Borussia Dortmund vs. Arsenal: Why Arsene Wenger Is Wary of Mario Gotze
Arsenal commence yet another quest for Champions League glory as they travel to Germany to face defending Bundesliga champions Borussia Dortmund at the Signal Iduna Park, better known as the Westfalenstadion.
In the intimidating atmosphere of the 81,000 capacity stadium, named by the Times as one of the top 10 stadiums in Europe, Arsene Wenger, banned from the touchline, will know that he has his job cut out. No Bundesliga champion can ever be underestimated, and Dortmund have more than their fair share of big-name players.
Neven Subotic, Shinji Kagawa, Mohamed Zidan and Sebastien Kehl all have outstanding credentials, and will pose a threat to Arsenal on the night. But the man (just about!) who the football world will want to see is the one that Wenger fears the most. His name: Mario Gotze.
Gotze is just 19, and has been at Dortmund since he was nine years old. Before the 2010-11 season, he had only played five first-team games for the club. But last season, he really came into his own, making 41 appearances, scoring eight goals and, most impressively, racking up 15 assists. This season, too, he has hit the ground running, scoring once and providing two assists in a total of four appearances.
His club form last season attracted the attention of national team coach Joachim Low, who immediately drafted the youngster into the German squad. He was the first German player to be born in unified Germany, and soon became the youngest player to score for the national team since 1954. He has thus far made nine appearances for the national team and scored two goals, impressive numbers for one so young.
Wenger knows Gotze well, having tried and failed to sign him this summer as the replacement for Cesc Fabregas. Wenger called Gotze "the player we have to keep quiet," and will surely provide Arsenal's holding midfielders with a man-marking brief on Tuesday night.
If Arsenal are to come away from Germany with any points, Super Mario certainly cannot be on song.
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