Napoli enter this match as the last remaining undefeated team in Serie A, sitting just one point behind Juventus. Last weekend provided another win, with Marek Hamsik scoring his 100th goal for the club as an exclamation point on the match. The Italian side sit alone atop Group B, having beaten Dynamo Kyiv while Benfica and Beşiktaş played to a draw. Polish forward Arkadiusz Milik, bought from Ajax to replace Gonzalo Higuain, scored two goals in Napoli's first Champions League match and will be the target man again. Likewise, Benfica are also undefeated domestically and sit in first in Portugal. Goals have come from across the squad with four players scoring at least twice in the league and no one scoring more than three (Kostas Mitroglou). A win would be unexpected points for the Portuguese side and would set them up to make it 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.
Benfica won their second straight Primeira Liga title last season, with a +66 goal difference along the way. Meanwhile in the Champions League, they had a notable win against eventual runners-up Atletico Madrid and managed a draw against Bayern in the quarter-finals, eventually losing 2-3 on aggregate. In the offseason, as Europe’s biggest clubs did their annual summer prowl of Portugal, Argentine winger Nicolas Gaitan and the Euros’ Young Player of the Tournament Renato Sanches departed. Without major reinforcements (other than some of the best looking kits in the world this season), they’ll rely on Jonas, who has scored 52 goals in 61 appearances for Benfica.
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.