After a 1-1 draw in the first leg, we’re set up for an exciting encounter at the Lluís Companys Olympic Stadium. We look ahead to the clash with our Barcelona vs Napoli prediction and preview.

Barcelona vs Napoli Stats: The Quick Hits

  • The Opta supercomputer makes Barcelona the favourites, with the hosts defeating Napoli inside 90 minutes in 49.2% of the pre-match predictions.
  • Barcelona have progressed to the next round on 20 out of 21 occasions when avoiding defeat away from home in the first leg of a UEFA Champions League knockout tie.
  • Napoli have never beaten Barcelona in European competition in five attempts (L2 D3).

Match Preview

Barcelona will be hoping to utilise their home advantage when they host Napoli at Estadi Olímpic Lluís Companys on Tuesday for a winner-takes-all UEFA Champions League clash between two sides battling for quarter-final progression after a 1-1 draw in the first leg in Naples.

It was a tale of two talismanic strikers in that first leg on 21 February, with Robert Lewandowski opening the scoring in the 60th minute before Victor Osimhen’s equaliser 15 minutes later left this enticing European tie firmly in the balance.

Lewandowski has been involved in 18 goals in his last 12 appearances in the knockout rounds of the Champions League, scoring 12 and assisting six. Overall, he’s now on 93 goals in the competition, behind only all-time UCL top scorer Cristiano Ronaldo (140) and Lionel Messi (129). He’s been involved in 11 goals in his last 10 games against Italian sides in the competition (seven goals, four assists) – a warning not heeded by Napoli in the first encounter.

Yet Osimhen’s equaliser, spinning a flailing Iñigo Martínez before converting past Marc-André ter Stegen, also marked his ninth Champions League goal, the joint-most by a Nigerian player in the history of UEFA’s top club tournament (level with Obafemi Martins).

Osimhen Champions League Goals

That late salvaging act left Barcelona with only two clean sheets in their last 14 matches in the competition. Among teams to have played 10+ Champions League since the start of last season, only Celtic (0) have recorded fewer shutouts than Xavi’s men (2).

Xavi has already confirmed his intention to leave the Catalan club at the end of this term, but many eyes were on the Napoli dugout in the opening leg as Francesco Calzona took charge of his first game with the Partenopei after the sacking of Walter Mazzarri.

Indeed, having also dismissed Rudi Garcia earlier in the 2023-24 campaign, Napoli became just the third Italian side to have three different managers in a single Champions League season after Inter in 2003-04 and Roma in 2004-05 (both three), but it remains unclear whether president Aurelio De Laurentiis will reap the rewards for another hasty decision.

Calzona may look to utilise a similar method as last season’s Scudetto-winning coach Luciano Spalletti, who got the best out of Khvicha Kvaratskhelia and the injury-prone Osimhen as the pair linked up with clinical creativity in abundance when spearheading Napoli’s attack.

Speedy Georgian winger Kvaratskhelia has completed 61 dribbles in 16 Champions League appearances for Napoli, already the most by any player of the Italian side in their history in the competition. His per-90 average of 4.3 completed dribbles is more than twice as many as any other Napoli player to have played 900+ minutes in the competition (1.9 – Lorenzo Insigne).

Barcelona have their own wing wizard, though, as Lamine Yamal – aged 16 years and 223 days at the time of the first leg – became the youngest player ever to appear in a knockout game in the Champions League, and could also become the first 16-year-old to score a goal in the Champions League.

Xavi’s Blaugrana were 1-0 winners on Friday in La Liga against Mallorca but have numerous injury issues. Frenkie de Jong, Pedri, Gavi, Ferran Torres, Alejandro Balde and Marcos Alonso are all out, while Raphinha may be a doubt. Ronald Araújo could at least return in defence.

Meanwhile, Calzona’s Serie A side are unbeaten since his appointment, overcoming Sassuolo and Juventus as well as draws at Cagliari and – most recently – Torino. In terms of pre-match team news, Jens Cajuste and Cyril Ngonge may miss out through injury, while Amir Rrahmani was an unused substitute in Friday’s 1-1 draw after a thigh issue.

