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UEFA Champions League
13 September 2011
• Signal-Iduna-Park, Dortmund
Referee: G. Rocchi
• Attendance: 65590
I. Perišić 88'
R. van Persie 42'
90' + 4'
And the referee brings the game to a close! A stunning striker from Ivan Perisic (his first for the club) grabs a point for Dortmund after Van Persie's 40th minute goal. The Germans deserved a point, it must be said.
90' + 3'
Yellow Card Sven Bender
90' + 1'
Unsurprisingly it's backs against the wall time for Arsenal as they try and see out the remaining few minutes despite Pat Rice's calls for otherwise from the touchline.
We enter stoppage time and Dortmund nearly take the lead! Gotze and Perisic combine in the center for the former to set Lewandowski running into the area but Szczesny gets out quick to clear.
A strike of that class makes up for the severe lack of end product from Dortmund all night.
Goal Ivan Perisic
Wow. What a strike. Perisic makes in 1-1! A freekick is floated in from about 40 yards out, Arsenal deal with it at first through Koscielny but Perisic is ready and waiting on the edge of the area to hit a glorious looping volley into the top right-hand corner. What a way to equalise.
Robin van Persie
An Arsenal debut for new signing Andre Santos, who replaces Gervinho and takes his place in the defence.
It's Alex Song vs Gotze again and this time the German nearly comes out on top as he blasts a shot from the edge of the area wide. Song did just enough to put him off though.
Now that should have been 1-1. Bender whips in the corner is Subotic fails to get a decent touch first time round but the ball bobbles up infront of him for a second crack but Szczesny is in the right place at the right time to make the crucial save. Let off for Arsenal there but props to Szczesny.
Dortmund lift a deep freekick into the Arsenal area through Schmelzer and Koscielny clears as far as Perisic who tries his luck on the volley from 25 yards. It sails a good 15 yards wide.
Yellow Card Marcel Schmelzer
Yellow Card Bacary Sagna
A brief heart-in-mouth moment for Arsenal as Gotze whips in a great ball from wide into the six-yard box but no-one is there is get the vital touch for Dortmund.
As the Dortmund pressure grows Arsenal go back to their tried-and-tested approach of winning easy freekicks as Arteta goes down to give his side a breather.
Urgh. The crowd groan and I groan with them as Subotic hits the ball straight out of play when trying to start an attack for the home side.
One way traffic at the moment as Perisic gets the better of Sagna only to then over-hit his cross.
Again point proven immediately as Arteta gives the ball away sloppily and Gotze dances into the area only to be denied by Alex Song again with another fine tackle.
If Dortmund knew how to finish, Arsenal would be in allsorts of trouble. The English side seem to be doing their best to give the ball away at the moment but still Szczesny hasn't been properly tested.
Van Persie takes and again it's straight into the hands of Weidenfeller.
Freekick to Arsenal after Bender charges Van Persie off the ball... but it's straight into the wall. Scrappy play ensues and Arsenal win a corner...
Should that have been 2-0 to Arsenal? I think so. Alex Song stops Gotze in his tracks with a superb challenge on the edge of his own area and starts the counter which ends with Gervinho again being unable to control the ball with just the goalkeeper to beat. Credit must go to Subotic for putting the Ivorian off though.
So an hour gone and Dortmund, despite all their huffing and puffing, haven't found the back of the net. Tension growing.
Dortmund win a corner off the toe of Sagna and Schmelzer sends it in. The whistle is soon blown though as Arteta and Hummels clash heads. The former Everton man is up on his feet but there is blood running down the side of his face so he's off the pitch.
Half chance for Walcott as Van Persie threads a neat ball through but, off balance, the forward hoofs it miles wide.
Still no real end product from Dortmund as Schmelzer finds himself inside the area, near the touchline, with the choice of an attempt at goal or a short pass to a teammate but he goes for something inbetween and it flies across the face of Szczesny's goal. The home supporters are getting frustrated now.
We are seeing a lot of Kawaga tonight and the nippy winger darts into the area and finds Gotze in space. The German shows great skill with an attempted flick pass back to Kawaga but Koscielny cuts it out.
Dortmund with all the early pressure as Grosskreutz wins a throw-in near the Arsenal corner flag. He finds Kawaga who shows a great touch to bring it down but Mertesacker clears.
A little stat here for you lot. Arsenal have failed to keep a clean sheet in their last 11 visits to Germany. Intriguing if nothing else.
Dortmund start the second half as they started the first with Grosskreutz sprinting down the right and pinging a cross towards the penalty area but it misses everyone.
And we are back underway at the Signal Iduna Park as Dortmund kick off the second half.
Dortmund with all the chances and then Arsenal grab an unlikely goal five minutes before half-time. How will the home side react? Join me in about 10 minutes to find out.
45' + 1'
And the referee blows the whistle to end the first half.
Into the sole minute of added time at the end of the first half as Grosskreutz shanks a cross into the hands of Szczesny with four teammates crying out for the ball. Head in hands moment.
And I was just about the mention the lack of end product in this game so far.
Assist Theo Walcott
Goal Robin van Persie
GOAL! Arsenal 1-0 up! Kehl gives the ball away as pressure from the striker and Walcott collects and spots the Dutchman's run. A great ball splits the defence and Van Persie doesn't need a second change to clip it past Weidenfeller. Didn't see that coming!
A lack of communication between Grosskreutz and Gotze sees the latter with his, for my money, first misplaced pass of the game. Goal kick to Arsenal.
Dortmund getting amongst it again as Gotze and Schmelzer combine to allow the latter to centre the ball for Lewandowski try his luck with a header but Szczesny claims with ease.
