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UEFA Champions League Preview: Napoli - Borussia Dortmund

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UEFA Champions League Preview: Napoli - Borussia Dortmund
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UEFA Champions League Preview: Napoli - Borussia Dortmund

Borussia Dortmund begins its Champions League campaign with a tough trip to Napoli following defeat in the final last season.

The Bundesliga club upset the odds to reach the Wembley Stadium showdown in May, overcoming Real Madrid in the semifinal before seeing dreams of glory shattered by German rival Bayern Munich. Jurgen Klopp's side also finished as runner-up to Bayern domestically. Despite losing key player Mario Gotze to Die Roten, many consider Dortmund to possess a significantly stronger squad this season.

The arrivals of Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Sokratis Papastathopoulos have helped BVB reel off five league wins at the start of the campaign. The club travels to Naples on Wednesday with a relatively poor record against Italian opposition, though.

From 27 matches, BVB has won nine, lost 14 and drawn four times, and even though Napoli was defeated in each of its two previous home matches in Europe, the Partenopei have not suffered a Serie A loss at the San Paolo in 2013, winning 10 of their 12 fixtures.

The visitors warmed up for their journey to Italy with a brilliant 6-2 win over Hamburg, and Marco Reus, who grabbed their fifth goal, is feeling positive about the team's prospects.

"We didn't give up at 2-2 and demanded more of ourselves, now we focus on the Champions League," Reus told the Bundesliga's official website. "More intensity like that over a full 90 minutes, and we'll be difficult to beat. I've got my rhythm and confidence back. All I care about is football, I love it, and I love this team. Now on to Napoli."

Like its opponents on Wednesday, Napoli also had the misfortune of seeing its star player depart in the summer transfer window, as Edinson Cavani joined Paris Saint-Germain.

However, with the help of the Uruguayan's 64 million euro price tag, Napoli was able to bring in a plethora of reinforcements, including Real Madrid trio Gonzalo Higuain, Jose Callejon and Raul Albiol, as well as Dries Mertens, Pablo Armero and Duvan Zapata.

Rafa Benitez's men go into the opener full of confidence after picking up a maximum nine points from their opening three league matches, with their most recent outing seeing them comfortably dispose of Atalanta at home.

The Spanish boss has history in this competition, having led Premier League club Liverpool to the crown against the odds in 2005.

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