Emirates Stadium, London
22 October, 19:45 BST
Arsenal FC host Borussia Dortmund in one of the most awaited matches in recent times. The group of death, as it was called when Marseille, Arsenal, Napoli and Dortmund were drawn together, is already living up to its billing and some fantastic football has been on show. Arsenal currently lead the table with 6 points in group F, while Dortmund are tied on (3) points with Napoli. A win for either of side could move them one step closer to qualification from this group.
Last time these two sides met was in the groups stages of the 2011-12 season: Arsenal won the match at the Emirates with Robin van Persie scoring a wonderful brace. Dortmund’s last win against Arsenal came in 2002 when Tomas Rosicky, who now plays for a Gunners, scored the winner.
Team news and tactics
The Gunners have been in fantastic form, after having turned their season around following their opening day loss at the hands of Aston Villa. That was Arsenal’s only defeat in their last 12 matches in all competitions. Arsene Wenger’s men currently lead the Premier League points table with a two points advantage over Chelsea.
Arsenal have also made a bright start to their European campaign with two wonderful victories against Marseille and Napoli. In their last match against the Italian side, the London club produced a wonderful performance in the first half and won the match 2-0. Arsene Wenger will hope for a repeat of that performance against Dortmund at the Emirates.
Arsenal are coming into this match on the back of a fantastic 4-1 win over Norwich at the weekend. They scored four of the most fantastic goals seen in recent times and sent out a clear warning to all their rivals.
Wenger is still without a lot of key players ahead of this game, but the big news is the absence of Mathieu Flamini from the side. The Frenchman, who has been a pivotal member of the side since his arrival, is out of contention after picking up a concussion in the match against Norwich. Theo Walcott, Yaya Sanogo, Lukas Podolski, Alex Oxlade Chamberlain and About Diaby are also out injured at the moment.
Arsene Wenger is expected to make only one change to the side he fielded against Norwich. Aaron Ramsey, who came on as a substitute for Flamini in the first half of that game, will start alongside Mikel Arteta in the central midfield double pivot. Olivier Giroud will once again lead the line, with Santi Cazorla, Mesut Ozil and Jack Wilshere providing the creativity behind him.
Expected starting line-up (4-2-3-1): Szczesny (GK); Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs; Arteta, Ramsey; Ozil, Cazorla, Wilshere; Giroud
Like Arsenal, Borussia Dortmund have also made a fine start to their league campaign with seven wins in their opening nine games. They are currently second in Bundesliga – just one point behind leaders Bayern Munich.
Dortmund lost their opening Champions League match of the season against Napoli, but recovered well to win against Marseille at home in their last game. Robert Lewandowski scored a wonderful brace as Dortmund were dominant throughout the game. They are currently second in the Group F’s standings and will be gunning for a positive result in this match against The Gunners.
Dortmund are coming into this game on the back of a 1-0 victory over Hannover 96 in the domestic league. Marco Reus scored from the penalty spot in the first half to provide the home side with this crucial victory.
Dortmund manager Jurgen Klopp is without three key players for this match. Sebastian Kehl, Ilkay Gundogan and Lukasz Piszczek are all out injured. Left-back Marcel Schmelzer is fit enough to start in this game, but it would be interesting to see if Klopp sticks with Erik Durm, who has been impressive in his absence.
Klopp is expected to make two changes to the side that was fielded against Hannover at the weekend. Mats Hummels, who missed out the last league match due to suspension, will replace Sokratis in defence. Jurgen Klopp himself is banned from the touchline for this game after his antics in the match against Napoli and will have to watch from the stands.
Expected starting line-up (4-2-3-1): Weidenfeller (GK); Großkreutz, Subotic, Hummels, Schmelzer; Bender, Sahin; Aubameyang, Mkhitaryan, Reus; Lewandowski
Players to watch out for: Mesut Özil (Arsenal); Marco Reus (Dortmund)
Prediction: Arsenal 2-1 Borussia Dortmund