After heading into October undefeated in all competitions, Napoli have lost two in a row, including a 3-1 reality check from Roma over the weekend. This match provides them an opportunity to course correct and make history - if they win and the other group match ends in a draw, they'll be the first team to qualify for the knockout rounds with three matches to play. While they're favorites, Besiktas didn't lose either of their first two matches (against Benfica and Dynamo Kyiv). It'll be a homecoming for the Turkish side's Gokhan Inler, who spent four years at Napoli and captained the side. Opposite him, Napoli keeper Pepe Reina should become the 9th player to make 150 appearances in the Champions League. In front of him, José Callejón has five goals in eight appearances and Arkadiusz Milik has four in seven, giving Besiktas plenty to deal with. Recent bumps in the road aside, Napoli have plenty of firepower to brush away Besiktas and should do their part to qualify out of the group.
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.
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.
Included in last year's Europa League Team of the Season.
After scoring 16 times in 22 Serie A matches, Mertens turned down a lucrative move to China.
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.