Barcelona vs Napoli Head-to-Head

Barcelona will fancy their chances of progressing here, considering the reigning Spanish champions remain unbeaten in their five meetings with Napoli in all competitions, alternating between a draw (three) and a win (two) each time.

Expect goals in this one, too, given both teams have scored in all five of the previous meetings between Barcelona and Napoli in all competitions, with Barcelona winning 4-2 and 3-1, as well as three 1-1 draws.

The most recent 1-1 meeting in late February was evenly matched, with Napoli accumulating 0.87 expected goals (xG) compared to Barcelona’s 0.69 xG, despite Xavi’s visitors enjoying six shots on target to the Italian side’s one.

Napoli 1-1 Barcelona

Recent Form

Barcelona have failed to win any of their last four Champions League knockout matches (D2 L2) since beating Tuesday’s opponents Napoli 3-1 in the second leg of the 2019-20 round of 16. However, the Catalan club have never gone five without a win in the knockouts of the competition before.

The omens are positive for the hosts, too, as when Barcelona have avoided defeat away from home in the first leg of a Champions League knockout tie, they’ve progressed to the next round on 20 out of 21 occasions. The only exception was in their first such instance, drawing 1-1 at Juventus in the 2002-03 quarter-final before losing 2-1 at home (in extra time).

In stark contrast and worryingly for the visitors, Napoli have been eliminated on each of the previous 11 occasions they’ve failed to win the first leg of a major European competition knockout tie at home. The most recent such instance was against Barcelona in the 2019-20 Champions League, drawing 1-1 at home before the aforementioned 3-1 defeat.

Yet not all hope is lost for last season’s Scudetto winners; Napoli have won five of their eight Champions League away games since the start of 2022-23 (L3), as many as they had in their previous 21 on the road in the competition (D6 L10).

Opta Power Rankings

The Opta Power Rankings are a global team ranking system that assigns an ability score to over 13,000 domestic football teams on a scale between zero and 100, where zero is the worst-ranked team in the world and 100 is the best team in the world.

Ahead of kick-off on Tuesday, here is the Opta Power Ranking for both sides.

Barcelona vs Napoli Prediction

Barcelona vs Napoli Prediction

It is last-chance saloon for both sides needing a win to qualify. Barcelona triumphed inside 90 minutes in 49.2% of 10,000 pre-match simulations by the Opta supercomputer, while Napoli were victorious in just 26.4%.

A draw is what neither side should set out for, with that result sending the last-16 clash to extra time – and, possibly, penalties – but was predicted at 24.4% in the same data-led model.

Barca are the seventh favourites to win the Champions League at 2.9% in Opta’s tournament prediction, though their semi-final chances are rated at 23.0%, while Napoli have just a 12.1% likelihood of reaching the last four and 1.1% chance of winning the competition.

Barcelona vs Napoli UCL Squads

Barcelona: Marc-André ter Stegen, Iñaki Peña, Áron Yaakobishvili, João Cancelo, Alejandro Balde, Ronald Araújo, Iñigo Martínez, Andreas Christensen, Marcos Alonso, Jules Koundé, Gavi, Pedri, Oriol Romeu, Sergi Roberto, Frenkie de Jong, Ilkay Gündogan, Unai Hernandez, Ferran Torres, Robert Lewandowski, Raphinha, João Félix, Vitor Roque, Pau Victor, Lamine Yamal.

Head Coach: Xavi

Napoli: Alex Meret, Nikita Contini, Pierluigi Gollini, Natan, Juan Jesus, Mário Rui, Amir Rrahmani, Mathías Olivera, Giovanni Di Lorenzo, Pasquale Mazzocchi, Leo Østigård, Alessio Mazzone, Hamed Traorè, Jesper Lindstrøm, Jens Cajuste, Francesco Gioielli, Manuel Legnanat, Alessandro Spavone, Stanislav Lobotka, Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa, Victor Osimhen, Giovanni Simeone, Matteo Politano, Cyril Ngonge, Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, Giacomo Raspadori.

Head Coach: Francesco Calzona

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