14 September 2014 21:35
Borussia Dortmund and Arsenal will renew acquaintances when the UEFA Champions League group stage begins on Tuesday.
The two sides have been drawn in the same pool for the second season in succession, with both having qualified for the knockout stages last time around.
Aaron Ramsey scored the only goal as Arsenal won in Dortmund last term after the Bundesliga giants had claimed a 2-1 win at the Emirates Stadium in October.
The defeat at Signal Iduna Park was Dortmund’s first at home against an English opponent in European competition.
They went on to lose to eventual champions Real Madrid in the quarter-finals, while Arsenal were eliminated a round earlier by 2013 winners Bayern Munich.
But Arsenal coach Arsene Wenger says the recent meetings between the sides will have no bearing on this season’s Group D showdowns.
“It is not an advantage, it is not a disadvantage, it is just a new fight every time,” said Wenger.
“They are a different team today and England versus Germany are always fierce battles.”
Arsenal have made an underwhelming start to the Premier League season, following up their opening-day victory over Crystal Palace with three consecutive draws against Everton, Leicester City and reigning champions Manchester City.
Dortmund, meanwhile, have registered back-to-back victories after suffering a shock 2-0 home defeat to Bayer Leverkusen in their first Bundesliga fixture of the new campaign.
Shinji Kagawa – re-signed from Manchester United before the transfer window closed – marked his return to the club with a goal in a 3-1 win against Freiburg on Saturday, and could come up against former Old Trafford club-mate Danny Welbeck on Tuesday after the striker made a deadline-day move to Arsenal.
The 1997 winners currently sport a lengthy injury list and will be without Ilkay Gundogan (back), Marco Reus (ankle), Jakub Blaszczykowski (thigh), Nuri Sahin (knee) and Oliver Kirch (thigh) for this week’s encounter.
Mathieu Debuchy was carried off on a stretcher with an ankle injury during Arsenal’s draw with Manchester City on Saturday, but was set to miss the Dortmund clash already due to a suspension.
The Frenchman’s absence is likely to open the door for Calum Chambers to make his Champions League bow. The defender – signed from Southampton during the close-season – has already made his England debut this season, coming off the bench during the 1-0 friendly victory over Norway earlier this month.
Theo Walcott (knee) is nearing a return to fitness but will not be available.