Hummels: Dortmund expect to progress to Champions League last 16

BVB have been drawn in the same group as Arsenal, Anderlecht and Galatasaray but the Germany international believes Jurgen Klopp’s men can reach the knockout stage


Mats Hummels says Borussia Dortmund are confident of progressing to the last 16 of the Champions League.

Friday’s draw for the group stage of Europe’s premier club cup competition pitted the German outfit against Arsenal, Anderlecht and Galatasaray.

BVB faced the Gunners in last season’s competition, with both sides scraping into the knockout stage at the expense of Napoli, after all three sides had finished with six points from six games.

Hummels believes that BVB, who finished as runners-up to Bayern Munich in 2013, have sufficient quality to make the last 16 once again this term.

“With Anderlecht and Galatsaray we have drawn new and interesting teams,” the centre-half mused. “Arsenal, somehow, are a part of our Champions League experience.

“But we expect from ourselves to progress.”

Dortmund boss Jurgen Klopp also acknowledged his side’s familiarity with Arsenal but was more intrigued by the unknown quantities in Group D.

“We will meet familiar and new faces,” the 47-year-old coach stated. “I have never been to Anderlecht and Istanbul before.

“We did not wish for an opponent ahead of the draw, so we will take it as it is. On Saturday, we will start collecting information about these teams, but we know Arsenal best, that is for sure.”

Meanwhile, BVB midfielder Ilkay Gundogan is particularly excited about his side’s home-and-away clashes with Galatasary.

“Because of my Turkish roots, matches against Turkish opponents are something special for me,” the Germany international explained.

“Arsenal is a top team and these matches will give us and our fans the possibility to meet some guys from the national team again. It will be emotional.

“And everybody who followed Anderlecht a little recently know, how they have great talent and quality.”

Champions League draw in full: Real Madrid face Liverpool, Barcelona versus PSG

The reigning champions discovered who they will face in the early stages on Thursday, with Bayern Munich, Man City, Roma and CSKA Moscow the best candidate as the Group of Death


Reigning European champions Real Madrid have been drawn with five-time winners Liverpool in the Champions League group stage draw held in Monaco on Thursday.

Carlo Ancelotti’s men achieved la Decima in May with a final win over Atletico Madrid and they will also face Swiss side Basel and Bulgarian champions Ludogorets in Group B as they try to become to first team in Champions League history to win back-to-back titles.

Bayern Munich, coached by former winner Pep Guardiola, will aim for their fourth final in six years but have arguably been handed the Group of Death as they will need to overcome Premier League winners Manchester City, Russian side CSKA Moscow and Serie A runners-up Roma to get out of Group E.

Barcelona will need to navigate their way past Paris Saint-Germain – led by former striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic – Dutch champions Ajax and Cyprus minnows APOEL.

Chelsea, Champions League victors in 2011-12, were given a relatively straightforward draw as they face out-of-sorts Schalke, Portuguese opposition Sporting and Slovenian side Maribor.

Arsenal are still without a Champions League title to their name and they will have a bumpy ride just reaching the last 16 as 2012-13 finalists Borussia Dortmund, Galatasaray and Belgian champions Anderlecht provide competition.

Atletico Madrid, runners up last season after taking Real Madrid to extra time, will be confident they can share one of the top two spots with Scudetto holders Juventus, Olympiakos and outsiders Malmo.

Last season’s Europa League runners-up Benfica, Bundesliga big-hitters Bayer Leverkusen, Andre Villas-Boas’ Zenit St-Petersburg and Ligue 1 runners-up Monaco make Group C one of the most competitive sections.

Contrastingly, Porto will be confident of making amends for failing to reach the knockout stages in 2013-14 after being drawn alongside Shakhtar Donetsk, Athletic Bilbao and BATE.

Each of the top two teams will qualify for the last 16 draw in December. The 2013-14 final, the 60th organised by Uefa, will be held at the Olympiastadion in Berlin on June 6.

European success will be hard for Arsenal – Bilic

The coach saw his Besiktas side beaten 1-0 on aggregate in their play-off tie but does not feel the Gunners are credible challengers for the trophy

Slaven Bilic does not feel Arsenal can win the Champions League after they scraped an aggregate win over his Besiktas side to qualify for the tournament.

The Gunners limped into the group stages of the competition with a 1-0 play-off success climaxing on Wednesday thanks to Alexis Sanchez’s first goal for his new club.

The victory means that Arsene Wenger’s men will compete in the competition proper of the Champions League for the 17th straight season, but the Besiktas coach does not view the 2006 finalists as challengers for this season’s trophy.

“I would love it if Arsenal to reach next year’s final because it would make us look like contenders,” Bilic told reporters.

“If they improve they have a chance and, of course, they are going to improve, the league just started and they have got a few injuries.

