Arsenal take on Borussia Dortmund

The new Champions' League season to get off to a thrilling start when English champions Arsenal meet their German counterparts, Borussia Dortmund, at Highbury i

updated: February 25, 2007 09:28 IST
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Arsenal take on Borussia Dortmund in the European Champions' League on Tuesday. The contest will represent the fourth time in succession that the English champions have been drawn against German opposition in the group stage of the competition. Arsene Wenger's all-star side boasts fellow Frenchmen Thierry Henry, Sylvain Wiltord and Patrick Vieira. Brazilian World Cup star Gilberto Silva links up with Vieira in midfield. Still injured and yet to play this season are French winger Robert Pires and Sweden's Freddie Ljungberg, although the latter has been included in the squad for Tuesday's match. Wenger says his men are raring to go. The team, coming off an impressive 3-0 win at Charlton on Saturday, are unbeaten in 27 successive English Premiership games and lead the domestic table. "We have waited for this moment since our last game against Juventus and we are ready for a new campaign. We think it will be very rewarding and the team is up for it, they are highly focused, highly concentrated and very confident," said Arsenal coach Arsene Wenger. Wenger - always well-prepared - will be well aware of the challenge posed in the air by Borussia's two-metre-plus Czech striker Jan Koller. He gave evidence, speaking to the press, that he has already made plans to confront this singular threat to Arsenal's ambitions in the Champions' League. "I would say we need to cut the source because it will be very difficult to win the ball against him but Sol Campbell and Martin Keown are quite used to fighting in the air and they will try to cope with it," Wenger said. Unlike Arsenal, Borussia, the 1997 European champions, have made a stuttering start to their domestic campaign. Their latest disappointing result in the Bundesliga came at the weekend when they were held to a one-all draw by Schalke. But coach Matthias Sammer is not too downhearted - whilst acknowledging that results could be better, he says that the performances themselves haven't been so bad. "Our form is not the best it could be right now. If you compare it with the past, we are having a problem in front of goal. I'm aware of recent criticism but I don't think I'm being biased when I say we have created the better chances in our recent encounters - it's just that we haven't managed to convert our superiority into goals," said Borussia Dortmund coach Mathias Sammer. The experienced Sammer was reluctant to dwell too much on the strengths of his opponents on Tuesday. But the Dortmund boss was willing to concede they had shown great improvement in the past 12 months. "I think they showed last year what they're able to do. I think their real strengths come from the fact that they have continuity with their team manager, that they were able to integrate the young players into the team within the last year and that the team had time to grow," said Sammer. So, a tough task for the Germans, particularly in the light of the fact that they have won just one of their five Bundesliga games so far. Additionally, they will be playing without their injured playmaker Tomas Rosicky. But one thing's for sure and that is that German teams are always dogged competitors. Arsenal, who have never got further than the quarter-finals of the Champions' League, will have to guard against complacency and produce their best championship-winning form if they are to make a winning start to this year's competition. (AP)