Group A leaders Bayern München face their nemesis from last season’s UEFA Champions League when they visit Napoli on matchday three.
It was Napoli‘s Goran Pandev who scored the goal that eliminated Bayern München in the last 16 in March, his 88th-minute strike earning former club FC Internazionale Milano an away-goals victory, although a thigh strain is likely to rule out the striker on matchday three.
Including their 2010 UEFA Champions League final defeat by Inter in which Pandev also played, this is Bayern’s 12th meeting with Italian opposition in four seasons and they should travel to Naples in good heart after successive wins against Villarreal CF and Manchester City FC.
Second-placed Napoli have cause for optimism too after beating Villarreal last time out, though they have had mixed fortunes in the past against Jupp Heynckes’ teams.
Heynckes was in his first spell as Bayern coach when the clubs met in the 1988/89 UEFA Cup semi-finals, Napoli taking a 2-0 advantage in the first leg with Careca and Andrea Carnevale scoring. Careca struck twice more in the 2-2 return in Germany, Roland Wohlfarth and Stefan Reuter replying for Bayern. Napoli beat VfB Stuttgart in the subsequent final to claim their first European trophy.
Napoli are defending an impressive home record in Europe. Since returning to continental competition after 13 years in 2008, they are unbeaten in nine matches and have not conceded a goal in the last six.
However, the last foreign team to prevail in Naples were their most recent German visitors, an Eintracht Frankfurt side coached by Heynckes who triumphed there in the UEFA Cup third round in December 1994. Heynckes’s Eintracht won both ties 1-0 but lost to Juventus in the next round.
Napoli‘s overall home record against German clubs is: W3 D0 L3.
Bayern München visited Italy twice in each of the past two seasons. Last term they lost a two-goal lead in a 3-2 defeat by AS Roma in the UEFA Champions League group stage, then won 1-0 at Inter. In 2009/10 they triumphed 4-1 at Juventus in the group stage and went down 3-2 at ACF Fiorentina in the round of 16, although they still progressed on away goals.
The Bavarian side’s record away to Italian teams is: W5 D2 L9.