In one of the best matches of the last round, Besiktas visited Naples and came away with a 3-2 victory. 24-year old Cameroonian forward Vincent Aboubakar was the hero, scoring the winner with four minutes remaining to give him two goals on the day and an unexpected away win for the Turkish side. It made group B anyone's guess with Napoli on six points, Besiktas in second on five, followed by Benfica with four and bottom-dwellers Dynamo Kyiv on one. Another win over group-favorites Napoli would put Besiktas in control of their own destiny to be group winners. After being one of the hottest squads to start the season in Europe, Napoli have stuttered lately, losing three of their last five. Napoli created a bit of their own problems over the weekend, with manager Maurizio Sarri taking off the oft-criticized Lorenzo Insigne, who happened to be having a rare positive appearance against Juve. Insigne was none-too-pleased about the sub, with Sarri telling the press afterwards that, "He has to shut up." Not the ideal distraction as the squad travels to Turkey. Besiktas won 3-0 over the weekend and will welcome Napoli, confident that they can pull off another upset.
After six straight seasons outside the Champions League, the Black Eagles are back after qualifying directly to the group stage by winning the Turkish Super Lig. They’ll begin the campaign without Mario Gomez, who scored 26 goals in the league last year before deciding to leave for Wolfsburg in the offseason after the failed Turkish coup. They boast a wealth of young Turkish talent, however, in attacking midfielder Oğuzhan Özyakup and forward Cenk Tosun. Veteran winger Ricardo Quaresma will provide experienced leadership after winning Euro 2016 with Portugal this summer.
Gonazlo Higuain may have left, but with Juve agreeing to the highest fee ever between two Italian clubs, Napoli have wasted no time in reinvesting. Most prominently, Arkadiusz Milik arrives from Ajax, where he scored 21 league goals. Add him to the versatile Marek Hamsik and 24 year old Italy up-and-comer Manolo Gabbiadini and Napoli have the potential to put in another Serie A title push alongside a Champions League campaign. With a forgiving group, they should expect to make the knockout rounds at a minimum.
An attacking mid and Arsenal academy product, Özyakup has appeared over 110 times for Beşiktaş at just 23.
The tricky winger has appeared over 50 times for Portugal, winning Euro 2016 this summer.