Red Bull Leipzig (all competitions) – DWWWL
Napoli (all competitions) – WWWLW
The first-ever meeting between these two clubs was last Thursday, when Leipzig took control with a 3-1 victory in Naples.
Red Bull Leipzig (4-4-2): Gulacsi; Laimer, Upamecano, Orman, Klostermann; Sabitzer, Keita, Kampl, Bruma; Poulsen, Werner
Napoli (4-3-3): Reina; Maggio, Tonelli, Koulibaly, Hysaj; Rog, Diawara, Hamsik; Ounas, Callejon, Zielinski
The second leg of Napoli’s Europa League tie against RB Leipzig amounts to little more than an exhibition match. Maurizio Sarri has made his intentions for this season very clear and the 3-1 deficit only makes the decision-making easier for this one.
Leipzig, on the other hand, are playing to advance and bring home the silverware from this competition. They are currently tied for fourth in the Bundesliga after losing on Monday, but now sit 19 points behind first-place Bayern Munich. They’ll likely use their strongest side once again for the second leg.
After beating SPAL on Sunday, Napoli has now won a club-record 9 league matches in a row. But despite the domestic success, they have shown a lack of desire in European competitions as they focus primarily on bringing the Scudetto back to the South.
Sarri’s squad rotation has been criticized throughout the year, in both Serie A and European matches. But the fact remains, with the shortcomings in the January mercato and the rash of injuries to key players, Napoli’s current depth is not its biggest strength.
Whether or not they were right to throw away an opportunity in the Champions League is always debatable, but at this point, it makes sense to take a quiet exit from European competitions and go all in for the campionato.
By Pete Winter Follow @pwinter7