FC Salzburg vs NapoliUEFA Champions League, KO: 20:00 Oct 23, 2019, Red Bull Arena
FREE-scoring Salzburg finally reached the Champions League group-stages after crashing out in the qualifying rounds for seven successive seasons.
The Austrian champions announced their arrival back in the big time in blockbuster fashion by battering Belgian side Genk 6-2 in their opening Group E fixture and they gained further admirers when they fought back from a three goal deficit to draw level at Anfield against Liverpool, before being edged out 4-3 by the reigning kings of Europe.
That manic night on Merseyside represents Salzburg's only defeat this season to date as they remain unbeaten in the Austrian Bundesliga where they sit top after 11 games having scored 47 goals – giving them an astronomical goals scored average of 4.2 goals per-game.
Next up for Jesse Marsch's goal-getters is a double-header with Napoli – the first of which takes place inside the Red Bull arena on Wednesday evening.
The Italian outfit currently sit top of the section on four points after kicking off their campaign with an impressive 2-0 win at home to Liverpool, however, Napoli could only follow that up with a dour and disappointing 0-0 draw away at Genk on matchday two.
Following Saturday's 2-0 victory at home to Verona, Carlo Ancelotti's side sit fourth in Serie A and they will once again be aiming to get the better of a Salzburg side that they eliminated from last seasons Europa League.
Napoli progressed in the previous double-header courtesy of a 4-3 aggregate scoreline, however, they had to survive a late scare in Salzburg to land a place in the last eight of Europe's secondary club competition
The home team are unbeaten in their last 19 European matches in their own backyard and Napoli are priced at 7/5 (BoyleSports) to bring that eye-catching streak to an end.
Furthermore, the Austrians have not lost a competitive fixture on home soil since 2016 and this season they have scored over three goals in all but one of their eight games on their own turf – with the one exception being a 3-0 success.
Having scored 37 goals in eight matches at home this term – an average of 4.6 goals per-game – I can't help but be attracted to the 5/6 (Bet 365) on offer for Salzburg to score over 1.5 goals in this tussle.
Indeed, Italian sides are notorious for being defensively adept, however, Salzburg scored three times when entertaining Napoli last Spring and they recently managed to make the net bulge on three occasions at world renowned footballing fortress Anfield.
In considering who may get on the scoresheet for Salzburg – wonderkid Erling Haaland could be the man to hedge your bets on – the teenager has banged in 18 goals in 12 appearances this season so far.
The young Norwegian striker rose to prominence after netting nine times in a World Cup Under 20's game against Honduras and his meteoric rise continued when he bagged a hat-trick in his Champions League bow against Genk.
The Scandinavian hotshot also hit the back of the net against Liverpool and Haaland looks overpriced at odds-against of 11/10 (PaddyPower) to strike against a Napoli side who don't tend to travel well outside of Italy.
Of course Ancelotti has a wealth of attacking talent at his disposal to turn to – with the likes of Arkadiusz Milik, Dries Mertens and Lorenzo Insigne all more than capable of breaching the Red Bull rearguard.
However, backing both teams to score is as short as 2/5 with most bookmakers and over 2.5 match goals is a general 4/11 – and even opting to merge those two bets will only boost your odds up to around 8/13.
Therefore, for a game that promises goalmouth action, alternative angles will have to be considered in trying to source some value whilst focusing on goals.
Having done just that, I like the look of combining Salzburg on the double chance in match that sees both teams score at 21/20 (Bet 365)
There should be no shortage of goals when these two sides square off and given Salzburgs imperious home record, the aforementioned combination is an enticing one for what should be another enthralling encounter involving the entertaining Austrians.
This UEFA Champions League match between FC Salzburg and Napoli will be played on Oct 23, 2019 and kick off at 20:00