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Dnipro v Napoli background

FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk are dreaming of a first major European final as they play host to SSC Napoli, having unexpectedly earned a 1-1 draw in the first leg in Italy.

Denys Boyko collects under pressure in the first leg against Napoli
Denys Boyko collects under pressure in the first leg against Napoli ©AFP/Getty Images

After earning a 1-1 draw in Italy in the first leg, FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk are within sight of a first major European final, but SSC Napoli come to Kyiv knowing the UEFA Europa League semi-final tie is far from over.

Previous meetings
• The sides met in the group stage of the 2012/13 UEFA Europa League; Juande Ramos's Dnipro won the home leg 3-1 (Fedetskiy 2, Matheus 42, Giuliano 64; Cavani 75p) but Walter Mazzarri's Napoli won the return fixture 4-2 (Cavani 7, 77, 88, 90+3; Fedetskiy 34, Zozulya 52). Edinson Cavani scored four goals in that game and five overall against Dnipro.

• The teams for their previous encounter in Ukraine on 25 October 2012 were:
Dnipro: Laštůvka*, Mazuch*, Mandziuk, Giuliano, Cheberyachko*, Strinić, Zozulya* (Kankava* 37), Seleznyov* (Kalinić* 59), Rotan*, Fedetskiy* (Denisov 82), Matheus*.
Napoli: Rosati, Donadel, Aronica, Dossena (Pandev 52), Vargas (Cavani 52), Mesto*, Zúñiga*, Dzemaili, Fernández, Insigne*, Gamberini (Inler* 82).
*eligible to play for the club in this season's UEFA Europa League.

• Croatian left-back Ivan Strinić, who played for Dnipro in that game, left the club for Napoli in December having made four appearances in this season's group stage. The 27-year-old was reportedly Dnipro's record signing when he arrived from HNK Hajduk Split in 2011. He is not eligible to play for Napoli in this season's competition.

• Of the current squad members, Dnipro's Yevhen Konoplyanka and Napoli's Miguel Britos and Marek Hamšik also featured for their respective sides in the return fixture.

Form guide
Dnipro's 1-1 draw in Naples brought an end to a five-game losing streak against Italian sides, though their record in nine encounters with Serie A teams remains uninspiring: W1 D2 L6 (W1 D1 L2 at home).

Dnipro are Napoli's only previous Ukrainian opponents.

Dnipro have won their last four European home games without conceding. Napoli are unbeaten in their last four on the road (W2 D2), having scored four in each of those two wins.

Dnipro's biggest previous European successes were making it to the quarter-finals of the European Champion Clubs' Cup in 1984/85 and 1989/90.

Napoli have not reached the semi-finals of a major UEFA tournament since they won the UEFA Cup in 1988/89, beating VfB Stuttgart over two legs in the final.

• Of the four semi-finalists, Sevilla FC and Napoli have lost the fewest games since the start of the group stage (one each); ACF Fiorentina have lost two and Dnipro four.

Napoli are the top scorers in this season's competition with 26 goals since the start of the group stage: an average of two a game. They have also conceded the fewest of the last four contenders – eight, as opposed to the ten let in by Fiorentina and Dnipro, and the 12 put past Sevilla.

Dnipro have scored just 12 goals since the start of the group stage – an average of less than a goal a game.

Trivia and links
Napoli's Gonzalo Higuaín has scored seven goals since the start of the campaign – second only to Everton FC's Romelu Lukaku and former FC Salzburg front-man Alan, who got eight each. Add in his three assists, and he has had a direct role in ten goals.

Dnipro's Yevhen Konoplyanka has been fouled 43 times in this season's  UEFA Europa League – on 17 occasions more than any other player in the competition.

Dnipro's Czech centre-back Ondřej Mazuch played in Italy for fellow UEFA Europa League semi-finalists ACF Fiorentina from 2007–09.

• Lorenzo Insigne hit the post in the first leg, meaning Napoli have hit the woodwork a remarkable ten times during this campaign.

Napoli's Marek Hamšík will make his 50th UEFA club competition appearance if he takes the field against Dnipro.

Napoli are one of two former UEFA Cup/UEFA Europa League winners left in the competition, along with holders Sevilla (2006, 2007, 2014).

Dnipro started 2014/15 in the third qualifying round of the UEFA Champions League, meaning they had the longest journey (17 games) to make it to the semi-finals. Napoli started off in the UEFA Champions League play-offs and it has taken them 15 games to get to the last four.

• Semi-final debutants Dnipro have committed (226) and suffered (214) the most fouls in this season's competition. They have also received the most yellow cards: 45, 12 more than any other side, and 15 more than any other semi-finalist.

• Italian sides have won the UEFA Cup/UEFA Europa League nine times – more than any other nation, though there have been no wins since Parma FC took the trophy in 1998/99. However, Spain is catching up fast, with eight victories to date – six in the last 11 years.

• Zenit's elimination in the quarter-finals means that – for the first time since the advent of the UEFA Cup group stage in 2004/05 – none of the sides that transferred over from the UEFA Champions League at the end of the group stage have made it to the semi-finals.

The coachesDnipro coach since May 2014, Myron Markevych started out as a midfielder with home-town club FC Karpaty Lviv. While his playing career was not a huge success, he served Karpaty in four spells as a coach before a lengthy stint at FC Metalist Kharkiv earned him a reputation for attacking football. He briefly coached Ukraine in 2010.

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) and Sevilla's Unai Emery (Sevilla, 2014) have both won the UEFA Europa League before. Benítez is the only coach in the semi-finals to have won the UEFA Champions League.

Penalty shoot-outs
Dnipro's record in one UEFA competition penalty shoot-out is W0 L1 (W0 L1 at home):
3-5 v FC Girondins de Bordeaux (H), 1984/85 European Champion Clubs' Cup quarter-final

Napoli's record in three UEFA competition penalty shoot-outs is W1 L2 (W0 L2 away):
3-4 v Toulouse FC (A), 1986/87 UEFA Cup first round
4-3 v Sporting Clube de Portugal (H), 1989/90 UEFA Cup first round
3-5 v FC Spartak Moskva (A), 1990/91 European Champion Clubs' Cup second round

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