BERLIN - Former winners Borussia Dortmund
host Arsenal in their Champions League Group F opener on
Tuesday, with both sides desperate to drag themselves out of an
early slump this season.
Arsenal are not in the best of shape for Tuesday's encounter
with manager Arsene Wenger starting the first game of his
two-match touchline ban and injuries keeping out key defender
Thomas Vermaelen and midfielder Jack Wilshere.
At least the Gunners finally got their domestic campaign up
and running when they beat Swansea City 1-0 for their first
Premier League win of the season with a hugely fortuitous goal
from Andrei Arshavin at Emirates Stadium on Saturday.
Despite the win and some good midfield approach work from
new signing Mikel Arteta, it was another nervy performance from
Wenger's men albeit an improvement on their 8-2 defeat at
Manchester United two weeks ago.
"We started quite well, but the nerves took over and we
played with the handbrake on," Wenger, who lost his appeal
against his UEFA ban last week, said.
"Confidence goes quickly, and comes back slowly, and for us
to be in the situation we are in, we are not used to that. We
need to put a few wins together."
Defender Per Mertesacker, making a quick return to his
homeland after joining Arsenal at the end of the transfer
window, has told his team mates they face a tough task in
"Dortmund were the best team in Germany last year, they do a
good job passing the ball and have great players," the Germany
"It will be difficult for us but I know we have very good
players and I am confident we can get a result.
"Dortmund are the toughest opponents in our group so we will
be very happy if we take something from this match."
Dortmund, however, are a shadow of last season's explosive
team and a 2-1 home defeat by Hertha Berlin on Saturday has done
little to calm nerves before the game.
With just seven points from five league games and already
two defeats, Dortmund know they must up their game against the
The 1997 Champions League winners slumped to their first
home defeat in 18 league games stretching back to August 2010
with yet another uninspired performance.
Coach Jurgen Klopp will be relieved to have Mario Goetze
back in action after the 19-year-old midfielder missed the
league game through suspension.
"We can play much better than we did against Hertha and with
a lot more creativity," Klopp said.
Top striker Lucas Barrios, who has recovered from a muscle
injury that caused him to miss the start of the season, could
make a return despite coming back to training only last week.
"We need to turn our weaknesses into strengths against
Arsenal," central defender Neven Subotic said.
"Saturday's performance is not enough. It is not enough for
the Bundesliga and most certainly not enough for the Champions
Borussia Dortmund: 1-Roman Weidenfeller; 26-Lukasz Piszczek,
4-Neven Subotic, 15-Mats Hummels, 29-Marcel Schmelzer; 22-Sven
Bender, 21-Ilkay Guendogan, 11-Mario Goetze, 23-Shinji Kagawa,
19-Kevin Grosskreutz; 9-Robert Lewandowski.
Arsenal: 13-Wojciech Szczesny; 3-Bacary Sagna, 4-Per
Mertesacker, 6-Laurent Koscielny, 28-Kieran Gibbs; 8-Mikel
Arteta, 16-Aaron Ramsey, 7-Tomas Rosicky, 30-Yossi Benayoun;
10-Robin van Persie, 14-Theo Walcott.
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