Napoli lost 3-1 to Borussia Dortmund, meaning even a victory over Arsenal might not be enough to stay in the Champions League.
This result means they are on level points with the Germans, but behind in the head-to-head record after beating them 2-1 in Naples. Arsenal beat Marseille 2-0 tonight, so if they all finish on 12 points then Napoli must beat the Gunners by three clear goals.
A point at the BVB Stadion would’ve secured the Partenopei’s qualification, but they had lost their last two Serie A games and made the trip without Marek Hamsik, Juan Camilo Zuniga and Giandomenico Mesto. Rafa Benitez opted to start Federico Fernandez, Blerim Dzemaili, Goran Pandev and Dries Mertens. Borussia Dortmund absolutely needed the victory, but were without Neven Subotic, Mats Hummels and Marcel Schmelzer.
It was a bad start, as Fernandez pulled Robert Lewandowski’s shirt to give away a penalty. Marco Reus converted it by sending Pepe Reina the wrong way.
Napoli seemed very shaken and were pegged back, as Lewandowski hit the side-netting from a well-worked Henrikh Mkhitaryan move and Reina flew to palm a curling Reus free kick round the base of the near post.
The first real chance for the visitors came after 23 minutes with Goran Pandev firing straight at the goalkeeper after he turned Sven Bender. Jose Maria Callejon had a fantastic opportunity, as he burst down the right and his angled drive bounced off the inside of the far post.
Reina had his palms stung by Mkhitaryan on the counter-attack, then needed a magnificent save to deny Lewandowski one-on-one after a Christian Maggio defensive error.
There were a series of Borussia mistakes in the box, but neither Pandev nor Higuain could bundle the ball over the line. In first half stoppages, Pablo Armero’s scorcher stung Weidenfeller’s gloves.
Reus flashed across the face of goal on the counter, Reina palmed his free kick out from under the crossbar and Maggio’s sliding tackle was decisive on Lewandowski.
Mkhitaryan went on a mazy run from midfield and beat Reina, but Raul Albiol got back to clear off the line.
Higuain wasted a golden opportunity to equalise for Napoli when he fired straight at Weidenfeller, but 30 seconds later Borussia doubled their lead. It was another counter-attack, this time finished off when Reus rolled across for Blaszczykowski to nutmeg Reina.
Gokhan Inler came off the bench and immediately tested Weidenfeller from distance, but it was another substitute who got Napoli back into the game. Lorenzo Insigne sprung the offside trap from Higuain’s pass, drew out the goalkeeper and his angled drive rolled into an empty net.
Reina was again decisive with a fantastic one-handed save on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s counter-attack. However, Aubametang scored soon after with a similar move, but this time the delicate chip left Reina helpless.
Weidenfeller dealt with an Inler effort from distance, a Duvan Zapata toe-poke and Insigne curler, but Mkhitaryan hit the upright on another rapid move.
Borussia Dortmund 3-1 Napoli
Scorers: Reus pen 10 (B), Blaszczykowski 60 (B), Insigne 71 (N), Aubameyang 78 (B)
Borussia Dortmund: Weidenfeller; Grosskreutz, Papastathopoulos, Bender, Durm; Sahin, Kehl; Blaszczykowski (Aubameyang 69), Mkhitaryan, Reus; Lewandowski (Schieber 89)
Napoli: Reina; Maggio, Fernandez, Albiol, Armero; Dzemaili (Inler 62), Behrami; Callejon (Insigne 66), Pandev (Zapata 76), Mertens; Higuain
Ref: Carballo (ESP)