Half a sight of goal for Arsenal as Van Persie shoots from 25 yards but Subotic's diving clearance is terrific as it clears to the half-way line and sets up Kawaga and Gotze to counter through the middle, ending with Kawage again running the ball too far and his centered ball is easily held by Szczesny.
Arsenal are currently claiming 55% of possession, which goes to show how they've muted Dortmund after a ferocious start.
Good chance for Arsenal as Van Persie does very well through the centre and tests Weidenfeller down to his right with a shot from outside the area but it only hits the side netting.
Good work by Gervinho as he scampers down the left and cuts inside past three Dortmund players but his eyes are bigger than his stomach (or whatever the footballing equivalent is) and ends up overrunning it.
More sturdy defending from Hummels and Subotic as the latter pressures Van Persie to take the ball out for a goalkick to the home side. Subotic offers the Dutchman a hand to help him up but retracts it after Van Persie gives him a piece of his mind. Should be a nice contest between the two tonight.
Great work from Kagawa as he skips into the penalty area, on the right-hand side, looking for the cross into the centre but Benayoun is a match to him and forces the Japanese player to take the ball out for a goalkick.
Arsenal tactic at the moment, and it's working is to win as many freekicks as possible as Arteta goes down slightly easily under pressure from Kagawa. Scrappy.
Physios on the pitch as Hummels and Koscielny clash heads after a corner. Both seem to be able to carry on though.
Walcott proves my point but breaking quickly over the half-line after Mertesacker stops a Dortmund attack and the Englishman is in acres of space. But, obviously in two minds whether to go alone or flick a pass through to Van Persie, he ends up being tackled by Hummels instead.
Arsenal have settled slightly now with Walcott and Gervinho finding more space down the flanks.
Another corner for Arsenal and Van Persie again takes it but it doesn't even beat the first man.
Dortmund break from that corner and storm upfield at remarkable pace through, you guessed it, Gotze. The move ends when Grosskreutz blazes over.
Arsenal corner now and it's taken by Van Persie but it's too close to Weidenfeller. No danger there.
I know I've mentioned it already but this atmosphere inside the stadium must be overwhelming for Arsenal. As soon as they get a foot on the ball huge, high-pitching whistles come from the crowd.
Arsenal cannot keep hold of the ball at the moment and Dortmund look dangerous on every attack.
OFF THE LINE! Dortmund should be at least 1-0 up here, if not more. They are playing with confidence and fluidity and it's all coming through Gotze. On this occasion the young star's diagonial run confuses distracts the Arsenal defence and allows him to play a great ball through to Lewandowski that splits Sagna and Koscielny. The striker rounds Szczesny and goes for the finish only for Sagna to get back in time to clear off the line.
Admittedly it's under 10 minutes in but Arteta has done nothing so far. Neither in an attacking or defending sense.
Another chance for Dortmund, albeit slightly harder this time as a great first touch from Gotze frees Lewandowski to have a blast at goal from the right-hand side but that also flashes over. Szczesny is furious with his defence, and so he should be. They look all over the shop at the moment.
Wow, there is some pace to his game and Dortmund really should have, at the very least, hit the target there, if not scored. Gotze and Grosskreutz are involved again with the latter having all the time in the world to place a shot past Szczesny but he skies it over the bar. Chance. Missed.
And suddenly a chance for Arsenal down the other end! Van Persie and Walcott combine brilliant down the left and work their way into the Dortmund penalty area. There is a bit of head tennis before Gervinho finds himself eight yards, ball bouncing, with just the opposition goalkeeper to beat but Weidenfeller reacts quickly, makes himself big and makes the save.
And here is Dortmund trying to take advantage of that space through their main man Gotze as the youngster skips down the left and cuts inside as he reaches the penalty area Sagna keeps him at bay.
There seems to be a lot of space out there tonight to work with.
Arsenal try and play a bit of keep ball to silence the pulsating crowd but, in doing so, almost give it away outside their own area but Grosskreutz couldn't capitalise.
And we are off! Arsenal get us underway with Van Persie finding Walcott down the right straight away but the Englishman cannot control the ball and it's a goalkick to Dortmund.
Right then, the teams are out. Mere moments away from kick-off here. The atmosphere in the Signal Iduna Park is outstanding. Very daunting for the away side.
...but I'm sure they would take a point.
A very attacking starting XI by Wenger tonight with Benayoun, Arteta, Walcott, Gervinho and Van Persie making up a front five. There should be goals in this, either way.
Just a quick note to remember, Arsene Wenger starts another two-match touchline ban in the Champions League tonight after breaking the rules over his last two-match ban.
Dortmund stormed to their first domestic title in nine years last season but, like their opponents this evening, have faultered early on this season. Both of these sides will be looking to kickstart their respective seasons with a vital three points.
So, starting with the home side, Lucas Barrios misses out after suffering a thigh injury, but domestically suspended Mario Gotze (our Player To Watch for Dortmund) returns. On the Arsenal front, Yossi Benayoun makes his first start for the club after joining from Chelsea on loan. German defender Per Mertesacker also starts, along with Mikel Arteta and Gervinho. Park Chu-Young and Andre Santos, the two other new signings, are on the bench.
Arsenal: Szczesny, Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs, Arteta, Song, Benayoun, Van Persie, Walcott, Gervinho. Subs: Fabianski, Andre Santos, Djourou, Frimpong, Park Chu-Young, Arshavin, Chamakh.
Dortmund: Weidenfeller, Subotic, Hummels, Piszczek, Schmelzer, Kehl, Gotze, Grosskreutz, Bender, Lewandowski, Kagawa. Subs: Langerak, Felipe Santana, Da Silva, Blaszczykowski, Gundogan, Perisic, Zidan.
Well, first things first, the line-ups...
Good evening and welcome to Goal.com's LIVE coverage of the opening Champions League Group F game between Borussia Dortmund and Arsenal.
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