Borussia Dortmund – Arsenal Preview: Gunners begin Champions League campaign against familiar foes

Both sides emerged out of the same group last season but Arsene Wenger insists recent meetings between the two clubs will have no impact on Tuesday’s fixture

Borussia Dortmund and Arsenal will renew acquaintances when the Champions League group stage begins on Tuesday.

The two sides have been drawn in the same group for the second season in succession, with both having qualified for the knockout stages last term.

Aaron Ramsey scored the only goal as Arsenal won in Dortmund last season after the Bundesliga club had claimed a 2-1 win at the Emirates Stadium in October.

The defeat at Signal Iduna Park was Dortmund’s first at home against an English opponent in European competition.

They went on to lose to eventual champions Real Madrid in the quarter-finals, while Arsenal were eliminated a round earlier by Bayern Munich.

But Arsenal coach Arsene Wenger says the recent meetings between the sides will have no bearing on this season’s Group D showdowns.

“It is not an advantage, it is not a disadvantage, it is just a new fight every time,” the Frenchman told reporters. “They are a different team today and England versus Germany are always fierce battles.”

Arsenal have made an underwhelming start to the Premier League season, following up their opening-day victory over Crystal Palace with three consecutive draws against Everton, Leicester City and reigning champions Manchester City.

Dortmund, meanwhile, have registered back-to-back victories after suffering a shock 2-0 home defeat to Bayer Leverkusen in their first Bundesliga fixture of the new campaign.

Shinji Kagawa – re-signed from Manchester United before the transfer window closed – marked his return to the club with a goal and an assist in a 3-1 win against Freiburg on Saturday, and could come up against former United team-mate Danny Welbeck on Tuesday after the striker made a deadline-day move to Arsenal.

Mathieu Debuchy was carried off on a stretcher with an ankle injury during Arsenal’s draw with Manchester City on Saturday, but was set to miss the Dortmund clash already due to suspension.

The Frenchman’s absence is likely to open the door for Calum Chambers to make his Champions League bow. The defender – signed from Southampton during the summer – has already made his England debut this season, coming off the bench during the 1-0 friendly victory over Norway earlier this month.

Theo Walcott (knee) is nearing a return to fitness but will not be available.

Dortmund currently sport a lengthy injury list and will be without Ilkay Gundogan (back), Marco Reus (ankle), Jakub Blaszczykowski (thigh), Nuri Sahin (knee) and Oliver Kirch (thigh) for this week’s encounter.

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