Arsenal take on German side Borussia Dortmund at the Westfalenstadion tonight in their first leg Champions League group stage tie.
The two sides who where previously paired at the group stage of the same competition in the 2013/2014 edition have since strengthened their teams for the new term.
We would take a brief cross-section of Jürgen Klopp’s side.
Borussia Dortmund won their last two games in Bundesliga but they will be without Marco Reus. Mats Hummels is still recovering from an injury but he could be fit on time to face Arsenal
Borussia Dortmund are in a period of transition, with Klopp trying to remodel his side after experiencing big blows during transfer windows.
The squad that won twice the German Bundesliga was left short of their best player – Shinji Kagawa – at the end of the 2011/12 campaign but Borussia Dortmund managed the same to play the Champions League final the following year. Since then, Klopp lost two more key players as Mario Götze (summer 2013) and Robert Lewandowski (summer 2014) joined the arch-rivals Bayern Munich.
However, despite this kind of losses, BVB’s coach has always found a way to field a competitive side, especially in Europe. Last season they were close to a stunning comeback against Real Madrid in the quarter-finals; after losing 3-0 at Santiago Bernabeu, Klopp’s side won 2-0 giving Carlo Ancelotti the shivers. Eventually Real Madrid won the Champions League, but it’s in Europe that Borussia showed how unforeseeable they are.
Transfer Market: New and old faces
As said, losing Lewandowski meant that Klopp had to change the attacking line. Ciro Immobile and Adrian Ramos were the main addictions up front. Immobile scored 22 goals with Torino in the Italian Serie A last season while the Colombian is already accustomed to the German league, having netted 58 times in five years with Herta Berlin. The new arrivals will be used with or instead of Pierre Aubameyang, the main spearhead in Klopp’s plan.
Among the new faces there is Matthias Ginter, a versatile 21-year-old central defender. Already World Cup winner with Germany last July, Ginter could play also as defensive midfielder and his arrival would bolster a department, the defence, that last season were too short of alternatives due to several injuries.
However, the big news is the return of Kagawa. The Japanese creative midfielder was sold to Manchester United two seasons ago but despite a good start he didn’t seem comfortable in a Red Devils’ shirt. After disappointing and rather drab performances, the end of his time in England was bound to come when Louis Van Gaal arrived in Manchester and eventually Kagawa returned to the club which bought him from Cerezo Osaka.
Borussia started successfully this campaign winning the German Super Cup against Bayern Munich in mid-August but they lost at home in the opening game of Bundesliga against Bayer Leverkusen. Dortmund picked up their first points with a 3-2 win away to Augsburg before beating Freiburg 3-1 at home.
With six points BVB are back on track in the domestic tournament, sitting just one point behind the two current leaders, Bayern Munich and Bayer Leverkusen. However, Klopp’s concerns are about Marco Reus, who picked up a serious ankle injury during last weekend’s Germany-Scotland game and is expected to be sidelined for a month. Reus is undoubtedly the best player in the squad and the main link between attack and midfield. Kagawa and Henrick Mkhitaryan could fill the void but obviously Borussia won’t be the same without Reus.
Follow oohtobeagooner on Facebook
for more latest Arsenal transfer news, injury news, team news and rumours.