained Glasner and also emphasized the defensive work before calling himself: “Now the raving is over.”
However, the coach also believes that he has spied out alleged weaknesses in the Neapolitans. “We have discovered one or the other space that needs to be exploited.” That could be an opportunity, but also a risk. “That’s why we’re also considering how we can control this risk,” explained Glasner. “But you shouldn’t see a danger behind every door.”
The Hessians can counter this with their own strengths: Under the direction of Glasner, they lost only one of nine games on the European stage in their own stadium. In the Bundesliga, too, things are going better than they have since 1992/93, with eleven wins in 21 games. And so the Italian “Gazzetta dello Sport” warns in its “Dossier Eintracht: It will not be a walk in the park.”
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