Borussia Dortmund 0-1 Arsenal: Gunners Seal Historic Victory in Germany

Borussia Dortmund 0-1 ArsenalA goal from in-form Welshman Aaron Ramsey helped Arsenal seal a vital three points at Dortmund. It was tough ask for the side that have failed to stand up to their previous perceived ‘tests’ against Dortmund and Chelsea at the Emirates, with them both leaving with victory in a fairly easy fashion. The stage was set for a cracking encounter. The Dortmund manager, Jurgen Klopp, had set it himself personally by suggesting Arsene Wenger deserves a knighthood. Mind games it seemed from the charismatic German, who admitted the only way Arsenal would win was if Dortmund ‘let them’.

The first half was something of a slow burner as both sides struggled to gain a foothold on the game. It was the hosts who had the better of it. Neven Subotic struck an early shot wide from a free kick and Henrikh Mkhitaryan wasted an opportunity by firing wide after having the freedom of Dortmund to find the net at Arsenal’s expense. The halftime whistle was something of relief for Arsenal. They had weathered part of the storm, although they had failed to deliver anything in an attacking sense. They were keeping a Dortmund side on red-hot form at bay.

Early in the second half it seemed likely that a Dortmund goal would arrive. Wojciech Szczesny saved a Marco Reus header and then the former Gladbach player had it in the net, although it was ruled offside. Dortmund’s luck clearly wasn’t in and that was displayed as Henrikh Mkhitaryan scored only for the linesman to put his flag up, although the Armenian knew it was coming as he reacted in a subdued manner.

Against the run of play, Arsenal took the lead. Mesut Ozil, who had failed to sparkle all evening, provided the cross for Aaron Ramsey to finish. Arsenal had the lead, a slender one at that, but it was a lead. It was hearts in mouths time for Arsenal moments later as Dortmund almost had themselves on level terms. Robert Lewandowski was almost met emphatically by Marco Reus, but it flashed away for an Arsenal goal kick.

Borussia Dortmund 0-1 ArsenalRamsey almost had himself another soon after, but Roman Weidenfeller was on hand to thwart the Welshman. Dortmund struggled to score against Arsenal in the dying embers and a penalty shout on Robert Lewandowski by Per Mertesacker was the best they conjured up. Speaking after the game, Arsenal manager, Arsene Wenger, made it clear he wanted to see a repeat on Sunday at Old Trafford:

“It strengthens the belief of my team that we can put another great performance in another massive game on Sunday. We want this kind of performance again.”

Currently on his richest vein of form since he signed for Arsenal, Aaron Ramsey is an early contender for PFA Player of the Year. Another positive performance on Sunday would be encouraging for Arsenal’s title challenge and it may even convince a few more pundits to back the London club in their pursuit of their first Premier League title since 2004. A buoyant Aaron Ramsey told the Daily Mirror of his delight after scoring the decisive winner:

“I’m enjoying myself at the moment and everything seems to be going in. I’m delighted with the way I’m playing and the goals I’m scoring but it was a great team effort and we are delighted with that.”

Dortmund manager, Jurgen Klopp, talked up Arsenal following defeat: “They could win it - as long as they don’t play Bayern Munich,” he said. He continued to heap praise on Arsenal: “They are young, healthy and good technicians. They won a clever game tonight.”

Arsenal now face Marseille safe in the knowledge that their task to qualify has been made a lot easier with a result that not many expected. Meanwhile, Dortmund face Napoli in the next round of games hoping they can find their return to winning ways after a frustrating evening.

Written by Jimmy Cartwright

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Champions League Round of 16 Preview: Part 2

As I mentioned in my previous post, the Champions League Round of 16 will be filled with 8 dramatic and exciting fixtures that I can’t wait to watch. Here is part 2 of my Champions League previews;

Arsenal vs. Bayern Munich

Jack WilshereBayern Munich sorely lost out on the Champions League trophy last year. Conceding late goals in a cup final can never be pleasing, especially if it’s happened twice already! Bayern will obviously go out with the intent to brush Arsenal out of the way and advance to the next round. This point will be even more reinforced as it will be Bayern boss, Jupp Heynckes’, last year in charge of the four-time European Champions. He will most definitely be looking to go out with a bang.

With this in mind, will Arsenal be able to hold off the likes of Schweinsteiger, Ribery, and Mario Mandzukic?

Arsenal has quality, yes, but does the team possess the winning mentality it once had in the past. Arsenal can beat Bayern, but their top players will have to perform. If the likes of Wilshere, Walcott and Podolski (playing against a previous club) can lead by example, they can do it.

Key players

This may come as a surprise to you, but I see Bayern’s main threat coming from Phillip Lahm. Lahm has excellent composure and can take players on with ease down the flanks. He will certainly be attacking, the main threat being his deadly balls into the box. Mandzukic will have a field day in the air if Lahm isn’t stopped.

Arsenal’s main threat has to be Jack Wilshere, no doubt about it. Even at such an adolescent age, Wilshere is already showing signs that he can be a leader and carry his team through the storms of hard battled games. If Wilshere can maintain focus, Arsenal will have a big chance of advancing to the next round.

Prediction

I’m going for an Arsenal win at home and a Bayern win at the Allainz. I can see this tie going to extra time, but I’m afraid Bayern Munich will come out on top. Sorry Arsenal.

1st Leg: Arsenal 3-1 Bayern Munich
2nd Leg: Bayern Munich* 3-1 Arsenal (4-1 AET)

Shakhtar Donetsk vs. Borussia Dortmund

Marco Reus and Mario GotzeBorussia Dortmund’s league form has dramatically dropped since last year. With losses to rivals Schalke and Bayern, and with a 12 point gap separating the two German Giants, it seems the title is slowly slipping away. Therefore I believe the ‘group of death’ champions will be looking for a positive cup run to soften the hurt of the long-gone title race.

In contrast to Dortmund, Shakhtar have been enjoying their time in the Ukraine Premier League. With a 13 point gap with second-placed Dnipro, Shakhtar Donetsk look set to win their eighth title in the Ukraine.

Key players

Dortmund’s attacking approach to the Champions League has often gained them praise. I mean, why wouldn’t they attack with the forwards they have? That’s why I believe Dortmund’s main threat will come from the Reus, Gotze and Lewandowski trio. Having scored 25 goals in Germany between the three already, I see them as the main threat to Shakhtar’s chances of advancement.

This man needs no introduction to the threat he imposes. With interest from many top teams such as Tottenham and Arsenal, he will most definitely become a big deal in world football. That player is none other than Willian Borges Da Silva, or Willian to many.

With two goals against European champions Chelsea, the threat he poses to Dortmund will be duly noted by their coach, Jurgen Klopp.

Prediction

I believe Dortmund have far too much attacking quality for Shakhtar to withstand. That’s why I am going for a Dortmund win in both ties.

1st Leg: Shakhtar Donetsk 1-3 Borussia Dortmund
2nd Leg: Borussia Dortmund 2-0 Shakhtar Donetsk

Written by TheFootballSupplement