Trabzonspor v Napoli preview
Wednesday, February 18, 2015
Trabzonspor AŞ are still on the lookout for their first springtime victory in UEFA competition as they welcome SSC Napoli in the UEFA Europa League round of 32.
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Trabzonspor AŞ's record in the UEFA Europa League round of 32 may be a concern as they prepare to take on SSC Napoli, who eliminated Swansea City AFC at this stage last season.
What they say
Ersun Yanal, Trabzonspor coach: "We are aware of Napoli's power. They have a deep and experienced squad. We have some players [Kevin Constant, Mehmet Ekici, Onur Kıvrak, Mustapha Yatabaré, Essaid Belkalem, Majeed Waris] missing for tomorrow, but the others are in good condition, which is how it should be. Our prmary aim is to win without conceding a goal."
Rafael Benítez, Napoli coach: "We have analysed Trabzonspor very well. They are playing very agressive football and do not lose their concentration during a game. We expect them to be especially motivated because they're playing against us. We have enough power to win the Europa League but we should proceed our journey one step at a time."
• The sides are meeting for the first time in UEFA competition, and it is Napoli's first encounter with Turkish opponents.
• Trabzonspor triumphed in their first meeting with Italian opponents – FC Internazionale Milano – in 1983 but have not won in their six home games against Serie A sides since (D3 L3). They were eliminated by Juventus in last season's UEFA Europa League round of 32.
• Trabzonspor have lost all four of their springtime UEFA club competition games to date (2-0 twice v Juventus; 2-1, 4-1 v PSV Eindhoven in 2012).
• The Black Sea side have won three of their four UEFA Europa League home games this season, the exception being a 1-0 home loss to Legia Warszawa.
• Napoli have won only one of their four European away games this season, but have not conceded in their last three UEFA Europa League games (W2 D1).
Trivia and links
• Trabzonspor's Ivorian midfielder Kévin Constant played in Italy with AC Chievo Verona, Genoa CFC and AC Milan. He and Napoli's Giandomenico Mesto were team-mates at Genoa during the 2011/12 season.
• Napoli (1989) are among 11 former UEFA Cup and UEFA Europa League winners in the round of 32 along with Tottenham Hotspur FC (1972, 1984), Liverpool FC (1973, 1976, 2001), VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach (1974, 1979), Feyenoord (1975, 2002), PSV Eindhoven (1978), RSC Anderlecht (1983), Inter (1991, 1994, 1998), AFC Ajax (1992), holders Sevilla FC (2006, 2007, 2014) and FC Zenit (2008).
• The attack-minded Ersun Yanal returned for a second spell as Trabzonspor boss in November, replacing former Yugoslavia striker Vahid Halilhodžić. Coach of Turkey from 2004 to 2005, the former MKE Ankaragüçü and Gençlerbirliği SK boss was in charge of the Black Sea club from 2007 to 2009, and more recently led Fenerbahçe SK to the 2013/14 Turkish title only to resign in the summer.
• Napoli coach since May 2013, Rafael Benítez won two Spanish titles and the 2003/04 UEFA Cup with Valencia CF, the 2004/05 UEFA Champions League with Liverpool FC and the 2012/13 UEFA Europa League with Chelsea FC. The Spaniard lifted the Coppa Italia in his first Napoli campaign. Benítez could match Giovanni Trapattoni in becoming only the second coach to win the UEFA Cup and UEFA Europa League for a third time.
• Benítez (Chelsea, 2013) is one of three coaches involved in the round of 32 who have won the UEFA Europa League since the competition took on its current incarnation, along with Zenit's André Villas-Boas (FC Porto, 2011) and Sevilla's Unai Emery (Sevilla, 2014). Benitez is the only coach in the last 32 to have won the UEFA Champions League.