Setting the Course
Tomorrow it is time for another Champions League pageant in mighty Westfalenstadion. No one else than the current table-toppers of BPL - Arsenal FC - are going to visit Dortmund. The match in London already promised electricity and entertainment, but what we will see on Wednesday is pathbreaking for both teams and their future in Champions League. The constellation in group F could not be more tensed. With Borussia Dortmund, Arsenal FC, and SSC Napoli, three teams gained six points out of the first three matches and look forward to do everything that is needed, to reach the last 16. Needless to say, winning both home matches against Arsenal and Napoli, would be a significant step for BVB to reach the knockout phase, but also the broader aim of establishing within Europe's premier competition.
One of the Black and Yellow players that will try to put things on the right track, will be Serbian international Neven Subotic. On Monday he made an interesting point. The young centre-back gave an explanation why the hard-running system of Borussia Dortmund works and furthermore gave some indication why the team is such a unit. "The core has remained the same for five years and the team has grown together, which is what makes it special," Subotic told The Guardian. "It's very unique nowadays, in a game where you have players who are here one minute and then, in the winter, they are loaned out. I can look at almost anyone in the team and recount 30 times where he saved my butt or I saved his butt."
On Monday too, coach Jürgen Klopp gave an first outlook on the upcoming match against Arsenal. "In Westfalenstadion we can't shuffle off being favorites, but: We're facing the dominant table-toppers of BPL. They won the match on Saturday against Liverpool in a really confident way. They're a highly talented team," Klopp told BVB's own TV station. "We were lucky in London, a draw would've been fine. At home we should get posession of the ball more often, to create more scoring opportunities. At this level with these teams, there exists no guarantee for victories. We'll see what we'll get for our effort."
Black and Yellow Situation
The aforementioned Neven Subotic will most likely be in the starting XI together with Greek international Sokratis Papastathopoulos, who showed a promising performance during the battering of VfB Stuttgart on Friday. Regular player Mats Hummels had some problems with his thigh and back after the Stuttgart match, and according to Klopp there is a "97,5%" chance that the centre-back will not play tomorrow. Apart from this tactical measure, Borussia Dortmund can count on every player, except long-term casualties Lukasz Piszczek, Ilkay Gündogan and Sebastian Kehl (deficit after his injury).
On the media conference Jürgen Klopp let the journalists know, that it is quite impossible to surprise your opponent on Champions League level. Nevertheless, he thinks that Dortmund has the tools to anger Arsenal. "I think we're able to defeat Arsenal if we can push through our style of play. During the last match we had some moments when we came only seconds too late and nearly conceded a goal by Cazorla," he said. "The details are important. We won't be surprised of Arsenal, as well as Arsenal won't be surprised of our qualities."
On Arsenal's alleged strenght while playing away, Klopp told: "I don't think they are stronger when playing away. They're always strong. Last year, the match against FC Bayern München was really close. It's all about how we play tomorrow. If they're stronger than two weeks ago, it's our fault because we allowed it," he said. "We'll be well prepared." Midfielder and German international Marco Reus took the same line. "I think it's 50:50. There's no clear favorite. It'll be a really close match and it's all about winning the important duels. We need the will to score goals," Reus said. "This is Champions League and we know that every small mistake will be punished. Still we want to win this match."
Arsene Wenger Football Club
On today's media conference Arsene Wenger predicted a close game, just like it has been back in London. "Dortmund is a good sight. But we've played everywhere in Europe and always had approach. Still it's different to predict what will happen. Both are positive sides and both teams will try to win," Wenger told. "We probably have to win due to the loss at home. You could feel that we had less believe at home. Hopefully we got that behind." According to Wenger Arsenal want to show another level compared to the first match: "We want to control the ball and we want to have the ball. That's the best way to keep BVB quite. We'll try to control the game." Definitely out will be midfielders Jack Wilshere as well as Mathieu Flamini, Gnabry and Gibbs are available.
In my opinion the match will be quite similar to the match in London. Both teams know about the importance of this game and have to go without key players (Mats Hummels, Jack Wilshere). Let's hope for the same outcome and a significant step towards the last 16!
Borussia Dortmund: Weidenfeller - Großkreutz, Sokratis, Subotic, Durm - Sahin, Bender - Blaszczykowski (Aubameyang), Mkhitaryan, Reus - Lewandowski.
Substitute's Bench: Langerak, Schmelzer, Sarr, Kirch, Aubameyang, Hofmann, Ducksch, Schieber.
Arsenal FC: Szczesny - Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs - Ramsey, Arteta - Rosicky, Özil, Cazorla - Giroud.
Substitute's Bench: Fabianski, Monreal, Vermaelen, Bendtner, Gnabry, Jenkinson.
Referee: Björn Kuipers (Netherlands)
Kickoff: 6th of November 2013 - 8.45. P.M. CET.
Attendance: Westfalenstadion, 65,829 (sold out)