Timely Dortmund injury boost - Could return of right-back spell danger for Arsenal?

Piszczek Dortmund

Lukasz Piszczek is back to something near full fitness - and it could not have come at a better time.

Arsenal’s Champions’ League Group is still precariously balanced - with two of three teams capable of qualifying.

The Gunners know they only have to avoid defeat against Napoli in Italy to go through - but after Dortmund beat the Neapolitans in the last round of fixtures the Gunners are not technically thought.

Dortmund team have been blighted by injury worries this season.

The likes of Ilkay Gundogan, Neven Subotic, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Marco Reus and Jonas Hofmann have all had time off injured this term - as has Lukasz Piszczek.

The right-back has not played a game since the Champions League final in May - around the same time that Arsenal were actually linked with signing the player.

Unfortunately he suffered throughout last season, playing through the pain of a hip injury - a hip operation and the subsequent recovery has left him out of action since the defeat to Bayern Munich.

The 28-year-old signed a new deal at the club last month - so you can forget that Arsenal link right now.

But the Pole recently returned to training, taking tentative steps toward his comeback - and he is relieved at the progress he is making:

"I feel good. There are days when you don't feel particularly great, but that's normal at this stage of the recovery process. I'll definitely be fit for the second half of the season. I want to return before then but, if I don't, I won't be too downhearted."

Dortmund have been utilising midfielder Kevin Grosskreutz in the position and he has been doing a pretty good job in the role. But Piszczek was not expected to return until 2014 after the winter break.

But his recovery has been faster than expected featuring against Bayern Munich and playing 90 minutes against Mainz at the end of last month - and he played yesterday, coming off the bench against Bayer Leverkusen in a shock defeat at home.

While Nuri Sahin and Sven Bender are now doubts for the game with Marseille the return of the Polish right-back is a timely one as Dortmund look to overthrow Napoli - or potentially Arsenal, and qualify for the next round of the Champions League.

Arsenal should still remain confident of going through - even if they did lose to Napoli on match-day six.

But Dortmund’s timely injury boost will give the German outfit a chance of making it to the next stage - and Arsenal know the best way to qualify will simply be to beat Napoli in Italy.

image: © wuestenigel

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