UEFA.com works better on other browsers
For the best possible experience, we recommend using Chrome, Firefox or Microsoft Edge.

Preview: Athletic v Napoli

Athletic Club can inaugurate the new San Mamés by making the most of an away goal to beat SSC Napoli and end a 16-year group stage exile – Ernesto Valverde is backing his side.

Ernesto Valverde during the first leg
Ernesto Valverde during the first leg ©Getty Images

• Athletic Club welcome SSC Napoli to Bilbao after a 1-1 play-off draw in Italy
• Ernesto Valverde is looking forward to the first big match in the new San Mamés
• Athletic are at full strength as they aim to end a 16-year group stage absence
 Rafael Benítez points to Napoli's record-breaking away form last season
• He said his team are "a work in progress"

Possible lineups
: Iraizoz; Susaeta, Gurpegui, Laporte, De Marcos, Balenziaga, Iturraspe, Rico, Beñat, Muniain, Aduriz.
Out: none

Napoli: Cabral; Ghoulam, Henrique, Albiol, Koulibaly, Callejón, Jorginho, Hamsik, Gargano, Mertens, Higuaín.
Out: none

Ernesto Valverde, Athletic coach
We think we are ready for this but we'll have to wait and see the result tomorrow. The players are really focused and motivated, they've been thinking about this match for months. The moment has come and the players should know how to manage that intensity.

Tomorrow we play in San Mamés – after completion this summer, the full new stadium will be inaugurated, so it's a special match. At similar games last season the team always responded well.

Tomorrow's match is a final because one of us will be eliminated. But today we're better than in the first leg against Napoli as we had a few players who were playing in the Champions League for the first time, so some will at least have that experience now. We are aware of Napoli's potential, we are aware of what they have up front.

At San Paolo we had some difficulties after their equaliser, but we also had very good phases when we could have taken a bigger advantage. Teams should be prepared to avoid those difficult moments, but if they can't avoid them, we should know how to react. It's also good to acknowledge that it's very difficult to dominate all the time, it's good to know what to do when your team have the initiative and when they lose it.

Rafael Benítez, Napoli coach
For Napoli, nothing changes whether we win or lose. This a work in progress and we are developing, we'll keep improving the club's structure for the future and for all other competitions.

Athletic are a team that enjoy having the ball and using it. They like to attack and especially as they are in front of their fans they'll probably try to score from the very beginning. Athletic should show what they can do to their supporters. We will try to do the same. Last year we had loads of possession and we scored loads of goals. Both teams are similar, I think we'll share possession.

I know Athletic have been out of the Champions League for 16 years, they have little to lose because they feel they have succeeded already, but they also have a lot to lose as they are very close to qualifying. That can create nervousness and anxiety.

Just because we have to score, our game plan has not changed. We know we have to come here and win and that has not changed. Last year we won ten matches away, a Napoli record.

Weekend results
Málaga CF 1-0 Athletic (Luis Alberto 35)
Napoli: did not play

Form guide (all competitions)
Athletic: LD
Napoli: D

Match fact
• Which Athletic defender did Napoli coach Rafael Benítez sign during his tenure as Liverpool FC manager? Find out in our extensive match background.