An amazing Champions League encounter is taking place tonight in Southern Italy, where 14-time winners Real Madrid are taking on current Italian champions Napoli. Both sides came away with very late victories in the first matchday against their respective rivals, not putting in entirely convincing performances: Real overcame Union Berlin at the Bernabeu following a Bellingham tap in towards the last minute of the match, while Napoli struggled against Braga in the second half, but eventually overcame the Portuguese side thanks to an unlucky own goal. 

Since then, both sides’ forms have been quite unsteady: Napoli drew away to newly promoted Genoa after winning big versus Udinese and Lecce recently, scoring 4 goals in both encounters. Real lost the Madrid derby away to Atletico but also defeated Las Palmas and Girona without conceding this past week. Bellingham and Osimhen continue to shine for their respective sides and will probably be the key to unlocking this game, although the return of Vinicius Jr to the starting lineup for Real Madrid is a more than welcome sight for Los Blancos, as it will allow Bellingham to return to his best position in the number 10 role. The game will be won in midfield, where the explosiveness of Real’s young core – consisting of Tchouameni, Belingam and Camavinga – will clash with Napoli’s more possession-focused outlook consisting of Zielinski, Anguissa and Lobotka. 

This will be a hotly contested affair, as both sides will want to obtain first spot in this group: Napoli have scored 10 goals in their last 3 outings, so its plausible to incur that both sides will likely score, and there could be a mesmerizing back-and-forth between the sides. It is important to point out that both sides come into this match without being able to field their preferred center back pairing. In Real’s case, Eder Militao is likely out for the remainder of the season, while Alaba will return after the international break. Similarly, Napoli will be unable to count on Rrahmani and Juan Jesus for this important clash. We predict a draw in this one, as the odds could not be more balanced, although if we had to choose a winner, it’s hard to bet against Real in this competition.  

For more analysis on the upcoming Champions League matchday, check out the following article: