An in depth preview for the Champions League clash between Arsenal and Borussia Dortmund.
The Champions League has drawn up some truly mouth watering encounters this week, but none more so than Arsene Wenger’s high flying Gunners coming up against Jurgen Klopps exciting Dortmund side.
Wenger’s men have started the season off well and both sides are known for employing an attractive brand of football, meaning an entertaining encounter is a given. Arsenal will look to keep things tight at the back, whilst using their pace on the counter to hit Dortmund where it hurts.
The Bundesliga side will be without Jurgen Klopp as he serves out the first of a three game ban for threatening the fourth official during the defeat to Napoli.
Arsenal are likely to be without midfielder Matthieu Flamini, who suffered a concussion at the weekend, so Aaron Ramsay will come in and play from the start.
Dortmund will be without Sebastien Kehl, Ilkay Gundogan and Lukasz Piszczek, but will go with a strong squad nonetheless and will welcome defender Matts Hummels back into the fold after he sat out at the weekend.
Predicted line ups:
Head to head:
The two sides met at the stage of the competition two years ago. A keenly contested two games saw Arsenal overcome the Germans by a score of 2-1 at the Emirates with Robin Van Persie bagging a double before Shinji Kagawa netted a consolation. The reverse fixture saw RVP strike again but Arsenal weren’t able to hold on for the win this time and a late Ivan Perisic made sure Dortmund shared the spoils.
The two sides also met during the Champions League of 2002/03 with Arsenal winning 2-0 at Highbury before succumbing to a 2-1 defeat in Germany.
Oliver Giroud – Arsenal
The French striker has been in solid form this season and has shouldered the burden of being the club’s only out and out striker during the early stages season admirably well by bagging six goals in all competitions so far this season. His movement and quick thinking in the box will come in handy against Dortmund as they will look to set Mats Hummels and Neven Subotic to keep him quiet., which may limit his impact as he will feature up front on his own, but as long as the creative trio behind him keep the service coming then he will still cause problems.
Mesut Ozil – Arsenal
The German playmaker has taken to the Premier League like a duck to water and has been a major figure in Arsenal’s early season pace setting. He will be no stranger to Dortmund, or their style, and has even been earmarked by Klopp as the man his side need to stop in order to get the better of Arsenal. Dortmund will be looking to Nuri Sahin and Sven Bender to keep him quiet and put a block on the supply line, but as Napoli and Norwich have found out recently; that isn’t an easy job by any stretch.
Marco Reus – Borussia Dortmund
Reus should be feeling quite refreshed in contrast to the majority of everyone else on the pitch as an ankle injury kept him out of the Germany side over the international break and he has already proved his readiness by bagging the only goal of the game against Hannover at the weekend. He will be key to picking a way through the Arsenal defence and linking up with Lewandowski either as a striker or a little deeper in an attacking midfield role. Devastating when fully fit.
Nuri Sahin – Borussia Dortmund
The defensive midfielder is settled back into life at the Westfallenstadion after wandering into the wilderness with Real Madrid and Liverpool, and he could be the man with what will likely be one of the more important jobs of the evening – keeping Mesut Ozil quiet. Having replaced the injured Ilkay Gundogan he has stepped into the role with relative ease and will need to keep an eye on the tricky Arsenal forward, which may be easier said than done as he recently overcame an ankle injury of his own that saw him miss out on linking up with Turkey during the international break.