Preview: Barcelona vs Napoli – Team News, Lineups & Prediction

Estadi Olímpic Lluís Companys sets the stage for a crunch Champions League last-16 meeting between Barcelona and Napoli. After a 1-1 first-leg draw in Italy, both sides have everything to play for on Tuesday evening.

Barcelona assumed the lead in the first leg through their talismanic striker Victor Osimhen. But Napoli replied 15 minutes later as Victor Osimhen blew this tie between the two reigning country champions wide open. 

After three humiliating European campaigns, Xavi Hernandez’s side will be desperate to reach the Champions League quarter-finals for the first time since 2019/20. It would take the outgoing manager one step closer to winning one last piece of silverware before riding off into the sunset.

Despite going unbeaten in all three league outings since returning home from Naples (W2, D1), Barcelona’s hopes of defending La Liga’s title are still in limbo. They trail table-topping Real Madrid by eight points and are already out of the Copa del Rey. 

That leaves the Champions League as the likeliest avenue to avoiding a trophyless campaign. Similarly to their rivals, Napoli’s Serie A title defense is in tatters. However, unlike Barcelona, Partenopei can’t even hope to catch runaway leaders Inter after falling a mind-boggling 31 points behind. 

Francesco Calzona’s side threw their European qualification quest in doubt with a 1-1 home draw against Torino on Friday. If it’s any consolation, that result forms part of their longest unbeaten run in 2023/24, as they’ve not lost any of their last six outings (W2, D4).

Match Preview


Missing out on the Champions League quarter-finals for the fourth season on the trot would be devastating for a club of Barcelona’s stature. However, the Catalans can draw inspiration from their stellar home record in recent Champions League knockout ties on home turf. Though they’re not playing at Camp Nou, it’s worth noting they’ve racked up 13 wins in their last 16 such fixtures (D2, L1).

Further confidence stems from an eight-game undefeated streak in competitive action (W5, D3), bookended by a 1-0 home win against Mallorca on Friday. That was their third victory ‘to nil’ across their last four home matches (D1), suggesting Barcelona could potentially be 90 minutes away from breaking their barren run in the Champions League. 


Napoli advanced into the Champions League quarter-finals for the first time in the club’s history last term. But in order to achieve back-to-back last-eight progressions, the Italians must defy their long-standing struggles in the Iberian Peninsula. They’ve lost five of their last six UEFA contests on Spanish soil (W1).

Given this ominous record, few would bet on Napoli to upset the Catalan powerhouse. Yet, the club’s ongoing unbeaten run could inspire much-needed confidence. New manager Calzona has rekindled fighting spirits within his underachieving squad, with Partenopei coming from behind to avoid defeat three times during that sequence. 

Moreover, the last time Napoli left the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona, they posted their joint-second biggest-margin win, turning around a 1-0 deficit in a 6-1 demolition of Serie A strugglers Sassuolo. 

Team News

Barcelona’s infirmary is packed ahead of this season-defining fixture, with Pedri, Gavi, Alejandro Balde, Frenkie de Jong, and Ferran Torres unavailable through injuries. Marcos Alonso could make the matchday squad, but he’s likely to start on the bench even if he does.

As for Napoli, Piotr Zielinski is the only absentee after being removed from the Champions League roster due to his imminent transfer to Inter. But Calzona can celebrate Khvicha Kvaratskhelia’s return to form as the Georgian winger tallied his 10th Serie A goal of 2023/24 against Torino.

Barcelona vs Napoli Potetnial Lineups

Barcelona (4-3-3): Marc-Andre ter Stegen; Jules Kounde, Ronald Araujo, Inigo Martinez, Joao Cancelo; Ilkay Gundogan, Andres Christensen, Fermin Lopez; Lamine Yamal, Robert Lewandowski, Joao Felix.

Napoli (4-3-3): Alex Meret; Giovanni Di Lorenzo, Leo Ostigard, Juan Jesus, Mathias Olivera; Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa, Stanislav Lobotka, Hamed Traore; Matteo Politano, Victor Osimhen, Khvicha Kvaratskhelia.

Barcelona vs Napoli Prediction

In other circumstances, we’d give Napoli minimal chances of navigating this tie. But with Barcelona lacking several crucial midfield components, Calzona’s men stand a fighting chance, and we wouldn’t put it past them to take advantage of it, regardless of their disastrous campaign.

Prediction: Napoli Win

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