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Problems growing for Borussia Dortmund as it plays Arsenal in the Champions League


LONDON — Struggling at home but excelling in the Champions League, Borussia Dortmund is headed to Arsenal on Wednesday.

Dortmund, which has already qualified for the second round, will travel to London without forward Marco Reus, who is out with an ankle injury. Reus was hurt in the 2-2 draw with Paderborn over the weekend, a result that left Dortmund in 16th place in the Bundesliga standings.

Arsenal, which blew a three-goal lead against Anderlecht in the last match, can join Dortmund in the last 16 with a draw.

In the other group match, Galatasaray plays Anderlecht.

Here are some things to know about Wednesday's matches:


Dortmund has fallen back into the relegation zone in the Bundesliga after wasting a 2-0 lead to settle for a 2-2 draw at promoted Paderborn.

But even worse, it lost Reus, who was the victim of a vicious tackle and will be sidelined into 2015 with an ankle injury, his third major injury this year.

Reus' latest misfortune has sparked a debate, with some calling for the player who commits such a foul to be suspended until the injured player recovers. Although few believe such a move is practical, everyone agrees top players need better protection.

Hans-Joachim Watzke, Dortmund's CEO, has asked for "blood, sweat and tears" from the team and that injuries should be no excuse for setbacks. Dortmund should produce top performances not only in the Champions League but against lower-ranked opposition as well.

Dortmund coach Juergen Klopp will also be missing defenders Mats Hummels and Sokratis Papastathopoulos through injuries, while striker Ciro Immobile may get a rare start.


Arsenal needs only a point from its last two Champions League matches to secure its place in the second round.

PHOTO: Dortmund's  Marco Reus , right, is carried on a stretcher during the German Bundesliga soccer match between SC Paderborn and Borussia Dortmund in Paderborn, Germany,  Saturday Nov. 22,  2014.   (AP Photo/dpa,Jonas Guettler)
Dortmund's Marco Reus , right, is carried on a stretcher during the German Bundesliga soccer match between SC Paderborn and Borussia Dortmund in Paderborn, Germany, Saturday Nov. 22, 2014. (AP Photo/dpa,Jonas Guettler)

The team heads into the match against Dortmund after it lost to Manchester United 2-1 in the Premier League on Saturday. Memories of the Anderlecht match are also fresh.

"We all know that our last match in the Champions League at home to Anderlecht was disappointing," Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny said. "But we must put that behind us and we're all ready to bounce back against Dortmund and hopefully get a place in the last 16."

Arsenal is second in Group D with seven points, five behind Dortmund.


Despite its three-goal comeback to force a 3-3 draw at Arsenal three weeks ago, Anderlecht is struggling again.

The Belgian team lost to Charleroi 3-1 over the weekend and as a result is now trailing FC Brugge in the league. Now it is up to coach Besnik Hasi to motivate his players again.

"There is no reason to doubt. I know my players will be ready on Wednesday," Hasi said. "The only positive thing to come out of the loss is that my players will have both feet on the ground again."

Anderlecht will be able to recover Belgium international Steven Defour to beef up its defensive midfield.

A victory at the Vanden Stock Stadium would guarantee Anderlecht at least a place in the Europa League after the winter break and maintain a theoretical chance to advance in the Champions League.


Galatasaray coach Cesare Prandelli is under intense pressure for a victory over Anderlecht.

The Istanbul side, which lost to Trabzonspor 3-0 at home on Saturday, is last in Group D with only one point in the competition.

Many are blaming Prandelli for the loss, criticizing his decision to keep Wesley Sneijder out of the starting 11. Despite rumors of that he may be fired, Galatasaray has so far stood behind Prandelli.

"Such a score before the Anderlecht game was unfortunate but we will look ahead," said Hamdi Yasaman, the club's deputy president.

Prandelli, the former Italy coach, took charge of Galatasaray in July.

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