UEFA.com works better on other browsers
For the best possible experience, we recommend using Chrome, Firefox or Microsoft Edge.

Arsenal opener for Dortmund on their return

Borussia Dortmund's first UEFA Champions League game for nine years brings a reunion with Tomáš Rosický, whose Arsenal FC team hope their 14th successive participation will end in glory.

Borussia Dortmund are hoping for more to celebrate against Arsenal
Borussia Dortmund are hoping for more to celebrate against Arsenal ©Getty Images

Borussia Dortmund's return to the UEFA Champions League after an absence of nine years brings them up against one of their former players, with Tomáš Rosický on duty for an Arsenal FC team competing in the tournament for the 14th successive season.

Previous meetings
• The Group F rivals were also paired in the same UEFA Champions League section in the 2002/03 first group stage, the last time Dortmund were involved. They went down 2-0 in north London but won 2-1 at home. Rosický scored both the German team's goals, the second a penalty, after Thierry Henry had opened the scoring for the visitors. Sebastian Kehl also played for BVB.

• Last season's Bundesliga champions have a habit of beating English opponents in important ties. 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. The goal against in a 3-1 home win was the only time they conceded in their first four home games against English visitors before Henry's strike.

• Dortmund also knocked out Manchester United FC en route to victory in the 1996/97 UEFA Champions League, winning both legs of their semi-final 1-0.

• Arsenal's last game in Germany was a 2-1 win at Hamburger SV in the 2006/07 UEFA Champions League group stage, Rosický scoring the winner. It was one of three wins in Germany with five defeats and two draws; of their six UEFA Champions League games away to Bundesliga opponents that is Arsenal's sole victory, with one draw and four losses.

Match background
• Arsenal – who finished fourth in last season's Premier League – owed their participation to a play-off victory, the fifth time in six seasons they have come through a qualifying round. Theo Walcott gave the London side a narrow home first-leg victory against Udinese Calcio. Although that was wiped out by Antonio Di Natale's first-half header at the Stadio Friuli, Robin van Persie restored Arsenal's aggregate advantage and, after Wojciech Szczęsny had brilliantly saved a Di Natale penalty, Walcott clinched progress.

• Last season Arsenal reached the round of 16 where they went down 4-3 on aggregate to eventual champions FC Barcelona. It was the 11th successive season they had made it through the group – they finished as runners-up behind FC Shakhtar Donetsk – and the first time since 2006/07 they had failed to reach the quarter-finals or better.

• With the 3-1 defeat at the Camp Nou following reverses in their previous two group away fixtures, at Shakhtar and SC Braga, Arsenal have lost six of their last seven away games in the competition proper. Their only success in that sequence came on matchday two last season when they won at FK Partizan.

• Arsène Wenger's team began last season's campaign with a 6-0 home victory against Braga. It was their sixth matchday one victory in seven attempts, the only blemish a 1-1 draw at FC Dynamo Kyiv in 2008/09.

• This is Dortmund's seventh participation in the UEFA Champions League. In 1997 they became the first winners from Germany, beating Juventus 3-1 in Munich.

• At home in their 2002/03 first group stage campaign, apart from the win against Arsenal, Dortmund played AJ Auxerre (2-1) and PSV Eindhoven (1-1) to finish with ten points, level with section winners Arsenal but second on head to head record. In the second group stage they beat FC Lokomotiv Moskva 3-0 at home but lost to AC Milan 1-0 and drew 1-1 with Real Madrid CF.

Team ties
• Rosický played for Dortmund between 2000 and 2006, when he left for Arsenal, scoring 19 goals in 149 Bundesliga games.

• Dortmund’s Mario Götze, Marcel Schmelzer and Sven Bender, and Arsenal's Per Mertesacker, were in the Germany team that shared a 2-2 friendly draw with Poland last week in Gdansk. The home side included Arsenal's Wojciech Szczęsny and Dortmund pair Robert Lewandowski and Błaszczykowski, who both scored.

• When Belgium faced Poland in an UEFA EURO 2008 qualifier in November 2006 in Brussels, Thomas Vermaelen played for the home team and Jakub Błaszczykowski for the visitors, who won 1-0.

• Błaszczykowski and Lewandowski were in the Polish team beaten 2-0 by Rosický's Czech Republic in a 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifier in Prague.

Selected for you