Hellas Verona vs. Napoli: Preview and TV schedule

Claudio Villa

Napoli face a stern test when they travel to face high flying Hellas Verona on Sunday afternoon.

Andrea Mandorlini's Verona have been a revelation during their first year back in Serie A. The Serie B runners-up currently occupy fifth place coming into the weekend's games, having won all but one of their nine home games thus far. Although they've found it hard to replicate that form on the road, the Gialloblu recorded an emphatic 3-1 vitory at Udinese on Monday to give them a second away victory of the season.

Veteran striker Luca Toni is enjoying a renaissance with nine goals, two of which came in Monday's victory. Verona haven't had a problem scoring goals from all areas of the pitch. Even defender Fabrizio Cacciatore has got in on the act, netting three times. Despite coming up against the league's second highest scorers, Verona will continue their attacking approach against the Neapolitans.

Jorginho, Romulo and Juan Iturbe are three other players looking to cause Napoli headaches. All three are enjoying stellar seasons. With Romulo co-owned by Fiorentina and Iturbe on loan from Porto, the biggest question is whether Verona can keep hold of these players as their stars continue to rise and the big clubs inevitably come calling. Iturbe has caught the attention of AS Roma and Napoli are one of the many clubs currently monitoring Jorginho's progress.

The visitors come into the game on the back of a 2-0 victory over Sampdoria to solidify third place in the standings. The Partenopei stay ahead of Fiorentina, but remain a distant ten points behind leaders Juventus. Despite winning 12 out of their 18 games, Napoli can't afford any more slip-ups if they still want to be considered as genuine Scudetto contenders.

Rafa Benitez is boosted by the return of Marek Hamsik after six weeks out with a foot injury. Given the form of other players and Dries Mertens' brace against Sampdoria, Hamsik may have to be content with a place on the bench. Pepe Reina and Valon Behrami remain sidelined through injury.

Lorenzo Insigne is still waiting to score his first domestic goal of the season. However, he is expected to get the nod ahead of Goran Pandev to start in attack. Raphael Martinho is competing with Juanito Gomez Taleb for a place in the Verona forward line.

Hellas Verona injuries and suspensions

Out: Ezequiel Cirigliano, Samuele Longo (injured)

Napoli injuries and suspensions

Out: Pepe Reina, Paolo Cannavaro, Juan Zuniga, Valon Behrami, Giandomenico Mesto (injured)

Projected lineups

Hellas Verona: (4-3-3) Rafael; Cacciatore, Moras, Maietta, Agostini; Romulo, Jorginho, Hallfredsson; Iturbe, Toni, Gomez

Napoli: (4-2-3-1) Rafael Cabral; Maggio, Fernandez, Albiol, Armero; Inler, Dzemaili; Callejon, Insigne, Mertens; Higuain

Match Date/Time: Sunday 12th December 2014, 3:00 p.m. local, 9:00 a.m. ET

Venue: Stadio Marc'Antonio Bentegodi, Verona, Italy

TV: Premium Calcio 1, Sky Calcio 3 (Italy) beIN Sports Play (U.S.)

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