Arsenal take on Borussia Dortmund in the pick of the Champions League matches tomorrow night.
The Gunners will be looking for some revenge after they were defeated 2-1 in the reverse of this game in North London, with Borussia Dortmund playing some superb football in North London.
Arsene Wenger should be a confident man as his team have a very good recent record in Germany, beating eventual European Champions Bayern Munich away last season and securing a point the last time they played Dortmund in Dortmund.
Here are the five key battles to keep an eye on during the game.
Mats Hummels v Olivier Giroud
Arsenal are likely to take a lot of pressure during this game, which means Olivier Giroud will have a lot of work to do up front.
Giroud will have to hold the ball up while his Arsenal teammates flood forward and provide him with options to lay the ball off. He’ll also have to do his best to try and occupy both centre backs as the sole striker.
Neven Subotic v Mesut Ozil
Ozil will play as the most advanced of Arsenal’s central midfielders, which means he’ll have to make runs to support Giroud in Dortmund’s final third.
Subotic was benched for Dortmund’s win against Stuttgart last weekend, which means he’ll be fresh and if Hummels can match up well against Giroud, it leaves Subotic free to track the runs of Ozil when he does get forward.
Sven Bender v Santi Cazorla
This could be a fascinating battle to watch.
Bender usually plays a holding role in the Dortmund midfield, nudging forward into central positions when he’s given an opportunity to do so.
Cazorla could start on the left of Arsenal’s midfield but he won’t stay there, drifting into central areas where he’s more effective when he can get on the ball and Bender will have to stop him from doing just that.
Marco Reus v Aaron Ramsey
These two players won’t be in direct competition throughout the game but they are very similar players and they’ll both have a big say on proceedings.
They both like to get on the ball and be effective, creative players in the final third, as well as offering an extra attacking threat. Whichever player can get on the ball frequently and use it most effectively, is likely to be on the winning team and could get himself onto the score sheet.
Robert Lewandowski v Per Mertesacker
Lewandowski is not a naïve striker, which means he’ll try and play on Mertesacker’s side of the defence because he has an edge in terms of pace.
Lewandowski won’t be too worried about the physical edge that Mertesacker has in terms of size, he’ll be looking to use his pace and movement to pull Mertesacker all over the pitch creating space for his teammates to run into and exploit.
image: © Dirk_Vorderstraße