Arsenal will be without Mathieu Flamini and Jack Wilshere for Wednesday’s key Champions League group match at Borussia Dortmund. Arsenal’s 2-1 home defeat to the same opponents two weeks ago has left Group F finely poised, with the Gunners, Dortmund and Napoli all level on six points. With Napoli taking on a Marseille side currently without a point in Italy, a defeat for either of the sides at the Westfalenstadion would leave them with no margin for error in the remaining two matches.
A late goal from Robert Lewandowski saw Dortmund claim what could prove to be a vital win at the Emirates, but Arsene Wenger believes his side will have learned from the mistakes that led to the defeat and be determined to put things right.
“I believe we lost the first game because we wanted to absolutely to win at any cost and we exposed ourselves,” he said, according to Arsenal’s official website. “But I feel that result will strengthen the resolve of my team to come out and show a different level.
“You can’t predict this game and a lot depends on how Marseille play against Napoli too. But as we lost at the game home, the away games are now very important for us.”
If Wenger is to get a positive result he will have to do so without two of his key midfielders. Flamini remains out with a groin strain, while Wilshere has also not traveled after injuring his ankle in training last week. There is better news elsewhere, with Wenger confident that Kieran Gibbs can recover from a calf strain suffered in Saturday’s 2-0 victory over Liverpool. Meanwhile, Serge Gnabry is back with the squad.
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Dortmund come into the match on a high having followed up a 3-1 victory at the home of fierce rivals Schalke with a 6-1 thumping of Stuttgart last Friday. Last season’s Champions League finalists are also in a roll in Europe having recovered well from an opening defeat in the group to Napoli. Manager Jurgen Klopp believes the return match with Arsenal will again be one of fine margins and that home advantage could be key.
“This game will be decided by small things," he said, according to Borussia Dortmund’s official website. "We believe it´s an advantage to play at home. If Arsenal play better in our stadium than in the first game, it will likely be because we let them do so."
Dortmund have injury problems of their own. Germany international Mats Hummels has been ruled out, meaning that Neven Subotic will return to the lineup to partner Sokratis at the heart of the defense.
Borussia Dortmund (probable)
D: Grosskreutz, Subotic, Sokratis, Schmelzer
M: Bender, Sahin
Blaszczykowski, Mkhitaryan, Reus
D: Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs
M: Ramsey, Arteta
Rosicky, Ozil, Cazorla
Where to watch: The Champions League Group F match will kick off at 2.45 p.m. ET. Coverage will be provided by Fox Sports 2, with a live stream available via Fox Soccer 2Go.