Over and over again
It's Arsenal FC....once again. For the third time in four seasons Borussia Dortmund is facing the London giants. And again it won't be an easy task as Arsene Wenger is lining up a talent-bolstered team. Nonetheless Jürgen Klopp surely wants to start into the Champions League group stage with a win, especially playing at home.
The drawing for this season's Champions League group stage offered some interesting opponents. As mentioned we will meet Arsenal FC from London for an unbelievable third time in four seasons. So Jürgen Klopp and Arsene Wenger will meet each other for the fifth and sixth time in a little bit more than three years time. Adding to that we will face Galatasaray SK from Istanbul and RSC Anderlecht from Bruxelles. All in all not an easy group but regarding our last Champions League seasons, Borussia Dortmund and Arsenal FC should be favourites to proceed to the group stage, nonetheless especially Galatasaray could really be a threat. The Turkish giants are a massive club with passionate supporters, so the trip to Türk Telekom Arena will be crucial.
But let's start with Arsenal FC and have a look at the past matches. In season 2011/12 Borussia Dortmund played Champions League for the first time since nearly a decade. The London based club were guests in Westphalia for Borussia's first match. The black-yellows showed a good performance but wasted several chances to score. Arsenal in return used van Persie's coolness in front of the goal to score. But it was Ivan Perisic, now playing for VfL Wolfsburg, who scored the equaliser with a fantastic late volley shot. But all in all the group stage of that season was horrible. We won against Olympiakos Piraeus at home but lost all the other four matches, where especially the matches against Olympique Marseille hurt. Arsenal FC also had no mercy at home at the Emirates stadium and earned a 2-1 win.
Two season later things had changed. Borussia Dortmund's squad had gained some more experience. Curiously we were once again drawn in one group with Arsenal FC and Olympique Marseille while SSC Napoli completed the group. Olympique Marseille this time was no real opponent and finished on the fourth spot without earning a single point. So it was between Arsenal, Napoli and Dortmund. While Borussia was able to win 2-1 in London, Arsene Wenger's team somehow managed to win luckily 1-0 in Dortmund. In the end Borussia Dortmund finished on top of the group with 12 points.
Last season Arsenal FC ended a horrible streak of 8 seasons without any title by winning the FA cup and Charity Shield cup. While during the past seasons Wenger wasn't able to compete with the big guns on the transfer market things changed over the last two seasons. Mesut Özil's transfer from Real Madrid to London was a clear sign to everbody out there, that Arsenal was now willing to spend on big names. They continued this summer by signing Alexis Sanchex from FC Barcelona and Danny Welbeck from Manchester United. French defender Mathieu Debuchy from Newcastle was signed to strengthen the defence.
Jürgen Klopp has to cope with several injured players. Some of those are out for several weeks, like Sahin, Reus, Blasczcykoswki, Gündogan and Kirch, and some should be available in 1 or 2 weeks, like Ji and skipper Hummels. Piszczek, Subotic, Sokratis and Durm will start as our flat four in front of goalie Weidenfeller. In holding midfield we have a problem as only Kehl and Bender are available. Even Jojic is doubtful for the Arsenal clash. In attacking Midfield Kagawa should give us more options, but Shinji Kagawa is as well doubtful due to muscular problems. Großkreutz and Mkhitaryan will play on the wings. Up front Ramos might start, alternatively Immobile or Aubameyang could be options.
Arsene Wenger has some minor problems with right back Mathieu Debuchy and Spanish left back Monreal missing the trip to Dortmund. So Wenger might opt for Chambers, new signing from Southhampton, and Gibbs. In central defence German world cup winner Mertesacker and Koscielny will play in front of goalie Szczesny. In holding midfield Ramsey and Arteta will start. Sanchez, Wilshire and Özil will make up the attacking midfield, backing up sole striker Welbeck.
Borussia Dortmund: Weidenfeller - Piszczek, Subotic, Sokratis, Durm - Kehl, Jojic (Bender) - Großkreutz, Kagawa (Aubameyang), Mkhitaryan - Ramos (Immobile)
Coach: Jürgen Klopp
Arsenal FC: Szczesny - Chambers, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal - Ramsey, Arteta - Sanchez, Wilshere, Özil - Welbeck
Coach: Arsene Wenger
Referee: Olegário Benquerença (Portugal)
Kick off: 8.45 pm CET, September 16th
Stadium: Westfalenstadion (65.851, sold out)