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Napoli v Zürich background

Napoli have a useful lead to defend in the second leg of their tie with Zürich having won 3-1 in Switzerland.

José Callejón celebrates scoring for Napoli in the first leg
José Callejón celebrates scoring for Napoli in the first leg ©Getty Images

Bidding to make up for the disappointment of narrowly losing out in a tough UEFA Champions League group, Napoli have a handy 3-1 first-leg lead to defend at home to a Zürich side making their maiden appearance in the UEFA Europa League round of 32.

• Napoli were the best third-placed team in the UEFA Champions League on nine points, but their only defeat, 0-1 at Liverpool on matchday six, enabled the Merseysiders to leapfrog them into second place on goals scored.

• The Swiss side are through to the spring phase of a European competition for the first time in 11 years having finished runners-up to Bayer Leverkusen in UEFA Europa League Group A thanks to victories in each of their opening three fixtures.

Highlights: Zürich 1-3 Napoli
Highlights: Zürich 1-3 Napoli

Previous meetings
• Two previous visits to Switzerland had yielded no goals for Napoli, but they struck three times against FCZ at the Letzigrund Stadion, through Lorenzo Insigne, José Callejón and Piotr Zieliński. The home side clawed back a late goal with a Panenka-style penalty from Benjamin Kololli.

• Napoli have won both of their previous two home games against Swiss opposition, most recently beating Young Boys 3-0 in the 2014/15 UEFA Europa League group stage en route to the semi-finals.

• Zürich's record against Italian sides is W2 D3 L6, with one of those wins among the most famous in the club's history – 1-0 at AC Milan in the 2009/10 UEFA Champions League, their sole victory in the group stage of that competition. They have lost on all of their other four trips to Italy.

Form guide
• Serie A runners-up in 2017/18, Napoli qualified for the UEFA Champions League group stage for the fifth time – all in the last eight seasons.

• This is the second successive season that they have finished third in their UEFA Champions League section and therefore crossed over to the UEFA Europa League. Last term they were defeated in the round of 32 by RB Leipzig, losing to the European debutants on away goals (1-3 home, 2-0 away).

#UEL round of 32 first legs: Best goals
#UEL round of 32 first legs: Best goals

• This is Napoli's seventh appearance in the UEFA Europa League round of 32 – a competition record they share with Villarreal, Ajax and Sporting CP. However, they have won only two of their previous six ties, against Swansea in 2013/14 (0-0 away, 3-1 home) and Trabzonspor the following season (4-0 away, 1-0 home), when they progressed all the way to the semi-finals.

• UEFA Cup winners in 1989, Napoli are unbeaten at home in Europe this term (W2 D1) but have failed to win any of their last five springtime European fixtures in Naples (D3 L2), since overcoming Dinamo Moskva 3-1 (also on aggregate) in the 2014/15 UEFA Europa League round of 16.

• Napoli have a flawless qualifying record in UEFA competition when they have won the first leg away, prevailing seven times out of seven, most recently in the 2014/15 UEFA Europa League when, after eliminating Trabzonspor in that manner in the last 32, they likewise overcame Wolfsburg in the quarter-final (4-1 away, 2-2 home). They have never previously won the first away leg 3-1.

• Zürich ensured a return to Europe after a year's absence by winning the Swiss Cup for the third time in five years – and tenth time in all – as they denied champions Young Boys the double with a 2-1 win in the Berne final.

Round-up of the last 32 first legs
Round-up of the last 32 first legs

• FCZ's fourth UEFA Europa League group stage participation kicked off with wins at AEK Larnaca (1-0), and at home to Ludogorets (1-0) and Leverkusen (3-2); although they lost 1-0 in Germany on matchday four, they still qualified alongside Leverkusen with two games to spare, ending a sequence of three successive group eliminations.

• Zürich reached the round of 32 on their sole UEFA Cup group stage participation, in 2007/08, but lost 3-1 on aggregate to Hamburg. It is 20 years since they made it into the last 16 of a European competition, reaching the UEFA Cup third round in 1998/99.

• The Swiss club ended a run of seven winless European away fixtures (D2 L5) with their matchday one success in Cyprus against AEK (1-0). That is their only win in 12 away matches in the UEFA Europa League proper (D3 L8).

• Only once in 11 instances when they have lost the first leg of a UEFA tie at home have Zürich gone on to qualify, winning 3-0 at Maribor after a 2-3 home defeat in the third qualifying round of the 2009/10 UEFA Champions League. Napoli are the fifth team to have travelled to Switzerland for the first leg and defeated FCZ 3-1.

UEFA Europa League squad changes
In: Amin Younes
Out: Marko Rog

In: Levan Kharabadze, Yann Kasai, Joel Untersee
Out: Victor Pálsson, Sangoné Sarr, Roberto Rodriguez

Links and trivia 
• Napoli striker Arkadiusz Milik was a member of the Poland side that beat Switzerland on penalties in the round of 16 at UEFA EURO 2016. A scorer in the shoot-out, he had also been on target in Poland's 2-2 draw against a Switzerland side featuring FCZ's Marco Schönbächler in a November 2014 friendly.

• Zürich's Alain Nef played in Italy for Piacenza, Udinese and Triestina between 2006 and 2010, defeating Napoli 2-1 with the former in the 2006/07 Serie B campaign.

Pick of the first-leg saves
Pick of the first-leg saves

• Zürich are one of only five clubs involved in this round of 32 who have never previously participated in the UEFA Europa League knockout phase; Dinamo Zagreb, Slavia Praha, Malmö and Rennes are the others.

• FCZ are the first Swiss side to reach the UEFA Europa League round of 32 since 2015/16, when Basel and Sion progressed from the group stage.

• Napoli lifted the UEFA Cup in 1988/89 and are one of ten former winners of the trophy in this season's knockout phase, along with Sevilla, Internazionale, Chelsea, Shakhtar Donetsk, Zenit, Valencia, Galatasaray, Bayer Leverkusen and Eintracht Frankfurt.

• While Napoli boss Carlo Ancelotti has overseen 160 UEFA Champions League matches, the first leg in Zurich was his coaching debut in the UEFA Europa League.

Penalty shoot-outs
• Napoli's record in three UEFA penalty shoot-outs is W1 L2:
3-4 v Toulouse, 1986/87 UEFA Cup first round
4-3 v Sporting CP, 1989/90 UEFA Cup first round
3-5 v Spartak Moskva, 1990/91 European Champion Clubs’ Cup second round

• Zürich's record in one UEFA penalty shoot-out is W1 L0:
4-2 v Sturm Graz, 2008/09 UEFA Cup second qualifying round

The coaches
• One of the most distinguished and successful coaches in contemporary European football, former Italian international midfielder Carlo Ancelotti has an enviable CV, having managed several of the continent's top clubs and won a stack of trophies, including the UEFA Champions League on three occasions and league titles in Italy, England, France and Germany. He was appointed by Napoli in May 2018, the Partenopei becoming the record eighth club he has coached in the UEFA Champions League – after Parma, Juventus, Milan, Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain, Real Madrid and Bayern München.

• A Swiss international left-back from 2000 to 2010 who won 62 caps for his country and appeared at four successive major tournaments, Ludovic Magnin spent most of that time in Germany with Werder Bremen and Stuttgart, winning the Bundesliga with both, before ending his career back in his homeland with Zürich. It was with FCZ's youth teams that he made his first steps as a coach before graduating to the top job in February 2018 and steering the club to Swiss Cup glory three months later.