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Napoli in need of Feyenoord fillip

Both Napoli and Feyenoord lost in the opening round of Group F matches, and need a quick response as they meet for the first time at the Stadio San Paolo.

Dries Mertens has enjoyed success against Feyenoord in the past
Dries Mertens has enjoyed success against Feyenoord in the past ©Getty Images

Beaten on matchday one, SSC Napoli and Feyenoord meet for the first time in the second round of Group F matches with neither daring to slip further off the pace.

Napoli went down 2-1 at FC Shakhtar Donetsk first time out while Feyenoord suffered their heaviest European home defeat in losing 4-0 against Manchester City FC. To get back on track, the Rotterdam team must aim for a first win against Italian opposition since 2002, although Napoli arguably face an even stiffer challenge: they have never overcome Dutch opponents in four previous attempts. 

Match background

• Napoli are in the group stage for the second year in a row. In 2016/17, the Partenopei lost to eventual champions Real Madrid CF in the round of 16, succumbing 3-1 both away and at home.

• Last season's defeat by Real Madrid was only Napoli's second loss in their last 22 European home fixtures (W14 D6).

• In last year's group stage, Napoli picked up four points at home, beating SL Benfica 4-2 but losing 3-2 against Beşiktaş JK.

• The Italian side qualified for this season's group stage by seeing off OGC Nice 2-0 both home and away in the play-offs.

• Napoli's home record against Dutch opposition is W0 D1 L1. They drew 0-0 with FC Utrecht in their first home encounter, in the 2010/11 UEFA Europa League group stage, also drawing 3-3 away; the Neapolitans then lost both away (0-3) – with Dries Mertens getting the hosts' second goal – and home (1-3) to PSV Eindhoven at the same stage of the same competition in 2012/13. Edinson Cavani scored all four of their goals against Eredivisie clubs.

• The Dutch team's overall record against Serie A sides reads W4 D4 L4; away it is W2 D1 L3.

• Feyenoord have not beaten an Italian opponent, home or away, since a 1-0 success at FC Internazionale Milano in the semi-final first leg of their triumphant UEFA Cup campaign in 2001/02. Their record since is D3 L2.

• A 3-0 victory at R. Standard de Liège in the UEFA Europa League group stage on 12 December 2014 is Feyenoord's only win in their last 15 European away games (D3 L11).

• Feyenoord's last away victory in the UEFA Champions League, group stage to final, was the 1-0 triumph at Newcastle United FC on 24 September 2002.

• Having lifted a first Eredivisie title in 18 years last term, Feyenoord are now in the last 32 of the UEFA Champions League for the first time since 2002/03, when they were eliminated in the first group stage.

• The Rotterdammers lost in the third qualifying round in both 2012/13 (to FC Dynamo Kyiv) and 2014/15 (to Beşiktaş JK).

Coach and player links
• Mertens played in the Netherlands with AGOVV Appeldorn (2007–09), Utrecht (2009–11) and PSV (2011–13), winning the Dutch Cup with PSV in 2012.

• Mertens faced Feyenoord nine times in league and cup (W3 D2 L4), scoring twice.

• Arkadiusz Milik was at AFC Ajax between 2014 and 2016, netting 32 times in 52 Eredivisie outings, including two draws with Feyenoord.

• Kevin Diks is on loan at Feyenoord from ACF Fiorentina, for whom his second and most recent league appearance was a 3-3 draw with Napoli on 22 December 2016.

• Played together:
Pepe Reina & Brad Jones (Liverpool FC, 2010–13)

• Feyenoord coach Giovanni van Bronckhorst scored in the Netherlands' 3-0 win against Italy in the UEFA EURO 2008 group stage.

Match facts

• Including the final five games of last season, Napoli have won their last 11 Serie A matches, most recently a 3-2 success at SPAL 2013 on Saturday – a new club record. The Serie A record is 17, set by FC Internazionale Milano in 2006/07.

• Victory at SPAL was Napoli's seventh straight away win in the league – another club record.

• The Partenopei have scored 13 goals in three fixtures since matchday one, defeating Benevento 6-0 and SS Lazio 4-1 before Saturday's 3-2 win.

• Mertens registered a hat-trick, his third for Napoli since early December, against Benevento.

• Mertens has six goals in six league appearances this term.

• Summer signing Adam Ounas, fit again after a thigh injury, made his Napoli debut as a second-half substitute against Benevento.

• Arkadiusz Milik limped out of Napoli's 3-2 win over SPAL on Saturday having injured his right knee. He tore his cruciate ligament in his left knee last October.

• Steven Berghuis was sent off as Feyenoord suffered their first league defeat of the season on 17 September, losing 1-0 at PSV.

• Berghuis opened the scoring three days later as Feyenoord returned to winning ways by defeating ADO Den Haag 2-0 at home in the Dutch Cup round of 64.

• Nicolai Jørgensen has not played since sustaining a hamstring injury against Heracles Almelo on 9 September.