The UEFA Europa League is back in action with an important round of fixtures as AZ Alkmaar take on a resurgent Napoli side at the AFAS Stadion on Thursday. Napoli are at the top of their group at the moment and are the favourites to win this game.
AZ Alkmaar face a tense battle with Real Sociedad to qualify for the knock-out stages of the Europa League and will need to win this game. The Dutch outfit edged past Heracles by a 2-1 margin over the weekend and will need to be at its best on Thursday.
Napoli made a massive statement against AS Roma a few days ago and thrashed their Italian opponents by a 4-0 margin. Gennaro Gattuso's side is back at its best and will be looking to cement its position at the top of the group.
AZ Alkmaar vs Napoli Head-to-Head
Napoli and AZ Alkmaar have played each other on only one occasion in official European fixtures and are relative strangers to their opposition's style of play. AZ Alkmaar claimed a shock victory in the reverse fixture and will be confident ahead of this game.
Dani de Wit scored the all-important goal for AZ Alkmaar on the day and will want to replicate his heroics this week. Napoli failed to find the back of the net in the previous game between these two teams and will need to do a better job on Thursday.
AZ Alkmaar form guide: W-D-W-W-L
Napoli form guide: W-W-L-W-W
AZ Alkmaar vs Napoli Team News
Napoli star Elseid Hysaj has tested positive for the coronavirus and has been ruled out of this fixture. Victor Osimhen and Amir Rrahmani are currently injured and are unavailable for selection.
Injured: Elseid Hysaj, Victor Osimhen, Amir Rrahmani
AZ Alkmaar will be unable to avail the services of Jeremy Helmer in this game. Jordy Clasie is still in quarantine after contracting the coronavirus and will not play a part against Napoli.
Injured: Jeremy Helmer, Jordy Clasie
AZ Alkmaar vs Napoli Predicted XI
AZ Alkmaar Predicted XI (4-3-3): Hobie Verhulst; Owen Wijndal, Bruno Martins Indi, Ramon Leeuwin, Jonas Svensson; Dani de Wit, Teun Koopmeiners, Fredrik Midtsjo; Jesper Karlsson, Calvin Stengs, Myron Boadu
Napoli Predicted XI (4-2-3-1): Alex Meret; Faouzi Ghoulam, Nikola Maksimovic, Kalidou Koulibaly, Giovanni Di Lorenzo; Diego Demme, Tiemoue Bakayoko; Hirving Lozano, Piotr Zielinski, Matteo Politano; Andrea Petagna
AZ Alkmaar vs Napoli Prediction
Napoli have returned to their peak in recent weeks and the likes of Hirving Lozano and Matteo Politano have repaid Gattuso's faith in recent weeks. The Italians can be lethal on their day and will want to prove a point going into this game.
AZ Alkmaar are known for their ability to pull off an upset and need to win this game to improve their standing in the group. Napoli are the better team, however, and should be able to win this match.
Prediction: AZ Alkmaar 1-2 Napoli