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Arsenal, Anderlecht, Galatasaray play catch-up to Borussia Dortmund in Champions League

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ISTANBUL — Borussia Dortmund is looking to the Champions League for refuge, even if that entails a daunting visit to Turkish league runner-up Galatasaray on Wednesday.

The 2013 finalists are enduring a crisis in the Bundesliga, where five games have yielded four defeats and one draw. Saturday's 2-1 loss at promoted Cologne was the side's third in a row.

Dortmund has made its worst start to a league campaign under coach Juergen Klopp, and finds itself one point off the relegation zone after eight games. The team has conceded in every game.

"You can call it a crisis. What else?" Dortmund sport director Michael Zorc said.

Relief may be on offer in Group D of the Champions League, where Dortmund has opened its campaign with two wins from two with no goals conceded.

Galatasaray, backed by fervent home supporters, will hope to take advantage of any German nerves and claim its first win of the campaign.

Anderlecht is also looking for its first win and has been heartened by Arsenal's injury woes. The Belgians were similarly optimistic against Dortmund, however, when they lost 3-0 at home.

Here are some things to know about the group:


IMMOBILE STRUGGLING

The loss of forward Robert Lewandowski to Bayern Munich has hit Dortmund hard. Adrian Ramos, who arrived from Hertha Berlin, and Italy striker Ciro Immobile were supposed to fill in the gap but both have struggled to settle into the side.

Immobile scored 22 goals in Serie A for Torino before his switch for a reported 18.5 million euros ($24 million) but has only given hints of his potential so far for Dortmund.

Despite scoring in the defeat to Cologne and claiming a solo effort in the 2-0 win over Arsenal, Immobile has struggled to make an impact.

Dortmund can take heart from the fact Lewandowski also failed to shine in his debut season, but the club can't afford to give Immobile the same luxury of time.


PHOTO: Dortmund's head coach Juergen Klopp waves to supporters after his team lost the German first division Bundesliga soccer match between 1.FC Cologne and BvB Borussia Dortmund in Cologne, Germany, Saturday, Oct. 18, 2014. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
Dortmund's head coach Juergen Klopp waves to supporters after his team lost the German first division Bundesliga soccer match between 1.FC Cologne and BvB Borussia Dortmund in Cologne, Germany, Saturday, Oct. 18, 2014. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

TEAM TIES

Galatasaray is on a three-game winning streak in the Turkish league, but has yet to impress in the Champions League following a 1-1 draw at Anderlecht and 4-1 loss at Arsenal.

Galatsaray's record against Bundesliga opposition is poor. The Turkish side hasn't won any of its last six home games against German clubs and is looking for only its third home win in 13 attempts.

Five Galatasaray players were born in Germany: Hamit Altintop, Hakan Balta, Tarik Camdal, Furkan Ozcal and Yasin Oztekin, who came through the ranks of Dortmund's reserve sides.

Dortmund players Nuri Sahin, Ilkay Gundogan and Burak Camoglu are all of Turkish descent.


GOALKEEPING PROBLEMS

With first-choice goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny suspended and backup David Ospina out with an injured thigh, Arsenal will have to field third-choice stopper Emiliano Martinez against Anderlecht.

The 22-year-old Martinez has played only twice before for Arsene Wenger, with both appearances coming in the League Cup, including Arsenal's dramatic 7-5 victory over Reading in 2012.

Martinez's presence in the side compounds Wenger's defensive issues: Mathieu Debuchy is out and Laurent Koscielny, absent from Saturday's 2-2 draw with Hull, could still be missing with an Achilles injury. With two 19-year-old players deputizing in Hector Bellerin and Calum Chambers, there may not be a better time for Anderlecht to face an Arsenal side that has two wins from nine across all competitions.


FIRST WIN

Belgian champion Anderlecht remains the domestic leader after earning a 1-1 draw with KV Mechelen over the weekend, but coach Besnik Hasi was livid at the sloppy play of the team, knowing that far better is required for the Champions League.

Anderlecht has finished last in the group in all seven campaigns since it reached the last 16 in 2001.

An injury-time equalizer from Burak Yilmaz denied the side victory over Galatasaray on the opening day in Istanbul, and a clinical Dortmund side won 3-0 in Brussels.

Hasi now wants to avoid a repeat against an injury-depleted Arsenal side.

"Because of the many injuries, there will be high expectations again," Hasi said. "But I will warn my players and I am convinced we won't play that bad again."

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