Arsenal FC: Previewing Group F of the 2011-12 UEFA Champions League
The Gunners claimed their first win in their Barclays Premier League campaign on Saturday over Swansea City.
Arsenal took advantage of a Swansea mistake as goalkeeper Michel Vorm attempted to roll a pass to a teammate after a routine save; instead it hit his own defender and rolled into the possession of Andrey Arshavin. Arshavin was able to tuck the ball into the net from a tight angle and Arsenal hung on for a 1-0 victory.
Now the North Londoners turn their attention to the UEFA Champions League midweek and face a very difficult road tie against Dortmund.
Let’s take a look at all of the teams that the Gunners will face in this season's Champions League Group Stage.
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Borussia Dortmund won the 2010-11 edition of the Bundesliga in dominating fashion finishing seven points clear of second-place Bayer Leverkusen.
It was the first time the western German side would win the title since 2001-02 marking a comeback from mid-table obscurity through much of the previous decade.
Dortmund made their last appearance in the European competition in 2002-03 where they were placed in the same group as Arsenal. Both would move forward to the next stage, but Arsenal eventually made it further advancing into the knockout phase of the tournament.
Borussia Dortmund is managed by Jurgen Klöpp. The Stuttgart-born former footballer managed FC Mainz for seven years before moving to Dortmund prior to the 2008 season.
Their home games are played at the Signal Iduna Park outside of downtown Dortmund; a stadium which affords a home team advantage due to the loud nature of the 65,000-plus that will be inside for European matches.
Dortmund is currently off to a slow start in this year’s Bundesliga compiling only seven points in five games to this point. Their latest contest saw them drop a 2-1 result to Hertha Berlin; a shock result given that it was Dortmund’s home opener at the Signal Iduna.
The yellow and black will look to get their campaign back on track as they take on the North London club in the first round of the UEFA Champions League Group Stage.
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The French side qualified directly to the group stages by finishing second place in Ligue 1 last season.
They are managed by former French International team captain Didier Deschamps. Deschamps took over Marseille in 2009 moving from Juventus in Italy. He saw the Italian giants back to Serie A after relegation following a refereeing scandal.
Marseille got through the group stage of the Champions League last season but was subsequently eliminated by eventual runners-up Manchester United. They won the competition in 1993, but have not been back to the final since.
Their main threat appears to be French international Loic Remy who bagged 16 goals in Ligue 1 last year and was in the top five in scoring.
Marseille will look to repeat last year's group stage performance and move on to the Round of 16.
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The 2010-11 Superleague Greece champions only lost five games in the league last year all the way to a triumph over bitter rivals Panathinaikos, who finished 13 points behind.
Olympiacos last completed in the champions league two seasons ago when they were paired in a group with Arsenal, Standard Liege of Belgium and Alkmaar Zaanstreek of the Netherlands. Olympiacos would go forward along with Arsenal that season to the knockout stage but would be seen off in the Round of 16 against Bordeaux.
Their most prolific scorer is Dutch international Kevin Mirallas who netted 14 goals for the Greek giants last season.
Group F could be the most competitive in this edition of the UEFA Champions League. No matter what the outcome; a successful and historic club will be knocked out of European Football.
Borussia Dortmund and Arsenal are looking to overcome sluggish starts to their domestic campaigns while Marseille and Olympiacos look to capitalize on their re-found dominance in their respective countries.
We will see who goes forward once the dust settles in the group stage of the UEFA Champions League 2011-12.