Pre-Match Report

Borussia Dortmund v Arsenal - Preview

Mesut Ozil

We are in 'irresistible force versus immovable object' territory.

On Wednesday, Arsenal - unbeaten away in 14 games - travel to Dortmund, who boast eight straight wins at the BVB Stadion this season, for a fixture that might be decisive in Champions League Group F.

Along with Napoli, both teams have six points from three games so far. Victory for Arsenal would leave them needing to beat Marseille, who have lost all their three games, next time out at Emirates Stadium to qualify and, just possibly, win the group.

Defeat would mean Arsène Wenger’s side must get something - probably a win - in Naples on matchday six to qualify.

It may not come to that because Arsenal should fear no-one right now. They are five points clear at the top of the Premier League after a 2-0 win over Liverpool that should have dissipated many of the question marks supposedly hanging over the side.

Team News

Borussia Dortmund: Hummels (hamstring), Kehl (ankle), Piszczek (hip), Gundogan (spine)

Arsenal: Walcott (abdominal), Flamini (groin), Oxlade-Chamberlain (knee), Sanogo (back), Podolski (hamstring), Diaby (knee)

They gathered in greater number after Dortmund snatched a late win at Emirates Stadium a fortnight ago. But, as Wenger rightly pointed out in his press conference, even that result was a product of Arsenal’s dominance late in the game. The visitors had been excellent in the first half but Robert Lewandowski’s breakaway goal seven minutes from time was very much against the grain.

“I believe we lost the first game because we wanted to absolutely to win at any cost and we exposed ourselves,” said Wenger.

“Neither of the keepers had a save to make. It was a midfield battle but, in the end, we got caught on a counter-attack because we were all up front and did not cover ourselves. We were not happy with a draw.

“But I feel that result will strengthen the resolve of my team to come out and show a different level.

“You can’t predict this game and a lot depends on how Marseille play against Napoli too. But as we lost at the game home, the away games are now very important for us.”

Dortmund remain Europe’s 'en vogue' side. Their charismatic manager Jurgen Klopp has had to sell key players yet still fashions teams of pace and passion. They pushed Bayern Munich all the way in last season’s Champions League final and their haul of 28 points from 11 games this term equals their best ever start in the Bundesliga.

In addition, the atmosphere in the BVB Stadion is something to behold.

Previous Meetings

Arsenal 1-2 Borussia Dortmund
Group Stage - October 22, 2013

Arsenal 2-1 Borussia Dortmund
Group Stage - November 23, 2011

Borussia Dortmund 1-1 Arsenal
Group Stage - September 13, 2011

But then Arsenal’s excellent run on the road started last March about 500 miles to the south-east when they last came to Germany.

“We took belief from the 2-0 win at Bayern,” said Wenger. “We play everywhere to win, and that will not change of course. We will have a positive attitude in our approach to this game.

“Maybe we had not the same belief at home sometimes because we failed in a few big games. There was a bit more scepticism, less belief. Hopefully that is behind us now with the Liverpool game.”

If Saturday’s victory could be a breakthrough at Emirates then a win in Dortmund would raise their confidence away from home to the skies. And that would come in handy given Arsenal go to Manchester United on Sunday.

Of course, that is not the immediate issue. Lewandowski and co are the more pressing concern. But memories of a valiant 1-1 draw at Dortmund two years ago are fresh and the manager intends to be bold.

“Usually at home Lewandowski is quite dangerous but it is down to us to have the ball,” said Wenger. “That is the best way to keep them quiet.

“If we leave the ball to Dortmund a player like Lewandowski will be dangerous.

“We will try to have the ball and control the game.”

Group F

  P W D L F A +/- Pts
Arsenal 3 2 0 1 5 3 2 6
Borussia Dortmund 3 2 0 1 6 3 3 6
Napoli 3 2 0 1 4 4 0 6
Marseille 3 0 0 3 2 7 -5 0
See Full List

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