Dnipro v Napoli: reaction and what to expect
Friday, 24 April 2015
Semi-final debutants FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk will take on SSC Napoli in the last four. UEFA.com sums up the reaction, uncovers the facts behind the tie and gets expert insight.
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Artem Fedetskiy, Dnipro defender
Every one of our players is gearing up for the game of their lives. We have to be successful in the semis to continue this journey and get to Warsaw. We are among the four best teams in the UEFA Europa League and that is great in itself. However, now we have a chance to achieve even more.
I remember everybody writing off our team during the group stage and now we are in semi-finals. Discipline trumps class in our case. Our coach Myron Markevych will study Napoli very thoroughly; we will prepare properly. We will see who succeeds.
Valeriy Fedorchuk, Dnipro midfielder
Few people believed we could get this far at the beginning of the season but now we are just a couple of steps from the final, they are looking at us very differently. We are not afraid of anybody now. Napoli are very strong, obviously, full of top-class players.
But we have wings now and will do our best to reach the final. The lads are totally focused on the next match; we don't have time to think about anything else. The schedule will see us playing two games a week and everyone will be decisive. It is a great challenge.
Rafael Benítez, Napoli coach
When you reach a European semi-final it means you are a top-level side. The victories Dnipro earned against Olimpiacos, Ajax and Club Brugge – who were undefeated until yesterday – bear witness to that. Playing the first leg at home doesn't make much difference to us. We saw that in the [round of 16] tie against Dinamo Moskva.
• Bogdan Buga, Dnipro: The biggest test yet for Dnipro. They came unstuck against Inter in the group stage but ultimately that did not matter. Necessity brings the best out of Myron Markevych's side and they have a habit of getting the result when it matters – just ask Olympiacos, Ajax and Club Brugge. They will have to keep it tight, though.
• Paolo Menicucci, Napoli: After eliminating Wolfsburg, Napoli face another team who have played against their Serie A rivals Inter this season. The Ukrainian side lost both games against the Nerazzurri in the group phase and Napoli should feel confident about their chances of reaching the final with Gonzalo Higuaín in top form.
Facts and figures
• These clubs met in the group stage of the 2012/13 UEFA Europa League; Dnipro won the home leg 3-1 (Fedetskiy 2, Matheus 42, Giuliano 64; Cavani 75pen) but Napoli won the return 4-2 (Cavani 7 77 88 90+3; Fedetskiy 34, Zozulya 52).
• Napoli's Benítez is seeking to become the first coach to lead three teams to UEFA Cup/UEFA Europa League glory (Valencia CF in 2004, Chelsea FC in 2013), matching Giovanni Trapattoni's record haul of three wins in the process.
• Dnipro's record in eight UEFA games against Italian sides is: W1 D1 L6 (W1 D1 L2 at home; W0 D0 L4 in Italy). They have lost their last five matches against Serie A opposition, including two encounters with FC Internazionale Milano in this season's group stage. Dnipro are Napoli's only previous Ukrainian opponents.
• Napoli are top scorers in the current UEFA Europa League with 25 goals since the start of the group phase: an average of 2.08 goals per game. Dnipro have registered just 11 goals in 12 matches from the group stage onwards – an average of 0.92 goals a game.
• Semi-final debutants Dnipro have committed (210) and sustained (199) the most fouls in the 2014/15 tournament; they have also received the most yellow cards: 43, ten more than any other team.
• This season's records – Dnipro: W5 D3 L4 F11 A9, Napoli: W8 D3 L1 F25 A7.