Dortmund Preview: Avoiding Defeat is Paramount
Arsenal face a very stern test tonight as they come up against a team in scorching form in the Bundesliga and Champions League. Borussia Dortmund are on fire now with just a loss in their last six games and its also worth noting that they have won all the home fixtures (eight in total) in all competitions this season. Arsenal on the other hand, are unbeaten in 14 away matches in all competitions since recording a famous win at Bayern Munich in March.
Dortmund have been chasing Bayern Munich frantically in the Bundesliga and are just a point behind the Bavarians at the summit of the German first division. They have sealed victories in their last four fixtures, which includes a narrow 2-1 win over Arsenal at the Emirates and last weekend, their hot streak continued as they pummeled VFB Stuttgart with six goals.
Borussia Dortmund’s manager, Jurgen Klopp, will leave no stone unturned to get the better of Arsenal again when they visit the Signal Iduna Park tonight. He had spoken about his admiration for Arsenal’s gaffer, Arsene Wenger, and poured cold water on any hopes of managing Arsenal in the near future. According to Klopp, Arsenal was more like an orchestra, that treats the ball like a delicacy but he prefers heavy metal music and this was on display when his team visited the Emirates with their heavy pressing game and high octane football.
At home, there have been over 2.5 goals scored in six of Borussia Dortmund’s last seven games in the Champions League (including qualifiers) so the Gunners have to be very mindful of the attacking threat they pose because they have a lot of talented individuals that will hurt the Gunners given half a chance.
With Arsenal, Dortmund and Napoli all on six points, tonight’s set of fixtures will be key as every result will set the tone for the destinies of these sides vying for qualification into the latter stages of the competition. If Arsenal manages to get a draw against Borussia Dortmund and Napoli beat Marseille, it would leave Napoli sitting pretty with nine points and they’ll still have a home clash against the Gunners in San Paolo, Naples.
This would mean that the Gunners would face a daunting task of defeating Napoli in Italy as well as making sure they dispatch Marseille at home to seal qualification. However, losing to Dortmund will put the Gunners in a mightily precarious situation and they would be hoping for Marseille to get some points off Napoli, which seems rather unlikely if you judge the performances of both sides thus far in the Champions League this season.
Napoli are likely to win at home to Marseille, so whoever loses this match could be left three points behind staring the Europa League in the face. Arsenal are on great form, but so are Dortmund, who are equally on fire following a 6-1 drubbing of VfB Stuttgart at the weekend. The Germans taught Arsenal a lesson a fortnight ago at the Emirates, and with the home advantage this time they will be even more likely to win.
The Gunners are in high spirits ahead of the game with Mikel Arteta stating that his team isn’t inferior to Dortmund, while Arsenal’s Man on Fire, Aaron Ramsey, has promised that the team is going to be street wise against the German outfit.
To injury news, Dortmund will be without their key defender, Matts Hummels, that suffered a thigh injury in the win agaianst Stuttgart but with Neven Subotic rested, he’ll be odds on to play alongside the Greek powerhouse, Sokratis Papathathopoulos, that scored twice against Stuttgart. Dortmund would also be without club captain Sebastian Kehl (ankle), despite the midfielder returning to training, while Lukasz Piszczek (groin) and Ilkay Gundogan (back) will definitely miss out.
At Arsenal, Jack Wilshere remains sidelined with an ankle injury while Kieran Gibbs has been declared fit and available to play despite his muscular problems against Liverpool last weekend. However, the usual suspects are still out which include Mathieu Flamini (groin), Theo Walcott (abdomen), Lukas Podolski (hamstring), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Abou Diaby (both knee), while young winger Serge Gnabry is struggling with an ankle injury.
I expect both sides to start the game with the following lineups below,
Avoiding defeat will be paramount for the Gunners.
Enjoy the game wherever you are.
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