Borussia Dortmund 2-1 Arsenal
UEFA Champions League Group Stage
Wednesday, October 30, 2002
Scorers: Henry (Arsenal) 18, Gilberto (Arsenal) 38 (og), Rosicky (Borussia Dortmund) 63 (pen)
By Richard Clarke in Dortmund
Arsenal are through to the Second Phase of the Champions League. But their qualification came courtesy of PSV's 3-0 victory over Auxerre because Arsène Wenger's side lost 2-1 here in Dortmund tonight.
The home side hit both of David Seaman's posts before Thierry Henry's exquisite free-kick put us ahead after 18 minutes. Dortmund deservedly equalised just before the break when Tomas Rosicky's long-range free-kick brushed Gilberto's head before drifting in off the post.
However, we were more than holding our own when the Czech international added a penalty midway through the second half after Jan Koller was adjudged to have been fouled by David Seaman.
So, as it turned out, those three victories in our first three Champions League games were enough to put us through. And, although this was our fourth successive 2-1 defeat, there were encouraging signs. It is worth remembering that Dortmund have not been beaten at home in the Champions League since losing 3-0 to Rosenborg in October 1999. Their Bundesliga form is equally impressive this season - five wins and five draws in 10 games.
Wenger sprung a slight surprise in his team selection kick-off. Robert Pires returned to the starting line-up for the first time since injuring cruciate knee ligaments against Newcastle on March 23. The manager's pre-match comments had suggested the Frenchman would not be risked tonight.
Pires took up his usual berth in left midfield. But in another unexpected switch, Sylvain Wiltord stayed on the right side with Freddie Ljungberg taking the forward role slightly behind striker Henry. As a result of this tactical tweak, Kanu dropped to bench. Our Nigerian striker was joined there by Edu, who made way for the return of Patrick Vieira after suspension.
This re-shuffled formation had played barely 80 seconds together before the home side nearly scored. Lars Ricken raced clear on to a through ball from deep in the Dortmund half, outpaced our defence but planted his shot against the outside of Seaman's right-hand upright. The ball was hacked way by the grateful visiting backline.
Then, after Rosicky's shot had been smothered by Seaman, came another let-off. Ewethon tricked his way to the left-hand byline and whipped over a cross. It was met by the bald head of the 6ft 7ins Koller, who, not surprisingly, is normally lethal in the air. The Czech international's effort beat Seaman but rebounded off the inside of his left-hand post this time and again our defence snaffled the ball away.
Undoubtedly we were fortunate to be level. But fortune sometimes favours the brave as our 18th-minute goal illustrated. Ljungberg was fouled 25 yards out from the Dortmund goal and Henry stepped up to take the set-piece. It was a defiant decision as, by his own admission, our French striker had not been on top form since returning from the international break. However Henry produced a curling effort that arched into the right-hand corner of Jens Lehmann's goal, leaving the keeper flat-footed.
However as their form suggested, Dortmund responded with danger. Christian Worns nodded narrowly over from close range and Dede prodded a shot over the bar when he should have done better.
In between those chances, Ljungberg teased the Dortmund defence before setting up the fast-approaching Vieira who toe-poked inches wide.
However, as the interval came closer, the home side began to exert more pressure. Their equaliser came six minutes before the interval when Rosicky curled over a free-kick which brushed the top of Gilberto's head before bouncing in at the far post.
Wiltord nearly curled in another just before the break but, with PSV beating Auxerre 1-0, we were pretty happy with what we had.
Dortmund continued to dominate territorially at the start of the second half. But we were well capable of catching them on the break. That was demonstrated five minutes in when Gilberto robbed Torsten Frings and Henry carried the ball to edge of the Dortmund area. He found Ljungberg successfully just inside the area, the Swede's attempted chip was less proficient.
If anything, when Dortmund took the lead through Rosicky's penalty just after hour, we were looking more likely to score.
Koller raced into the area on the left side and then tumbled, somewhat theatrically, over Seaman's dive. Our England No 1 went the right way from the spot but Rosicky's shot arrowed its way into the corner.
Henry nearly nodded us level immediately but Lehmann held on to his angled header. Then Wenger replaced the tiring legs of Pires with the fresh ones of Kolo Toure. ?Another substitute, Kanu, nodded wide with his first touch after replacing Wiltord shortly afterwards.
Henry tried to inspire an equaliser at the end but it did not arrive. Fortunately, PSV had done us a favour. This victory means Dortmund now lead Group A, the winner will be decided in two weeks time.
Arsenal (4-4-2): Seaman; Lauren, Campbell, Cygan, Cole; Wiltord (Kanu, 79), Gilberto (Edu, 80), Vieira, Pires (Touré, 67); Ljungberg, Henry.
Borussia Dortmund (4-2-1-3): Lehmann; Evanilson, Worns, Metzelder, Dede; Kehl (Reuter, 69), Frings; Rosicky (Madouni, 90); Ricken (Heinrich, 85), Ewerthon, Koller.
Referee: M Mejuto Gonzalez (Spain).Copyright 2017 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source