1. FC Union Berlin will play their second away match in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday, 8 November 2023 when they face reigning Serie A champions SSC Napoli. Kick off at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona is at 18:45
SSC Napoli have had a relatively mixed European record. The Italians were regulars on the international stage back in the 1980s and won the UEFA Cup in the 1988/89 season. In the final, the team led by their iconic hero Diego Maradona defeated VfB Stuttgart 5-4 over two legs. The following year they were knocked out of the European Cup in the last 16, going out on penalties to Spartak Moscow after two goalless draws.
After the club from near the slopes of Mount Vesuvius had to file for bankruptcy at the turn of the millennium and fell into the third division, they re-established themselves among the country's top teams from the 2010s onwards, appearing in the Champions league in eight of the last 11 seasons. The "Gli Azzuri" finished top of their group ahead of Liverpool FC, Ajax Amsterdam and Glasgow Rangers in last season’s Champions League, however, the Neapolitans were narrowly defeated by AC Milan in the quarter-finals.
Thanks to two wins against Sporting Braga (2-1) and Union (1-0 through a 65th minute goal from Giacomo Raspadori), the team coached by Rudi Garcia will be optimistic about their chances of making it through the group stage again this year. SSC have won three of their last four matches in all competitions, but many supporters are still mourning the loss of their championship winning coach Luciano Spalletti, and are not yet completely convinced by his successor Garcia. President Aurelio De Laurentiis also publicly criticised the Frenchman after a brief results crisis in October but emphasised: "I can't let the fans influence me."
They sit currently in fourth in Serie A.
Danilho Doekhi will not be able to play on Wednesday due to injury. It is still unclear whether Alexander Schwolow will be in the squad.
The coaches’ views ahead of the game
"Of course we were all disappointed after the game against Frankfurt,” said Union’s head coach, Urs Fischer, during his press conference on Tuesday evening in Naples. “The mood was still a little down the day after, but that's completely normal. Now it's all about looking forward again. Over the past two days, the team has shown me that they are prepared to try everything over 90 minutes to take the three points back to Berlin."
"They're not at their best, but they've still qualified for the Champions League and play in one of the top five leagues, so they're not a small club,” said his opposite number, Garcia, meanwhile. “We expect a difficult game."
Around 2,500 Union fans will support their team in Naples, and there are no further tickets available for the away block. It is strongly recommended to wear red and white fan clothing only in the stadium itself. Further information on visiting the stadium in Naples can be found here.
The match will be broadcast live on DAZN and there will also be an audio stream on rbb24 Inforadio and rbb24. As usual, Union will also provide information about the match in the club's own live ticker as well as in English and Spanish on Twitter