Preview: Napoli accept Barcelona in the first leg of the 1/8 finals of the Champions League

Amazing, but the way of the Neapolitans and Catalans earlier in the English capital. These teams currently have played just three friendlies. The last one is dated last summer. In Michigan in a pre-season tournament “the international Champions Cup” Lionel Messi and company defeated the rival with the score 4:0.

“Napoli” and “Barcelona” have never met in official matches

But since then both clubs have been tremendous changes. The most important thing – they now have new coaches. If intermediate results that Gennaro Gattuso that Quique of Setien, cope with their work. Although at first there were plenty of problems. Especially Gattuso.

Gennaro headed Napoli in a time when almost all leaders had a falling out with club owner Aurelio De Laurentiis, and the team was at the bottom of the standings. The start of a career specialist in the camp of Neapolitans turned out not too successful. But slowly, things got better. In the last five rounds, Napoli have won four and rose to sixth place. And there already and to the Champions League zone in the neighborhood.

the Results of the Italians in European cups is not impressive. They are only my third time out in the 1/8 finals. Interestingly, in previous cases, “Napoli” was inferior to the eventual winners of the competition. In 2012, the team lost to Chelsea, and after five years – “real”.

Photo: AP Photo / Joan Monfort Napoli V Barcelona live broadcast of the match of 1/8 final of the Champions League

– We want to improve. We have a chance for the first time in history to reach the quarterfinals of the Champions League. And believe me, Napoli will do everything possible to achieve the goal, ‘ said Gattuso. – We are up against a great team, consisting of stars Mironew level. I and my players are proud to play against a stronger club, dominant in Europe the last 10-15 years. However, I want to stress that we are not afraid of anyone.

And still the clear favorite of this confrontation is “Barcelona”. In favor of the Catalans statistics: the team does not pass the 1/8 finals of the Champions League since 2005. In 13 of 15 draws for the period of the “blue garnet” pressed right on. Since 2007, the club has consistently overcome the first hurdle of the playoffs of the main European competition.

Most importantly – an amazing form of scored Lionel Messi. The Argentine played in all the tournaments ten meetings, scoring eight goals and giving seven assists. At the weekend, Messi scored a poker match with the “Eibar” (5:0) and increased the gap from the striker of real Madrid Karim Benzema in the list of the best scorers in the Examples. The assets of the Lionel 18 goals, the Frenchman five or less.

– Messi is doing it for 14-15 years. And he will continue to be the best. Of course, he’s the strongest in the world. Messi is doing what others can not, – said the chief coach of “Barcelona” kike of Setien. – As for Napoli, we are waiting for a difficult match. They can be very bright, and in the best traditions of Calcio (Italian for soccer) is more reliable in defence and catch them on the break. We are waiting for an interesting confrontation.

In contrast to the “Napoli” with “Barcelona” “Chelsea” and “Bavaria” not once competed in the competition. Each of the five previous matches turned out rich on events. And the main meeting between these teams was in 2012, when the Champions League final in Munich “Bavaria” has conceded to the British. While the Germans were winning until the 87th minute. But Didier Drogba’s goal sent the game to extra time and penalties “blue” was stronger.

What you need to know about the upcoming European championship in football

By the way, in the final for Chelsea played Frank Lampard. The current head coach of the London club admits the match will forever remain in his memory.

– of Course, it is not forgotten. Then I the only time in his career won the Champions League. Actually, I really like to participate in this tournament. Here, even tiny moments are important. I’m not upset that we got Bayern. A strong contender at the start of the playoffs is motivating. If we get to the final, playing with weak teams, then do not feel fun, ‘ said Lampard.

“Bavaria” is coming to duel with the English club proud. One of the leaders of Bayern’s Thomas Muller is sure that his team is the favorite in this pair.

– they Have young skilled players who are able to deliver hassle. We need to study their cards. This is not to say that Chelsea is the best club of Europe. We shouldn’t be afraid of it, says Mueller.

I Agree with Muller the former captain of Bayern and the German national team Lothar Matthaus, who in the eve of the match gave an interview to German media.

“Bavaria” – a clear favorite. It is not such a strong Chelsea past with such performers as Ballack, Terry, Lampard and Drogba. We are significantly ahead of the opponent in almost all aspects, – says Matthaus.

Where to watch

February 25, Tuesday, Match TV

22.50 Chelsea – Bayern. Video stream.

the Match! Football 1

22.45 “Napoli” – “Barcelona”. Video stream.