When the draws for the Champions League were announced in October and Arsenal, Borussia Dortmund, Napoli and Marseille were drawn together in Group F, it the ‘Group of Death’ had been found. This year, it really is going down to the wire.
Dortmund play host to an Arsenal side that is currently running riot. Top of the Premier League and five points clear of second place Liverpool, Arsene Wenger’s men are showing the rest of football that they are challenging for the title this year.
They are off to a good, yet still tight, start to the Champions League. Dortmund, Arsenal and Napoli are level on six points each. This could lead to a nail biting finish.
After seeing off both Napoli and Marseille the first time around, their biggest test was a home game against last year’s finalists Dortmund; despite a thrilling fixture, the Gunners lost 2-1. They must now face their opponents on home soil, which will lead to an even tougher battle.
Jurgen Klopp’s side are hard working – on and off the ball – strong and efficient, supported by some of the best fans in the world. The 80,000-strong capacity Signal Iduna Park always excites for a great atmosphere.
Arsenal travel to Germany without key midfielders Jack Wilshere and Mathieu Flamini who are both unavailable through injury. Arsenal will hope the absence of Flamini will not hinder their chances, as the Frenchman is the type of player they need to hunt the ball and close down the opposition.
However, Arsenal will take encouragement from their star duo Santi Cazorla and Mesut Ozil, as well as the hotshot Aaron Ramsey. The talent and creativity looks set to come from these three.
Borussia Dortmund are a point behind their rivals Bayern Munich, who currently lead in the Bundesliga. Both teams are off to a flying start in their respected leagues.
They will be without club captain Sebastian Kehl, Ilkay Gundogan and Lukasz Piszczek through injuries.
Dortmund will look to threaten with their wonderful counter attacking play, which thwarted Arsenal at times in the previous match. They will as well have the presence of Robert Lewandowski. The striker may not have been at his best in their last meeting but was impressive enough to finish off Arsenal and give the German side an important three points.
Both sides have real quality and excel in attack, but also impress in defence. They have equally only conceded 9 goals in their domestic leagues, with Dortmund netting 31 goals, to Arsenal’s 22. This clash is set to be a real dogfight.