Match Preview: German Champions Dortmund Host Arsenal as Champions League Begins
Tomas Rosicky will not feature for Arsenal when the Gunners make a trip to Germany to face his old club Borussia Dortmund as this season’s UEFA Champions League group stage kicks-off tonight across Europe.
The Czech midfielder is still struggling with a knee injury and is joined on the cold table of the Arsenal medics by Wales captain Aaron Ramsey who will miss the encounter with an ankle injury picked up in training on Monday.
And other than long term injury casualties Jack Wilshere and Thomas Vermaelen, manager Arsène Wenger has virtually the whole squad available for selection with Gervinho and Alex Song back from three-match suspensions each, the third served in Saturday’s win over Swansea City.
Hence, Gervinho’s return will likely see one of Andrey Arshavin (preferably) and Theo Walcott start from the bench just as Aaron Ramsey’s absence allows for Alex Song to have a starting shirt along with Emmanuel Frimpong to complete the midfield that will be anchored by Mikel Arteta.
Per Mertesacker will keep his place partnering Laurent Koscielny at the heart of defense while Kieran Gibbs looks the likely bet to start, unless André Santos has attained match fitness in order to stake a claim for a starting shirt. The other new players, Park Chu Young and Yossi Benayoun will settle for places on the bench.
Arsenal go to Dortmund’s 80,000 capacity Signal Iduna Park hoping a repeat of the 2-1 loss in our only previous visit doesn’t re-occur. In other visits to Germany, the Gunners lost 3-1 to Bayern Munich in a first knock-out round first leg encounter in 2005 but won 3-1 at S. V. Hamburg where club legend Thierry Henry scored a brace, including a landmark goal.
The Group F match kicks off at 19:45 with Dortmund coming into the game on the back of a 2-1 loss inflicted by Hertha Berlin in the Bundesliga. Despite that, the reigning Bundesliga champions remain a strong opposition for the Gunners with the likes of Serbian defender Neven Subotic and rumoured Arsenal target Mario Götze in the side.
Olympiacos Piraeus and Olympique Marseille will meet in the group’s other match.
Let’s go Gunners!!!