Last season’s beaten Champions League finalists, Borussia Dortmund, were outplayed by Napoli last night in the opening match of their group stage campaign.
Under competition winner Rafa Benitez, Napoli are sure to give more teams a hard time this season, and Dortmund were duly frustrated by the slick passing and grit of his new Serie A charges.
Both teams came into the match in fine form at the top of their domestic tables, but it was the Germans who were brought crashing down to earth.
Even had goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller not been sent off, and Dortmund been forced to finish the match with 10 men, Napoli bossed most of the game, and survived the brief assault on their goal in the dying moments.
Things may have turned out differently however, had Dortmund’s affable coach, Jurgen Klopp, not lost the plot, and been sent off for aggressively protesting after Napoli’s opening goal.
Klopp was angry that Dortmund defender Neven Subotic was not allowed back onto the pitch quicker following treatment for an injury.
While he was waiting to come back on, Napoli scored their opener, and Klopp was unimpressed.
His uncontrolled confrontation with the linesman saw him sent for an early (cold) shower, and he has subsequently apologised, and held himself responsible for his side’s first defeat of the season.
"I apologised immediately after the game to my team, the fourth official and the referee as well," Klopp said.
"I have to accept the consequences for my actions. I was like a clown out there. That was stupid.
"My emotions turned a well-run game into a hectic affair."
"I did not show my prettiest face out there,” he added.
“I told myself I did not want to see such pictures of me again and I thought I could do it. It was absolutely my mistake."
Klopp has also accepted part of the blame for Weidenfeller’s dismissal, which left Dortmund a mountain to climb against a Napoli side rapidly gaining confidence under Rafa’s tuition.
"That was also on me," he said.
"I just could not calm down and so the team were more stressed. So I also have my share in Roman's red card, because if we are calm then these things do not happen."