Napoli - Union Berlin predictions and free betting tips [08/11/2023]
On Wednesday, 8th November as part of the 4th round of the Champions League group stage, Napoli will face Union at home. The hosts occupy the second position on the tournament table, holding six points, and with yet another positive result, they could get in close proximity to advancing to the playoffs.
Napoli: Meret; Di Lorenzo, Natan, Rrahmani, Rui; Zielinski, Lobotka, Anguissa; Politano, Raspadori, Kvaratskhelia.
Union: Ronnow; Bonucci, Leite, Knoche; Juranovic, Khedira, Laidouni, Gosens; Becker, Behrens, Fofana.
The match will take place at the Diego Maradona Stadium in Naples.
Napoli, the current champion of Italy, started in this group as a favourite with Real Madrid and lived up to fans' expectations, despite a tough start to their Champions League campaign. The only downside for Naples was a 2:3 defeat in the second round against Los Blancos. Following this failure, Rudi Garcia's wards suffered a defeat against Fiorentina (1:3) in Serie A. Since then, Napoli have gone three games undefeated across all competitions, including victories over Verona (1:3) and Union Berlin (0:1) secured two weeks ago. This past weekend, the team played their fourth consecutively undefeated match, taking all three points away against Salernitana (0:2). Interesting fact: Napoli never suffered consecutive home defeats in the Champions League history, hence, the hosts will aim for success on Wednesday.
The Neapolitans will continue without their top goal scorer Victor Osimhen (6 goals in 8 matches for the national team), who is still injured and ruled out for the next two weeks. Juan Jesus is also unavailable due to injury. As for the rest of the players, head coach Rudi Garcia has an optimal lineup at his disposal, including Georgian Kvaratskhelia (3 goals, 3 assists in the championship) and Italian Politano (5 goals, 3 assists in the championship). Players like Zielinski (2 goals, 2 assists) and Raspadori (3 goals, 2 assists, leading goal scorer of the championship this past weekend) will feature spearheading the sky-blue attack. The Brazilian defender Nathan is back from a one-match suspension and might step on the field for the third consecutive time in the Champions League, likely in place of Leo Ostigard.
Union Berlin, participating in the Champions League for the first time in their history and failing to secure a single point after the group stage, lags nine points behind the first place Real Madrid. Obviously, a defeat on Wednesday evening puts the Germans' playoff qualification at risk, and they'll have to settle with a fight for the 3rd spot which enables a ticket to the Europa League.
But even in this case... it's hard to believe in such a scenario for the Berliners, who had a dismal run of 11 straight defeats in all competitions before meeting Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday... Eventually, succumbing to the Eagles at home 0:3, the team suffered their 12th defeat across all competitions – a disaster! Only two other teams, besides Union, haven't secured a single point in the 2023-24 Champions League - Benfica and Antwerp.
The match, which took place two weeks ago, was the first-ever encounter between these clubs, and it was Napoli who emerged victorious (0:1).
Match Prediction – Napoli vs Union
It is vital for Union Berlin to win, otherwise, they risk elimination from the Champions League. However, it's hard to believe in such an outcome: the visitors are in deep crisis and have suffered 12 (!) defeats in a row in all competitions. Clearly, Napoli are currently superior in class, so I'm betting on a victory for the Sky Blues with a -1 handicap.
Total Goals Prediction
Even without Osimhen in their ranks, there are enough players capable of scoring for the Neapolitans: Kvaratskhelia, Raspadori, Simeone and Politano are all available. As Union are prone to conceding against anyone and everyone, I am betting on Napoli's individual total over 1.5 goals.
Corner Kick Prediction
With the backing of their home fan base, Napoli will dominate the majority of the game and win across all key stats, including corner kicks (handicap -1.5).
Yellow Card Prediction
Considering the tournament significance of this encounter, a surge of yellow cards seems unavoidable (4 were shown 2 weeks ago) - over 3.5 total bookings.
I'm predicting an exact score of 2:0 in favour of Napoli.