clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Arsenal vs. Borussia Dortmund, 2014 UEFA Champions League: Time, TV schedule and game preview

Two injury-battered sides face off as Arsenal host already-qualified Borussia Dortmund.

Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

These two teams represent a strange dichotomy of club football. Both Arsenal and Borussia Dortmund have been extremely successful in the Champions League this season, with Dortmund having already secured qualification thanks to winning all four of their group stage matches so far. Arsenal haven't been much worse off, with seven points after four matches, standing five points clear of third-place Anderlecht, and needing just two points to guarantee a spot in the knockout rounds.

With their league play, though, both sides have been disappointing. Injuries and uninspiring play have cost Arsenal in the English Premier league, leaving them sitting eighth in the table and 15 points out of first place after losing in embarrassing fashion at home to Manchester United this weekend. Dortmund are even worse off; they actually find themselves in the Bundesliga relegation zone, with injuries compounding a squad that has, simply put, been bad in the German top division this season. And yet, despite their struggles, one of these teams has already secured a place in the knockout rounds and the other is Group D's overwhelming favorite to take the second qualifying spot. What a world.

Key player - Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal)

Arsenal's attack has been utterly reliant on the Chilean sensation this season, and with how thin their attacking ranks are right now, they'll be leaning on him more than ever in this match. Sanchez is capable of working significant magic with the ball, but it's going to take all his powers to carry Arsenal right now. Dortmund's first, second, and third tasks in defense will be to keep Sanchez contained and out of dangerous positions in the final third. That's no easy task, and if he can break through whatever the Germans throw his way, Arsenal can make life even more miserable for the suffering Dortmund fans.

Key Matchup - Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang vs. Nacho Monreal

Both sides are working with something of a patchwork defense of late, and that's highlighted by Arsenal's use of Monreal, normally a fullback, as Per Mertesacker's partner in central defense. That's going to be the big chink in Arsenal's armor that Dortmund must try to take advantage of, and Aubameyang's pace and trickery on the ball will be key to that. Monreal still isn't completely comfortable playing centrally, and using Aubameyang's direct runs and the support of the other Dortmund attackers could overload him and leave Arsenal vulnerable in the middle. If that happens... look out.

Arsenal injuries and suspensions

Out: Olivier Giroud (unregistered), Mesut Özil (knee), David Ospina (hip), Mathieu Debuchy (ankle), Laurent Koscielny (calf) In doubt: Wojciech Szczesny (hip), Jack Wislhere (ankle), Theo Walcott (groin)

Borussia Dortmund injuries and suspensions

Out: Marco Reus (ankle) In doubt: Mats Hummels (foot), Sven Bender (hip), Jakub Blaszczykowski (thigh), Oliver Kirch (thigh), Nuri Sahin (knee), Sokratis Papastathopoulos (leg)

These two teams are absolutely brutalized by injury right now, with their rosters more resembling lists you'd see in a hospital ward than a football team's squad sheet. Both Arsene Wenger and Jurgen Klopp will face a tough task in putting together their squads for this tie, as they have to figure out how to balance sides that just don't have many options at several positions.

Wenger's job is further complicated by a decision he made months ago; Olivier Giroud was left off their Champions League squad registration before the group stage, as his injury was originally supposed to keep him out until January. He returned ahead of schedule, though, entering this weekend's league match against Manchester United as a substitute and scoring a late goal. Having him available would have made life much easier for Wenger, but that just won't be an option today.

Match Date/Time: Wednesday, 7:45 P.M. local, 2:45 P.M. ET

Venue: Emirates Stadium, London, England

TV: Fox Sports 1 (U.S. - English), ESPN Deportes (U.S. - Spanish), TeleClub Sport Live (Germany), Sky Sports 1/HD (U.K.)

Online: Fox Soccer 2GO (U.S.), ESPN3 (U.S.), Sky Go Deutschland (Germany), Sky Go (U.K.)

Listings via LiveSoccerTV.