Arsenal begin their latest Champions League campaign hoping for a repeat of their fine win away to Borussia Dortmund in last season’s group stage.
Having come through a nervy two-legged qualifier against Besiktas in August, the target now for the Gunners will be to top their group, as they have suffered the consequences from that in the previous two seasons, going out to Bayern Munich in the last 16 on both occasions.
Just as in 2013-14, they have been handed a tricky group, but do at least begin with their most difficult fixture, and having tasted success at the Signal Iduna Stadium last time around, they will be confident of repeating their feat ahead of games against fellow Group D rivals Galatasaray and Anderlecht.
Saturday’s draw with Manchester City showed that Arsene Wenger’s team do have the character and the commitment to stand up to the stronger sides this season, but they were frustrated to concede a late equaliser from a set-piece, with Martin Demichelis’ header already the fourth time this season that they have let in a goal from a dead ball situation.
The home side remain very capable of going a long way in this competition and have some superb individual players including Marco Reus and Henrikh Mkhitaryan, as well as a rejuvenated Shinji Kagawa. However, they will miss the goals of Robert Lewandowski, with replacement Ciro Immobile yet to open his account.
Wenger has a shortage of options at full-back for this clash, with Mathieu Debuchy and Nacho Monreal both out through injury, and Calum Chambers doubtful. Kieran Gibbs will return, and youngster Hector Bellerin could come in.
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