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Napoli have point to prove as Dortmund visit

Borussia Dortmund's bid to go one better than last season's run to the UEFA Champions League final starts at SSC Napoli, in the group stage for only the second time.

Napoli are back in the UEFA Champions League
Napoli are back in the UEFA Champions League ©AFP/Getty Images

SSC Napoli begin only their second UEFA Champions League group-stage campaign with the visit of Borussia Dortmund, last season's runners-up.

Previous meetings
• In the first competitive meeting between the teams, new Napoli coach Rafael Benítez will be hoping to improve on the club's recent record against German opponents – no wins and five defeats in the last seven fixtures.

• Their overall record is W3 D4 L7 while at home it is W3 D1 L3. 

• Napoli's last victory over a German side was a hugely significant moment when, with Diego Maradona in his pomp, they beat VfB Stuttgart 2-1 at home before drawing 3-3 away to lift their only European trophy, the 1989 UEFA Cup.

• In that campaign they also beat two other German opponents: 1. FC Lokomotive Leipzig, 3-1 on aggregate in the second round, and FC Bayern München, 4-2 on aggregate in the semi-finals.

• This is Dortmund's first Italian examination since the 2008/09 UEFA Cup first round tie with Udinese Calcio in which the away team prevailed 2-0 in both legs, the German club losing 4-3 on penalties. Gökhan Inler scored Udinese's second goal in the first leg.

• Dortmund, who are in their ninth UEFA Champions League campaign, did not beat Italian opponents until their eighth fixture. In a total of 27 games their record is W9 D4 L14; in Italy it is W4 D1 L8.

Match background
• Benítez enjoyed winning starts in his first UEFA Champions League group stage games with three of his previous clubs – Chelsea FC, Liverpool FC and Valencia CF. His first fixture for FC Internazionale Milano ended in a draw.

• Since returning to continental competition in 2008 after an absence of 13 years, Napoli had established a formidable home record and went unbeaten in 14 matches before PSV Eindhoven won 3-1 at the Stadio San Paolo in last season's UEFA Europa League group stage. It was the Serie A side's first home loss since a December 1994 defeat by Eintracht Frankfurt in the UEFA Cup third round.

• FC Viktoria Plzeň were also victorious in Naples last season, winning 3-0 in the round of 32 en route to a 5-0 aggregate triumph, meaning Napoli have lost their last two European home games.

• Dortmund's greatest moment came when they beat an Italian team, Juventus, 3-1 in Munich to lift the 1997 UEFA Champions League. Last season was their most successful campaign since then, remaining unbeaten until the semi-final second leg when they lost 2-0 at Real Madrid CF.

• That did not prevent Jürgen Klopp's team, 4-1 winners in the home leg, from advancing to the Wembley final where domestic rivals Bayern beat them 2-1. İlkay Gündoğan's penalty brought Dortmund level after Mario Mandžukić's opener only for Arjen Robben's late goal to prove decisive.

• An earlier visit to Santiago Bernabéu in last season's group stage had ended 2-2 while Dortmund also drew 1-1 at Manchester City FC and won 4-1 at AFC Ajax in the group stage. In the knockout rounds they drew 2-2 at FC Shakhtar Donetsk and 0-0 at Málaga CF before the return trip to the Spanish capital.

• Dortmund were 1-0 winners at home to Ajax in their opening fixture last season, ending a run of four matchday one fixtures without a victory (three draws, one defeat). Napoli, meanwhile, drew 1-1 at Manchester City FC on matchday one in 2011/12.

Team ties
• Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang started his career in AC Milan's youth system while Sokratis Papastathopoulos was with the Rossoneri in 2010/11, appearing five times in Serie A.

• Papastathopoulos also featured for Genoa CFC between 2008 and 2010 where he was a team-mate of Giandomenico Mesto.

• Henrikh Mkhitaryan scored in Armenia's 3-1 defeat by Christian Maggio's Italy in a 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifier in Yerevan on 12 October 2012.

• Nuri Şahin played alongside Higuaín, José María Callejón and Raúl Albiol at Real Madrid in 2011/12. While on loan at Liverpool last season he was a team-mate of Pepe Reina.

• Gonzalo Higuaín took part in all four Real Madrid games against Dortmund last season but did not score. Callejón was a substitute in the 2-2 draw in Madrid while Raúl Albiol was an unused replacement in all four encounters.

• Mats Hummels and Marco Reus scored in Germany's 5-3 defeat by Inler's Switzerland in Basel on 26 May 2012. Marcel Schmelzer, Sven Bender and Gündoğan also played for Germany.

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