Osimhen and Kvaratskhelia ready to fire Napoli to new highs in Champions League

Serie A champions-elect face Eintracht Frankfurt in last-16 first-leg on Tuesday looking to reach quarter-finals for first time

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Runaway Serie A leaders Napoli turn their attentions to the Champions League this week as they look to reach the quarter-final stage for the first time.

Napoli travel to Germany to take on Eintracht Frankfurt in the last-16 first-leg clash at the Deutsche Bank Park on Tuesday.

Luciano Spalletti's side finished top of Group A on goal difference ahead of last season's finalists Liverpool to seal their spot in the knockout stages.

Napoli won five out of their six games only losing their final match at Liverpool when their place in the last-16 was already safely in the bag.

But it is on the domestic front that the club has really shone with Napoli already looking like Italy's champions in mid-February.

What has happened has stunned Italian football and made the rest of the continent sit up and take notice: Serie A might not be the gallery of stars it once was but to be 15 points clear after just 23 matches is an incredible feat.

Napoli have dropped just seven points in Italy's top flight all season and look almost certain to win their first league title in more than three decades.

At the heart of this success has been the irresistible attacking partnership of Nigeria striker Victor Osimhen and Georgian wing wizard Khvicha Kvaratskhelia.

Serie A's leading scorer Osimhen is running at almost a goal a game the league, notching nine in his last eight matches since the turn of the year, taking his tally to 18 in the competition.

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The 24-year-old is looking to add to his one goal in this year's Champions League, which came in a 4-2 win over Ajax a month after injuring himself in an eye-popping four-goal thumping of Liverpool.

And he is convinced that there is plenty more to come from Kvaratskhelia, who has 12 goals and the same number of assists in all competitions.

“He is just getting started, you guys have seen nothing yet,” said Osimhen. “I believe he has the quality to make us dream this season, he has big confidence and we are here to help support him.”

The dynamic duo were both on target last Friday when Napoli triumphed 2-0 at Sassuolo, which set them up nicely for their next clash in European club football's premier competition.

But the next stage of their quest will not be an easy one as they take on a Frankfurt side who triumphed in last season's Europa League final – beating Scottish side Rangers on penalties.

The Germans finished just one point behind Champions League Group D winners Tottenham Hotspur to secure their clash against Napoli and Spalletti is prepared for a tough challenge.

“Every draw is tough at this level, although we are pleased that we have avoided PSG,” the Italian coach said when the tie was announced back in November.

“Eintracht Frankfurt are still the holders of the Europa League, which is the second-biggest competition in Europe, and they're on the up as a team. It certainly won't be easy.”

Updated: February 20, 2023, 11:27 AM