Napoli vs Eintracht Frankfurt: Situation Dictates Champions League Best Bet

Napoli vs Eintracht Frankfurt: Situation Dictates Champions League Best Bet article feature image

DeFodi Images/Getty. Pictured: Alex Meret.

Napoli vs Eintracht Frankfurt Odds

Wed, Mar. 15
4 p.m. ET

Napoli Odds


Eintracht Frankfurt Odds

Over/Under2.5 (-150 / +120)
Both Teams to Score (Yes/No)(-125 / -106)
Odds via bet365. Get the latest soccer odds here.

Napoli went on the road to Frankfurt and handled the inferior German side with relative ease in the first leg of the Champions League round of 16. Not only did Napoli win the match 2-0 away from home to return home with a commanding lead, but Frankfurt lost star striker Randal Kolo Muani to a red card and he's suspended for the return leg in Italy on Wednesday.

The Italian side outshot Frankfurt 17-5 in that match and created 2.8 xG compared to just 0.4 for the hosts in the first leg. Eintracht tried to set up in a direct counterattacking plan and didn't really press Napoli high to disrupt their possession. As a result, Napoli completed 87% of their passes and had 21 more attacking penalty area touches.

Frankfurt have nothing to lose by giving it a go and trying to play more expansive soccer in the second leg. But as the inferior team, that has inherent risks, as shown by Club Brugge's 5-1 beatdown loss to Benfica in Portugal last week.

Napoli in Prime Position to Make History

Napoli have never qualified for the quarterfinals of the Champions League in the club's history, so Wednesday is set to be a historic night for Luciano Spalletti's side in front of the home fans. It's another milestone in the midst of a historic season that sees them running away with the Serie A title thanks to breakout years from both Victor Osimhen and Khvicha Kvaratskhelia simultaneously.

The real question is whether Frankfurt can really push Napoli to get out of second gear for this match. Napoli are plenty good at doing conservative possession and their defense remains stellar. They haven't conceded more than 0.8 xGA in nine consecutive matches across all competitions, and Frankfurt's attack is already overrated and underperforming.

I'd look to back the favorite here if it really needed goals, but it seems unlikely Napoli will look to run up the score given how the first leg played out. They attempted just four shots in the final 20 minutes despite being 2-0 up and up a man.

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Eintracht Frankfurt

Frankfurt's attack has dropped off considerably in the last month when you look at their performances both domestically and abroad. The five shots they managed against Napoli in the first leg were the fewest they've had in any European match this season. Frankfurt then followed it with a 2-1 loss to Leipzig (0.8 xG), a 2-2 draw with Wolfsburg (0.6 xF) and a 1-1 draw with Stuttgart (0.7 xGF).

When the entire attack is built around creating high quality chances through direct attacks, you can run into rough patches of form and the floor of your attacking output isn't nearly as high. Frankfurt's shot numbers have always been mediocre, and the 1-2 big chances they'd produce every match have just not really been coming.

Frankfurt have still managed to score goals in most of these matches, but it's not because of good underlying process. Given their shot numbers, quality of chances created and output this season, there's more regression looming for Eintracht Frankfurt. This attack has now failed to produce at least 1 xG in seven of nine matches in all competitions. They've still finished at rates well above their xF, even during this cold stretch of finishing.

Kolo Muani is also a considerable loss for the attack as a whole. He averaged 1.01 goals + assists per 90 minutes this season and he was equally good as both a finisher and a chance creator. His xG + xA per 90 was considerably lower at just 0.66 — he's benefitted from Eintracht's good finishing run too — but that's elite striker level production that will be missing.

The expected starter in his place is Rafael Borré, who has produced 0.57 goals + assists per 90. His sample size from last season suggests he's right around that level, a considerable drop compared to Kolo Muani.

Napoli vs Eintracht Frankfurt Pick

Oliver Glasner and Eintracht Frankfurt's fairytale run through the Europa League last season and through the Champions League this season will come to an end on Wednesday night. Without Kolo Muani, Mario Gotze and Borré aren't enough to trouble a Napoli defense that has passed every test given to it this season.

The market has set a considerably higher total for this match than it did the last because Eintracht have to send numbers forward and take more chances. That could leave them vulnerable, but I'm also skeptical of them scoring more than one in this match to get Napoli into a more vulnerable position where they'd also need to push for more goals.

As a result, I'll be holding my nose and betting the under again at 3.

Pick: Under 3 (-130 or better)

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