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Wenger: Hard work the key

06 Nov 2013 10:46:52

Wenger: Hard work the key

Arsene Wenger hopes Arsenal can give Borussia Dortmund's well-drilled side the runaround when they clash in the Champions League at Westfalenstadion.

The Gunners head to Germany on the back of a 2-0 win over Liverpool which kept them at the top of the Barclays Premier League and produced the required response following a disappointing home exit from the Capital One Cup against Chelsea.

While Arsenal may be five points clear at the top of the English table, Wenger's side are certainly not having it all their own way in Europe.

Dortmund secured a 2-1 win at the Emirates Stadium a fortnight ago with a late goal from Robert Lewandowski and warmed up for their next European tie with a 6-1 victory over Stuttgart, when the Poland forward plundered a hat-trick.

Dortmund boss Jurgen Klopp has always challenged his side - which last season reached the final of the Champions League - to play the game in the right way and also "run 10 kilometres more" than the opposition.

Wenger, though, feels no matter how much ground is covered, his men will have to raise their level against the Bundesliga challengers as they look to get back on track for qualification from Group F.

"We look at it as well, the distances are important, but it is not just how far you run, how much you run, how intelligently you run and often the best teams can run less," he said.

"It's important that against a team like Dortmund who have a high potential that you work hard, especially when their players are capable of raising their level to the maximum."

Arsenal's club-record signing Mesut Ozil was struggling with a virus a fortnight ago, which hampered his overall impact.

The German playmaker has been named on the 23-man shortlist for the Ballon d'Or, along with Barcelona's Lionel Messi and former Real Madrid team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo.

While Wenger concedes the £43million-man is not one of the favourites for this season's accolade, he feels such recognition is not far away.

"Is he good enough to win it in the future? I think, yes," Wenger said.

"What he brings to the team is exceptional technical quality, his vision, his absolute desire to play collectively with other players in a strong way.

"He is a player who has only one master and that is football. That means he does always what the game demands. His ego does not stand in the way of his game. All the great players have that."

Arsenal travelled to Dortmund without England midfielder Jack Wilshere, who is nursing an ankle problem which could well cause him to miss the Premier League game at Manchester United on Sunday and also sit out the next round of international friendlies.

German midfielder Serge Gnabry has shrugged off his ankle problem, while full-back Kieran Gibbs, who hobbled off against Liverpool with a hip injury, is also in the travelling squad.

Midfielder Mathieu Flamini (groin) could be back to face United, but England forward Theo Walcott will have to wait until after the international break to fully recover from minor abdominal surgery.

Olivier Giroud will again lead the Arsenal attack, looking to add to his eight-goal tally.

The France forward accepts he has come a long way since being told by one-time Grenoble boss Mehmed Bazdarevic as a raw youngster he would never cut it with the elite.

"I was really young, 19 years old and I wasn't really mature enough and I grew up step by step," said the former Montpellier frontman.

"Everything I did on the pitch is my answer for people who wanted to blame me, maybe.

"I believe in my qualities and my game so I don't care about it, but it was a good inspiration for me."


PA

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