“They are missing the strikers although Sanchez was good tonight. But to win it with Bayern Munich and Real Madrid to compete against? Football is strange but it would be difficult.”

Arsenal will discover their group-stage opponents at Thursday’s draw in Monaco at 17:45CET.

Champions League Draw: Arsenal in pot 1 & Roma in pot 4 as Real Madrid lead the way

CL seedings for the group stage see last year’s winners among the front-runners, while the Serie A outfit promise a ‘group of death’ from their lowly place in Pot 4


The Champions League Group Stage draw will take place at 17:45CET on Thursday August 28 2014, LIVE right here on Goal.com. Here we discover just who will face whom as Europe’s premier club competition gets into full swing …

How it works

The 32 qualifiers have been divided into four pots based on the Uefa coefficients, which are in turn decided by a mixture of the team’s own performance in Europe over the past five seasons, as well as the strength of their country’s league.

The Champions League group stage comprises eight pools of four teams: consequently, a team from each pot is drawn and placed into one of the eight groups available. This is done by pot and not “one at a time”: that is to say, all the teams from pot one will be placed into a group, and then pot two, and so on down to the fourth and final pot.

There are some restrictions, though. Teams from the same national association cannot be drawn together, and even prior to that there will be two ‘sets’ of groups decided for the purpose of television rights. For example, the four teams from Spain cannot all be drawn in the same set.

Pots

The Champions League Group Stage pots for 2014-15 are as follows:


What to look out for

  • The Group of Death: Just how hard can the Champions League be? Consider the strength of a group such as the following: Real Madrid, Borussia Dortmund, Liverpool and Roma … Or how about Bayern Munich, Manchester City, Ajax and Monaco? 
  • Recent Reunions: Real Madrid proved to be too strong for Borussia Dortmund last season and may well relish a re-match against their German opponents. Meanwhile, Paris Saint-Germain’s European adventure came to an end against Chelsea in 2013-14 and the Ligue 1 champions will be keen to get a shot at revenge.

Arsenal 1-0 Besiktas (agg 1-0): Alexis sends 10-man Gunners through

The Chile international bagged his first goal for the club to send the north Londoners into the Champions League group stages at the expense of the Turkish giants


Alexis Sanchez’s first goal for Arsenal gave the Gunners a 1-0 win over Besiktas on Wednesday, despite Mathieu Debuchy’s late red card.

The Chilean forward, who has largely flattered to deceive since making a high-profile move from Barcelona, struck just before half-time in the second leg of Wednesday’s play-off, following last week’s first leg 0-0 draw.

His effort, backed up by a stellar showing from Jack Wilshere and some dogged defending following Debuchy’s 76th-minute red card, was enough to see the Premier League side progress to the competition proper for the 17th successive year.

All of the pressure was on Arsene Wenger ahead of an encounter estimated to be worth upwards of £20 million for the victors.

But, despite being without Aaron Ramsey following his sending off in a goalless first leg, the Arsenal manager could breathe a sigh of relief.

Besiktas, meanwhile, will have taken great heart from another impressive showing, even if a Europa League campaign now awaits.

Clearly determined to impose themselves, Arsenal began quickly and pressed forward with regularity.

Their approach almost reaped immediate reward, but Wilshere could only drag an effort wide after bursting through from midfield.

Santi Cazorla was the next to threaten, intercepting a dreadful clearance from Tolga Zengin before sending a first-time effort wide with the goalkeeper a long way off his line.

The Premier League side continued to enjoy the lion’s share of possession, although Besiktas and, in particular, Demba Ba looked threatening on the counter-attack.

As the half wore on, though, it was the visitors who began to dominate, with Ramon Motta seeing a strong penalty appeal turned down following a wild Wilshere challenge.

The home nerves were finally eased just before half-time, as Nacho Monreal’s through ball went through the legs of Wilshere to leave Alexis with the simplest of finishes.

Far from thinking it was a case of ‘job done’, Arsenal picked up where they had left off after the interval, Cazorla flashing an effort just wide having been picked out by the impressive Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Alexis almost grabbed his second soon afterwards, his poked effort deflecting just wide following a superb Wilshere pass.

The hosts were clearly determined to avoid any late drama but they could not find a cutting edge in front of goal, as Debuchy headed Cazorla’s superb set-piece into the side-netting with time running out.

And the tension was taken up another notch when Ba found space in the area and narrowly missed the target at the other end.

With 14 minutes left, Arsenal were hanging on as Cazorla and Oxlade-Chamberlain both missed glorious chances from close range before Debuchy saw red for a second yellow card.

Calum Chambers replaced Mesut Ozil as a result to shore them up at the back, but it needed a late miss from Ba, who failed to meet Gokhan Tore’s cross with the goal gaping, before Arsenal could be sure of their spot in Thursday’s draw.