Pre-Match Report

Under-19s: Dortmund v Arsenal - Preview

Arsenal's latest crop of young stars begin another European adventure on Wednesday when they take on Borussia Dortmund in their opening Youth League game.

Steve Gatting's side enjoyed an excellent run in the inaugural competition last term, reaching the last eight before succumbing to eventual winners Barcelona.

Once again, the group stage of the tournament mirrors that of the first team's, giving the club's scholars a chance follow Arsene Wenger's squad to different destinations across Europe and witness their Champions League exploits in the flesh.

The academy boast an impressive recent record in European competition. In 2012/13, Terry Burton led the under-19s to the semi-finals of the NextGen Series in Lake Como where they were beaten 4-3 by London rivals Chelsea after extra-time.

Under the stewardship of Gatting last season, the young Gunners topped their group with nine points before seeing off Shakthar Donetsk in the last 16. A glamour trip to Catalonia followed where Arsenal arguably produced their best display of the campaign - twice coming from behind before conceding two goals in the closing minutes.

13/14 U19: Arsenal 0-0 Borussia Dortmund

 

But the Gunners left Barcelona with their heads held high and have another chance to go one step further this year. The competition provided a springboard for the likes of Chuba Akpom, Hector Bellerin and Serge Gnabry to demonstrate their potential.

It's been a summer of change for the academy with Andries Jonker replacing Liam Brady at the helm at the start of July. A reshuffle of the coaching set-up ensued with fellow Dutch coaches Jan van Loon and Frans de Kat taking charge of the under-16s and under-18s respectively while Carl Laraman has joined up with the second string as Gatting's assistant.

First up for Arsenal are familiar opposition in Dortmund, who they drew with twice in the group stage last season. The German side held Arsenal to a goalless draw at Meadow Park before coming back from 2-0 down to snatch a point off Gatting's side in Germany two weeks later.

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