Signal Iduna Park, Dortmund
13 November, 19:45 BST
Dortmund manager Jurgen Klopp gave an intriguing interview ahead of the fixture and despite expressing his respect and admiration for Arsene Wenger, Klopp stressed on the difference in style and philosophy between both these managers. For neutrals though, this is the most eagerly anticipated clash of the matchday.
The German side managed to win against the Gunners at the Emirates stadium last month as Robert Lewandowski scored a late winner. Dortmund were the better side in the first half, but Arsenal enjoyed a good spell in the second half. But the German side displayed their efficiency on the counter-attack once again and grabbed all three points with that late goal.
With the group of death evenly balanced at the moment, the outcome of this game could have massive implications on the final standings of this group.
Team news and tactics
Borussia Dortmund have made a fine start to their season and have suffered only two defeats in two games in all competitions. The German side are currently second in the Bundesliga table and are just one point behind league leaders Bayern Munich. Die Borussen have recovered well from their defeat against Borussia Monchengladbach at the start of last month. They have now won four matches on the bounce including important wins over Arsenal and Schalke. The German are coming into this fixture on the back of a 6-1 win over Stuttgart as Robert Lewandowski scored a wonderful hattrick.
Dortmund have won two of their three matches in the Champions League so far this season and are tied on six points with Arsenal and Napoli. Their superior goal difference might have put them on the top, but Jurgen Klopp will know that every single point and goal could make the difference in this group.
Klopp will be still without Ilkay Gundogan and Lukasz Piszczek for this match due to injuries, but Sebastian Kehl could feature in this game after recovering from his lay-off. Dortmund are expected to make only one change to the side that started against Stuttgart last weekend. Sokratis is likely to be replaced by Subotic, who was rested, despite scoring the opening goal in that match. There are some concerns about the fitness of Hummels for this game, but the defender should start alongside Subotic.
Dortmund will once again press from the front and look to deny Arsenal midfielders any time or space on the ball. They will try and hurt the away side on the counter attack once again, as they did at the Emirates in their last meeting. Reus and Blaszczykowski will look to exploit the space in behind the full-backs as they look to push forward in attack. Winning the ball back early is the key for Dortmund’s game plan to succeed.
Expected starting line-up (4-2-3-1): Weidenfeller (GK); Großkreutz, Subotic, Hummels, Schmelzer; Bender, Sahin; Aubameyang, Mkhitaryan, Reus; Lewandowski
Arsenal are off to flying start this season, and despite being knocked out of the League Cup at the hands of Chelsea, the Gunners are sitting pretty at the top of the English Premier League table. Having won eight of their opening ten matches, the Gunners are currently hold a five points advantage over second placed Chelsea. Although they have won only three of their last six matches in all competitions, they are coming into this fixture after a massive win over Liverpool at home in the league.
Arsenal are tied on points with Napoli and Dortmund in the group of death and will now have to get results away from home against both these sides to progress through to the next round. It will be a hard task for the Gunners to get positive results in Germany and Italy, but they have been in amazing form away from home in Europe. In fact Arsenal are yet to lose an away fixture this season.
Arsene Wenger has big injury list to contain with ahead of this game and this match will certainly test their squad strength. Yaya Sanogo, Abou Diaby, Mathieu Flamini, Lukas Podolski, Alex Oxalade-Chamberlain and Theo Walcott are all out of contention for this match with injuries, while Jack Wilshere hasn’t travelled with the squad due to concerns regarding his fitness. Gibbs is also a doubtful for this game, but the left back has travelled to Germany.
Wenger is expected to make only one change to the squad that started against Liverpool. Nacho Monreal will start at left-back as Arsenal are unlikely to risk him ahead of the big clash against Manchester United in the league.
The Arsenal manager will be wary about Dortmund’s counter attacking prowess and might instruct his defenders to hold a deep line. Flamini’s absence could be a huge factor in the outcome of this fixture as Ramsey can be caught out of position defensively in the pivot. The Welshman might need to cut down on his attacking instincts and support Arteta in protecting the defence.
Expected starting line-up (4-2-3-1): Szczesny (GK); Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs; Arteta, Ramsey; Ozil, Cazorla, Wilshere; Giroud
Players to watch out for
Robert Lewandowski (Borussia Dortmund)
It is hard to look beyond the Polish international at this moment. The 25-year-old scored the winner at the Emirates with an emphatic finish and could once again prove to be the difference in this game. Lewandowski has already scored nine goals in 10 starts in the league this season, along with three assists. His hattrick in the last game against Stuttgart is a warning sign for Arsenal, if they needed one, against what might await them at the Signal Iduna Park.
Borussia Dortmund 2-2 Arsenal
Both the sides are high on confidence at the moment and this will make for an intriguing contest on the pitch. Arsenal are perhaps in more need of a win in this game than Dortmund and will come out all guns blazing, nut this will open up space for Dortmund to attack. This one is headed for an entertaining draw with end to end action.