Borussia Dortmund may be outsiders in a three-way race to claim the remaining qualifying berth in UEFA Champions League Group F, but defender Mats Hummels is not giving up hope ahead of their game at home to Olympique de Marseille on Tuesday.
Arsenal FC won the section thanks to Robin van Persie's two goals in their 2-1 victory over the Bundesliga side a fortnight ago. However, the battle to follow Arsène Wenger's side into the round of 16 draw on Hummel's 23rd birthday next Friday is going down to the wire.
Marseille, on seven points, are in the strongest position, ahead of Olympiacos on six points and Dortmund on four. To qualify, the German champions need to beat Marseille by four goals at the BVB Stadion and hope that Arsenal – who may rest players – take all three points in Piraeus. Should Olympiacos draw, Dortmund would need an even bigger winning margin of five goals or more.
Hummels was philosophical about the impact of his side's defeat in north London, on a night when Marseille lost 1-0 to Olympiacos. "If we'd won and Marseille had won, it would have been the same for us," the central defender told UEFA.com. "
We need to score four goals against Marseille at home; it's really difficult."
He is hoping that some solid work at the back against Olympiacos by fellow German international Per Mertesacker, should he start, will ensure Arsenal provide a helping hand in what seems an improbable bid to qualify. "We know it's nearly impossible because Arsenal need to win in Piraeus and they've made it through to the next round – so I don't think they'll play their best team," said Hummels. But he quipped: "I've told Per Mertesacker I'll kick him if they don't win there!"
Despite the odds, the arithmetic still keeps Dortmund in the running to advance to the knockout stages and much will depend on how they perform against Didier Deschamps' men on Tuesday. "We need to have a really good game against Marseille, and a little help from Arsenal," Hummels concluded.
©UEFA.com 1998-2015. All rights reserved.