Napoli and Salzburg are meeting for the first time but share plenty of UEFA Europa League pedigree between them.
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One of the most fascinating of the eight UEFA Europa League round of 16 ties brings together – for the first time – two of the competition's stalwart participants in former semi-finalists Napoli and Salzburg, who are both competing at this juncture for the third time.
• Napoli were the best third-placed team in this season's UEFA Champions League group stage, finishing with nine points, but their only defeat, 0-1 at Liverpool on matchday six, enabled the Merseysiders to leapfrog them into second place on goals scored and qualify alongside group winners Paris Saint-Germain. The Partenopei kicked off their UEFA Europa League campaign with a comfortable 5-1 aggregate win against FC Zürich.
• Salzburg topped UEFA Europa League Group B with maximum points ahead of Celtic, Leipzig and Rosenborg before staging an impressive second-leg 4-0 win at home to wipe out a first-leg 2-1 deficit and eliminate Club Brugge – who had also moved across from the UEFA Champions League – in the round of 32.
• Napoli are yet to face Austrian opposition in UEFA competition.
• Salzburg have won only four of their 14 European encounters with Italian clubs but, following last season's quarter-final success against Lazio (2-4 away, 4-1 home), their home and away records are now identical (W2 D1 L3). Their only European final appearance, in the 1993/94 UEFA Cup, ended with defeat by an Italian club, Internazionale beating them 1-0 in both legs, and they equalled their joint heaviest European defeat when they lost 5-0 at Parma in the 2003/04 UEFA Cup second round.
• Serie A runners-up in 2017/18, Napoli qualified for the UEFA Champions League group stage for the fifth time – all in the last eight seasons.
• This is the second successive season that they have finished third in their UEFA Champions League section and therefore crossed over to the UEFA Europa League. Last term they were defeated in the round of 32 by Leipzig, losing to the European debutants on away goals (1-3 home, 2-0 away), but came through that stage this season, beating Zürich 3-1 in Switzerland and 2-0 in southern Italy.
• This is Napoli's third appearance in the UEFA Europa League round of 16. They lost their first contest, going down 3-2 on aggregate to Porto in 2013/14 (0-1 away, 2-2 home), but the following season defeated Dinamo Moskva (3-1 home, 0-0 away) en route to the semi-finals.
• UEFA Cup winners in 1989, Napoli are unbeaten at home in Europe this term (W3 D1). The 2-0 win against Zürich last time out was the club's first success in six springtime European fixtures in Naples (D3 L2) since that 2015 victory against Dinamo.
• Champions of Austria for the fifth year running in 2017/18, Salzburg entered this season's UEFA Champions League in the third qualifying round, but their annual summer quest to reach the group stage ended in another near-miss as they surrendered a two-goal lead to lose on away goals to Crvena zvezda in the play-offs (0-0 away, 2-2 home).
• The Austrian side claimed maximum points in this season's UEFA Europa League group stage, becoming the first club to achieve the feat three times (after 2009/10 and 2013/14). It was also the fifth time that they had come through a UEFA Europa League group unbeaten and the fifth time they had topped their section – both competition records.
• Last season Salzburg enjoyed the most successful of their five previous campaigns in the UEFA Europa League knockout phase, eliminating Borussia Dortmund in the round of 16 (2-1 away, 0-0 home) on their way to the semi-finals. It was the club's first last-16 win, their only other attempt having ended in a 2013/14 defeat by Basel (0-0 away, 1-2 home).
• Until they lost 4-2 away to Lazio in the first leg of last season's quarter-final, Salzburg had gone 19 European games without defeat, ten on their travels (W5 D5). They were unbeaten in their first five continental away fixtures this term (W4 D1), finding the net ten times in their three group games, before losing 2-1 at Club Brugge in the round of 32 first leg.
Links and trivia
• Salzburg's Enock Mwepu and Patson Daka both scored for Zambia in 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying victories against an Algeria side that featured Faouzi Ghoulam and – in one of the games – Adam Ounas.
• Napoli lifted the UEFA Cup in 1988/89 and are one of seven former winners of the trophy in this season's round of 16, along with Sevilla, Internazionale, Chelsea, Zenit, Valencia and Eintracht Frankfurt.
• While Napoli boss Carlo Ancelotti has overseen 160 UEFA Champions League matches, the round of 32 first leg in Zurich was his coaching debut in the UEFA Europa League.
• Salzburg's win against Club Brugge last time out was the Austrian club's record 38th in the competition, two more than Villarreal.
• Salzburg's Israeli international striker Munas Dabbur is the 2018/19 UEFA Europa League's top scorer with seven goals, one more than Eintracht Frankfurt's Luka Jović, Sevilla's Wissam Ben Yedder and Chelsea's Olivier Giroud. All four players scored once in the round of 32 second leg.
• Salzburg are one of two current domestic champions in the round of 16, together with Dinamo Zagreb. Six others were eliminated in the round of 32.
• Salzburg are one of four clubs participating in the round of 16 for the second successive season, alongside Dynamo Kyiv, Zenit and fellow 2017/18 semi-finalists Arsenal.
• Napoli were defeated 2-1 at home by Juventus last Sunday to fall 16 points behind the defending Italian champions in Serie A with 12 games to go. It was their first league defeat of 2019.
• Salzburg retained their 11-point lead at the top of the Austrian Bundesliga last weekend with a 3-0 win at home to Wolfsberg, Dabbur scoring twice to top the league scoring charts with 11 goals.
• One of the most distinguished and successful coaches in contemporary European football, former Italian international midfielder Carlo Ancelotti has an enviable CV, having managed several of the continent's top clubs and won a stack of trophies, including the UEFA Champions League on three occasions and league titles in Italy, England, France and Germany. He was appointed by Napoli in May 2018, the Partenopei becoming the record eighth club he has coached in the UEFA Champions League – after Parma, Juventus, Milan, Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain, Real Madrid and Bayern München.
• Previously Salzburg's youth team boss, Marco Rose stepped up to the senior helm after Óscar García left in June 2017, having led the club to victory in the 2016/17 UEFA Youth League. A defender with home-town club VfB Leipzig, Hannover and Mainz, he has been on Salzburg's coaching staff since 2013 and oversaw the club's fifth successive Austrian Bundesliga title as well as a run to the UEFA Europa League semi-finals during his debut campaign in the top job.