Monday, 12 September 2011

Wenger, Mertesacker & Szczesny on Dortmund -The Flag bearer vs the Photographer

Morning Gooners.

Attention quickly switches from the Premier League to the Champions League as later the squad travels to Germany for tomorrow's first Group F game.

The match against Borussia Dortmund looks on paper to be our toughest. However the German champions are not unbeatable as their result this past weekend proved, going down 2-1 to Hertha Berlin without the suspended Mario Götze.

We've got a German in our side and Arsene Wenger says Per Mertesacker's knowledge of the Bundesliga will prove valuable to him and his team mates as they prepare for the game.

Wenger said:

"Mertesacker knows the stadium well and German football well. He is strong and talks, he communicates. 
"We have a big game on Tuesday against a very big side. It’s a massive game and a chance to show what we can do. It’s a first big test."

And the German believes if we take something from the game it will be a good result for us.

He said:

"Dortmund were the best team in Germany last year, they do a good job passing the ball and have great players. 
"It will be difficult for us but I know we have very good players and I'm confident we can get a result. 
"Dortmund are the toughest opponent in our group, so we will be very happy if we can take something from this match."

We've performed well in our two Champions League games with Udinese so far this season, especially the game in Italy. Tomorrow we welcome back Alex Song, Gervinho and Carl Jenkinson from their domestic suspensions and I would guess both of our African players will take their places in the starting 11.

This match has a bit of an edge to it for Wojciech Szczesny who has three team mates from the Poland national team starting for the opposition. It's hard to argue with the fact the young goalkeeper has been our most consistent performer so far this season and he'll want to prove to everyone that he can perform at the highest level of club football, not that there is much doubt he can't.

Szczesny said:

"I’ve three very good friends who play for Dortmund and, I’m not going to lie, there was a bit of banter at the national team going on between us. 
"I hope after the game that I will be the one who comes out on top with the banter. 
"They’ve been taking the mickey out of it but they can’t get into my head. I will be focused.  
"I’m confident we can go to Dortmund and get three points at such an exciting venue because there will probably be about 70,000 people. 
"It will give us the confidence to build on that game and pick up the three points."

We've got to use our Champions League experience to good use and play to our strengths. That has been to play on the break with pace and to dominate possession. We've got options in the middle of the park and I expect Tomas Rosicky to come straight  back into the team following his knee injury, probably in place of Aaron Ramsey.

The manager will speak to the media this lunch time when I expect we'll hear more team and injury news. He'll have to watch the game from the stands and it was interesting to see Pat Rice on the touchline for the majority of the second half against Swansea directing the play from the sidelines. He'll be making all of the decisions tomorrow.

Elsewhere, if you were at the game on Saturday you may have noticed an incident involving one of the giant flag bearers and a photographer at the North Bank end. The man who accidently hit the snapper, explains the incident in his own words. Unfortunately it seems following this incident it might be the last time we see them at the Grove.

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