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Napoli out to protect proud record against AIK

SSC Napoli host AIK Solna for the first time as Walter Mazzarri's men aim to negotiate a third consecutive successful group stage and protect an excellent record at the Stadio San Paolo.

Kwame Karikari (left) scored in AIK's win at CSKA Moskva in the play-offs
Kwame Karikari (left) scored in AIK's win at CSKA Moskva in the play-offs ©Getty Images

SSC Napoli are looking to make it three successful group stages in a row as they take on AIK Solna at the start of their UEFA Europa League Group F campaign.

Previous meetings
• The sides are meeting for the first time in European competition.

• Napoli's only previous experience of Swedish opponents saw them get the better of IF Elfsborg in the 2010/11 UEFA Europa League play-offs, winning 1-0 in Naples and 2-0 in Boras. Thus, they have yet to concede against Swedish teams.

• AIK, meanwhile, have not scored in four meetings with Italian sides, with their record reading W0 D1 L3 (W0 D1 L1 at home – W0 D0 L2 in Italy).

Match background
• Walter Mazzarri's Italian Cup holders are back in the group stage for a second time, having made it through to the knockout phase on their debut in 2010/11. They then qualified for last season's UEFA Champions League group stage, and reached the round of 16, where they lost to eventual winners Chelsea FC.

• Napoli are unbeaten in 14 European home games (ten wins and four draws), a run which stretches back to a 1-0 UEFA Cup third round loss to Eintracht Frankfurt on 7 December 1994.

• AIK are playing in the group stage of this competition for the first time, but played in the UEFA Champions League group stage under Englishman Stuart Baxter in 1999/2000, registering their only point with a 0-0 draw against another Italian side, Giovanni Trapattoni's ACF Fiorentina.

• AIK won two of their three away games in qualifying, beating FH Hafnarfjördur (1-0) and PFC CSKA Moskva (2-0) either side of a 1-0 loss at KKS Lech Poznań.

Team facts
• Napoli are playing their 100th game in UEFA club competition; the previous 99 ended W42 D31 L26.

• With Helsingborgs IF also having qualified, this is the first time that more than one Swedish club has competed in the group stage of a UEFA competition in the same season.

• AIK striker Henok Goitom was under contract at Udinese Calcio from 2004-07, scoring in his only Serie A appearance, as a substitute against FC Internazionale Milano. Much of his time in Italy was spent out on loan with Spanish side CF Ciudad de Murcia. His Udinese team-mates included Napoli goalkeeper Morgan De Sanctis (2004-07) and right-back Andrea Dossena (2006-07).

• Napoli coach Mazzarri spent most of his playing career as a central defender outside Serie A, and after assisting Renzo Ulivieri as Napoli boss, struck out on his own. He worked his way up the divisions as a coach, before reaching Serie A with AS Livorno Calcio and Reggina FC, guiding UC Sampdoria through the 2008/09 UEFA Cup group stage and then taking command at Napoli in October 2009.

• AIK coach since December 2010, Andreas Alm played for Stockholm rivals Hammarby before coming to his current club as a striker from 2000-03. After hanging up his boots, Alm worked as a TV summariser and then joined the coaching staff at AIK, helping them to win a 2009 domestic double under Mikael Stahre, and assisted two further coaches before taking sole command.

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