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Arsenal take aim at Dortmund's rising star

Published: Tuesday 22 November 2011, 20.57CET
Two teams that have hit top form after poor starts to the season meet in London as Group F leaders Arsenal FC host a Borussia Dortmund side gearing up for "an all or nothing game".
by Jamie Reid
from London

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Published: Tuesday 22 November 2011, 20.57CET

Arsenal take aim at Dortmund's rising star

Two teams that have hit top form after poor starts to the season meet in London as Group F leaders Arsenal FC host a Borussia Dortmund side gearing up for "an all or nothing game".

Arsenal FC manager Arsène Wenger is hoping his side's football does the talking once more as they take on Borussia Dortmund, another side who have come on in leaps and bounds since their first UEFA Champions League Group F fixture. The Gunners will advance to the round of 16 with victory, and a draw would be enough if the meeting between Olympique de Marseille and Olympiacos FC finishes all-square; Dortmund need to match or better Marseille's result to ensure they are still in the running on matchday six.

Arsenal
Manager Arsène Wenger
I believe both teams have improved since [matchday one, when they drew 1-1 in Dortmund]. We have grown and they have grown. We had a difficult start; they had a difficult start, and have picked up since. They were a good team already in Dortmund, but we feel strong enough at home and finish the job.

Every player, every member of the staff is conscious that it's a big night for us, very important. It's another test of our solidity and we'll go into the game with that attitude; concentration, desire to win and, hopefully, I think we can do it.

I always said there's only one way to put the critics right: play well. I was always confident, because since the start of the season I always knew the spirit of the team is good; I have confidence in the quality of the players, but of course, better than talking is playing well and winning games.

Weekend result
Saturday: Norwich City FC 1-2 Arsenal (Morison 16; Van Persie 27 59)
Szczęsny; Koscielny, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Santos; Arteta, Song, Walcott (Djourou 90+3), Ramsey, Gervinho (Benayoun 78); Van Persie

• Robin van Persie has scored 31 league goals in 29 appearances in 2011. Van Persie is only the fifth player in Premier League history to score 30 or more in a calendar year after Alan Shearer (twice), Thierry Henry, Ruud van Nistelrooy and Les Ferdinand.

Team news
Jack Wilshere and Bacary Sagna have long-term injuries, but Abou Diaby (hamstring) is back in the squad. Tomáš Rosický looks to be out of contention after picking up a minor thigh strain in training.

Dortmund
Coach Jürgen Klopp
It's an all or nothing game. Arsenal can qualify with a draw, but they are not the type of team who play for a point; that's not their philosophy. That said, if we take our chances tomorrow everything will be fine. We cannot focus on anybody else [in the group]. We have to win this game. If we don't then there may not be another chance to make things right. If we achieve our objective here, then anything is possible in the last game against Marseille.

Arsenal might have had bigger problems than we did at the beginning of the season, but it was obvious Arsène Wenger would guide them through. They have found form, winning some big games, but we are prepared for it. When they have everybody fit, Bayern [who Dortmund beat on Saturday] are one of the top three or four teams in Europe, so it is no more difficult playing here; no easier either, though. We have to compete.

Robin van Persie is in great form, but we will not have four men on him. The easiest way to prevent him scoring is to make sure he doesn't get good service, and of course we have taken measures to prevent that. It would be fatal to focus on him, though. Of course he is great, but we must also take care of other players, like Theo Walcott, Aaron Ramsey, Song – you will get punished if you let any of them go.

Weekend result
Saturday: FC Bayern München 0-1 Dortmund (Götze 65)
Weidenfeller; Piszczek, Santana, Hummels, Schmelzer; Bender, Kehl (Leitner 79); Götze, Kagawa (Perišić 89), Grosskreutz; Lewandowski (Barrios 90)

• Dortmund cut Bayern's lead at the Bundesliga summit to two points. They are six games unbeaten, winning five.

Team news
Dortmund have a clean bill of health save for Shinji Kagawa's minor toothache. Marcel Schmelzer, who sat out Germany's recent friendlies with a calf strain, returned on Saturday.

Match fact
Last season's Bundesliga champions have a habit of beating English opponents when it matters. They overcame Liverpool FC 2-1 in the 1966 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup final in Glasgow having removed West Ham United FC from their path in the semi-finals with a 5-2 aggregate victory.

Last updated: 27/11/12 8.26CET

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http://www.uefa.com/uefachampionsleague/season=2012/matches/round=2000263/match=2007644/prematch/preview/index.html#arsenal+take+dortmunds+rising+star

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