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Reus In, Gundogan Out: How Borussia Dortmund Will Line Up Against Arsenal

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Reus In, Gundogan Out: How Borussia Dortmund Will Line Up Against Arsenal
Paolo Bruno/Getty Images

Borussia Dortmund take on Arsenal on Tuesday as the Ruhr side try to claim supremacy in Champions League Group F. BVB currently sit third in their group behind the Gunners and Napoli and have it all to do as they visit the Emirates in what will be a rematch of their 2011-'12 group stage meeting, which Arsenal won 2-1.

Much has changed since November of 2011, though, especially in the BVB lineup. Shinji Kagawa and Mario Goetze have gone, Nuri Sahin has returned, Kevin Grosskreutz has changed positions, and the likes of Marco Reus and Henrikh Mkhitaryan have joined the 2012-'13 Champions League runners-up. Here's how BVB are most likely to line up as they prepare to take on Arsenal:

 

Goalkeeper: Roman Weidenfeller

Dortmund's group-opener against Napoli was a false start for the club and especially Roman Weidenfeller, who was sent off in the first half. He served an automatic one-game suspension against Marseille but will be back in action to face Arsenal. Weidenfeller was one of BVB's best players in their run to the Champions League final last season, and his team will need him to be at his very best as they travel to face the in-form Gunners.

 

Right-Back: Kevin Grosskreutz

Dortmund have only one natural right-back in their squad, and he's injured. But that's no problem for Klopp; he has been using left-winger-turned-right-back Kevin Grosskreutz in Lukasz Piszczek's position all season long. Grosskreutz has played well in the Poland international's absence and will retain his starting role against Arsenal.

 

Center-Back: Neven Subotic

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Neven Subotic has started all but two of Dortmund's competitive matches this season, and the Serbia international can expect to be in Klopp's first XI to face Arsenal. In spite of Sokratis Papastathopoulos' good performance against Hannover on Saturday, Dortmund's most likely center-back pairing to face Arsenal will be the tried-and-true duo of Subotic and Mats Hummels.

 

Center-Back: Mats Hummels

Mats Hummels has seen little action as of late. The 24-year-old was benched for Germany's World Cup qualifier against Ireland, and although he started the next match against Sweden he was suspended last Saturday as Dortmund took on Hannover. Hummels nonetheless remains first choice for Klopp, and his anticipation and man-marking ability will be important for BVB as they take on the slick Olivier Giroud.

 

Left-Back: Marcel Schmelzer

The international break gave Marcel Schmelzer some much-needed time to recover from his hamstring tear, but BVB's only natural, recognized left-back was not quite ready to start against Hannover on Saturday. He was available from the bench in that match, but Erik Durm started in his stead.

Against a strong attacking Arsenal side, Klopp is more likely to choose the established, experienced Schmelzer to start on the left of defense. It will be his first match in a month, but the Germany international has long held Klopp's trust, and that is unlikely to change anytime soon.

 

Defensive Midfield: Sven Bender

Sven Bender suffered what Klopp called a "full-body bruise" before the international break and only returned to individual training last Thursday. But the 24-year-old went the distance on Saturday, covering a match-high 13.12 km. Bender willingly flew into challenges in the Hannover match, so BVB fans can expect him to be ready for the Arsenal clash.

 

Defensive Midfield: Nuri Sahin

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Freshly recovered from an ankle injury that saw him miss Turkey's recent internationals, Nuri Sahin played the full 90 minutes in Dortmund's win against Hannover on Saturday. The 25-year-old has deputized for the injured Ilkay Gundogan since mid-August and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. It's a good thing Sahin is fit to start; Klopp is very short of fit options in defensive midfield.

 

Right Wing: Jakub Blaszczykowski

Klopp's most competitive position this season has been on the wing, as Jakub Blaszczykowski and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang have shared minutes. The two are very different in terms of playing style, with the latter more of a forward with better pace and finishing and the former possessing the passing and defensive refinement of a midfielder. Playing on the road against a strong team merits a conservative approach, so expect Blaszczykowski to start with Aubameyang coming off the bench if the game becomes stretched.

 

Central Attacking Midfield: Henrikh Mkhitaryan

Henrikh Mkhitaryan has yet to hit full stride at Dortmund but more likely than not will start against Arsenal. The Armenia international has the ball-playing qualities that Klopp prefers in his No. 10, and his intelligence and positioning are highly rated by the trainer. Critically, Mkhitaryan has substantial experience competing in the Champions League at Shakhtar Donetsk. For these reasons he should make the starting XI on Tuesday.

 

Left Wing: Marco Reus

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An ankle injury prevented Marco Reus from playing for Germany over the international break, but the prolific attacker was back in action on Saturday and netted the only goal of BVB's win against Hannover. The 24-year-old was substituted after 65 minutes, but there has been no report of him being injured; Klopp was most likely preserving his strength and ensuring that he will be ready to give 100 percent against Arsenal. 

 

Striker: Robert Lewandowski

If there is a no-brainer in Klopp's selection, it's certainly that Robert Lewandowski will start against Arsenal. The Poland international scored 10 goals in the Champions League last season and is one of the few BVB starters to have avoided injury in 2013-'14. Dortmund have precious little depth behind him and will have to hope their star striker avoids injury.

 

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