Napoli know that they will have to find a way to stop Mario Gomez if want to have any chance of overcoming Bayern Munich in their Champions League meeting on Tuesday.
The Italians have had a great start to their first experience in Europe’s premier club competition since the days of Diego Maradona.
They followed up a draw away to Manchester City with a victory at home to Villarreal, leaving them second in the group behind the Germans.
But with back-to-back games coming up against Bayern, Napoli know they must take something from these matches or risk dropping out of the top two.
And to do so they will have to find a way of stopping hot-shot Gomez.
The Germany striker has banged in 10 goals in nine league games, hitting four in one, a hat-trick in another and a brace on Saturday against Hertha Berlin.
He also notched two in the 2-0 defeat of City earlier in the group and hit six goals in Germany’s Euro 2012 qualifying campaign, making him one of the hottest strikers in Europe at the moment.
In stark contrast, Napoli’s tenacious forward Ezequiel Lavezzi finds himself without a goal at Naples’ San Paolo stadium in a year.
However, he still has the backing of his coach Walter Mazzarri.
“He’s a crutch for me. It’s a shame that a player with his quality scores so few goals,” he said.
But while there may be a sense of trepidation ahead of the visit from the Munich all-stars, whom Mazzarri has described as an “extraordinary” team, there is also an element of relief within the Napoli camp.
Apart from their positive results against top-draw opponents such as City and Villarreal, Napoli have also beaten Italian giants AC Milan (3-1) and Inter Milan (3-0) this season.
Their two defeats, however, have come against relative minnows Chievo (1-0) and Parma (2-1) — on Saturday — when they were overwhemlming favourites.
And Mazzarri believes tackling the big teams actually helps his side.
“When a team comes here (to the San Paolo) right now aiming for two results from three (i.e. willing to settle for a draw), it’s difficult to find your rythm because they’re always breaking up the play,” said Mazzarri.
“We have to be 100 percent brilliant and look for ways to break the deadlock.
“Teams who play as equals give us the possibility to express ourselves and against those teams, things go better.”
If Napoli can count on one thing, it is that Bayern will attack them on Tuesday.
The Germans have already hit seven goals in one game, five in another, four in another and three on two occasions this season.
And while Gomez has been attracting plenty of plaudits, so too has France winger Franck Ribery.
However, Munich coach Juup Heynckes does not like to focus on individuals.
“The team has come out of the international break and immediately hit the ground running with total focus on the Bundesliga,” he said.
“The way my team is playing football at the moment isn’t something you see every day.
“Ribery had a tremendous game (against Berlin), but (Jerome) Boateng on the right, (captain Bastian) Schweinsteiger and (Toni) Kroos pleased me as well.
“However, after such a good team performance, it wouldn’t be right to single out individuals.”
Napoli will have to be wary of both the individuals and the collective if they are to get anything from the game.