Borussia Dortmund v Arsenal: Arsene Wenger puts faith in self-belief for biggest away test

Arsenal are unbeaten in their last 14 away games

Dortmund

Arsenal have returned to the country where their current buoyancy began determined to prove their pre-eminence is not based on hot air.

The Gunners moved five points clear at the top of the Premier League on Saturday with a comprehensive 2-0 victory over Liverpool to continue their fine early-season form as they enter the most sustained examination of their credentials at home and abroad – the tie against Borussia Dortmund at the Westfalenstadion.

Arsenal arrived here in Germany top of Group F by the thinnest of margins – Uefa's method of separating sides by their head-to-head record has them leading a trio of teams on six points – yet galvanised by an away record dating back to March's 2-0 victory at Bayern Munich.

Although that result ultimately proved insufficient to prevent their exit from last season's competition, it has frequently been cited as the catalyst for an upturn in fortunes that elevated Arsenal above Tottenham into fourth place and catapulted them onto greater heights in this campaign.

Arsenal are unbeaten in their last 14 away games and, despite the daunting prospect of facing last year's Champions League finalists in their own arena, manager, Arsène Wenger, said: "We take belief from our form away from home. We play everywhere to win. That will not change and we will have a positive attitude in our game.

"Maybe we had not the same belief at home [Arsenal lost 2-1 to Dortmund a fortnight ago] because we failed in a few big home games and you could feel there was a bit more scepticism and less belief maybe at home. Hopefully we got that behind us now with the Liverpool game."

The Dortmund coach, Jürgen Klopp, was far more sceptical. "I wouldn't say they are more dangerous away – they are always dangerous home and away – but every game has its own history," he said. "We have analysed the game against Munich. It was pretty close until the end.

"We actually believe that it is an advantage to play at home and if we put all our quality on the pitch, we are very hard to play against. We are also very well prepared.

"Even if we had won the last 70 games at home, it wouldn't make any difference tomorrow. It would be just a history, just statistics so therefore I wouldn't say the 14 games [unbeaten] away are an advantage."

Arsenal's run of 13 victories and one draw on the road is an impressive statistic although closer scrutiny reveals this is by some distance their toughest test since that night in Munich.

The subsequent 13 results came against Swansea (twice), West Bromwich Albion (three times), Fulham (twice), Queen's Park Rangers, Newcastle, Fenerbahce, Sunderland, Marseilles and Crystal Palace; not one of those domestic sides currently sits in the Premier League's top eight.

Dortmund's victory at the Emirates Stadium reinforces the notion that Klopp's side – who hammered Stuttgart 6-1 on Friday – are the biggest obstacle to Arsenal's hopes of reaching the knockout stages for the 14th consecutive season. "I believe we lost the first game because we absolutely wanted to win it at any cost and we exposed ourselves," said Wenger. "In the end, we got caught on the counter-attack because we were all up front. We pushed forward because we were not happy with the draw.

"That's what happened in the game. I don't think it will affect us. It will strengthen the resolve of my team because they will want to come out and show a different level."

While Jack Wilshere did not travel due to an ankle problem, those able to display that resolve will include striker Olivier Giroud, who reflected last night on how far he has come since 2008, when his coach at Grenoble, Mehmed Bazdarevic, deemed the Frenchman "did not have the level to play among the elite".

"Everything I did on the pitch is my answer for people who wanted to blame me, maybe," he said. "I tried to do my job on the pitch and score goals and never mind other people. I believe in my qualities and my game so I don't care about it. But it was a good inspiration for me."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot