12th Sep 2011 | Football

Borussia Dortmund v Arsenal

The Champions League group stages begin

The German champions have just had a blip. But Arsenal have been struggling for much longer.

Like Arsenal, the German champions have had a similarly disappointing start to their 2011-12 season. Dortmund lost their second of five league matches on Saturday after a poor performance against Hertha Berlin. Arsene Wenger observed that the German side must have already ‘had their heads on Tuesday’s game.’ I think he could be right, and that doesn’t bode well for the Gunners. The bigger picture suggests that Jurgen Klopp’s side are more than capable of nicking this match by the odd goal.

The most important thing is not to read too much into Saturday’s disappointment for Dortmund. It was only a month ago that the German national coach watched the Bundesliga champions brush aside Hamburg 3-1. Jogi Loew commented that he had ‘rarely seen such a harmonious, well-combining team on the opening day of a season.’ Until a few days ago Dortmund had gone 18 matches unbeaten at Signal Iduna Park. In April they claimed the title with two matches to spare having won 22 of their 32 games. A side that was comfortably better than Bayern Munich over a whole season is certainly good enough to give Arsene Wenger nightmares.

And that’s the other thing - Arsenal are still a long way from the team of a year ago. Their 1-0 win at home to Swansea could hardly have been less convincing at the weekend. Aaron Ramsey has withdrawn with an ankle injury sustained in training as he joins Jack Wilshere on the sidelines. With Fabregas and Nasri long gone, Arsenal travel to the best side in Germany with a totally untested midfield.

The bookies aren’t daft and price the home win up as short as 5/4 with PaddyPower - the best price on the market. I’m convinced that the hosts will just shade this one so the 3/1 with Bet365 on a Dortmund win by 1 goal looks like the best value.

Odds correct at time of publishing: 17:27 12th Sep, 2011 but subject to change

Best Free Bets