Borussia Dortmund vs Arsenal: Jurgen Klopp concerned with Dortmund injuries and praises signings of Danny Welbeck and Alexis Sanchez

Dortmund manager believes Arsenal have added even more pace to an already fast attack and looks forward to going up against them despite their lack of numbers

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The Independent Online

Borussia Dortmund manager Jurgen Klopp is targeting progression from the Champions League ahead of their Group D clash with Arsenal on Tuesday night, but feels that a lack of practice with his squad as a whole could hamper their target to progress from a tricky group.

Klopp admits that he is getting to know the Arsenal side very well having been drawn against the Premier League club in three of the past four Champions League campaigns, although he has not faced either Galatasaray or Anderlecht.

Speaking to the Evening Standard, Klopp admitted that he is concerned heading into the game with the squad’s numerous injuries, which has had a subsequent impact on their preparations for the season having seen depleted numbers in training and the recent international break acting as a disruption.

“This group is a good mixture of old and new faces,” Klopp said on the draw Dortmund were handed. “We certainly know Arsenal better than the other sides, after all, we play against them all the time! On the other hand, I’ve not yet come up against Galatasaray or Anderlecht as a coach. So that will be very interesting.

 

“Facing the Gunners first off is a tough proposition, especially considering the injury problems we have at the moment and the fact we haven’t been able to train together very often. But we never complain and are looking forward to tackling the challenge tomorrow. Getting through the group stage is one of our main aims for the season.”

When Klopp elaborated on their current injury concerns, he added: “You are right about the incredible injury woes we suffered [last season]. And there has been no real let-up as we are without players like Nuri Sahin, Oliver Kirch, Ji [Dong-won], Ilkay Gundogan, Jakub Blaszczykowski and Marco Reus at the moment.

“But I still felt we had a successful season last season, as we achieved everything we set out to do. And our goals for the 2014-15 season are similar, namely to progress from our Champions League group, achieve direct qualification for next year’s Champions League and, if possible, reach the German Cup Final in Berlin again.”

Dortmund came ever-so-close to going all the way two seasons ago, only to come unstuck in the final at Wembley when they met Bundesliga rivals Bayern Munich. Eventual champions Real Madrid knocked Klopp’s side out last season when they met in the quarter-finals, and while the eccentric 47-year-old manager believes a so-called ‘underdog’ usually makes it to the final, he would not like to be the one calling.

“Recent finals have always been contested by a top favourite and a dark horse like Atletico Madrid last season or us the year before,” explained Klopp. “But I don’t like to think in terms of ‘favourites’. Of course, Chelsea, Real Madrid or PSG will always be mentioned. Maybe Arsenal as well, who knows? I certainly couldn't pick a favourite myself. At this level, every match is a real challenge.” Turning his attentions directly towards Arsenal, Klopp recognises that the summer additions of Alexis Sanchez and Danny Welbeck has added to their already speed-laden attack, and despite Theo Walcott absent as he continues his recovery from injury, it’s something he expects the Gunners to try and utilise at the Westfalenstadion.

“They have signed two outstanding players in Danny Welbeck and Alexis Sanchez, who will give them even more pace. I’m expecting the Gunners to try and utilise this on Tuesday. But first and foremost, both teams will have to be fully focused and defend well,” he said.

Despite his energetic and quite frankly sometimes scary outbursts on the sidelines, Klopp is widely considered a gentleman of the sport. He explains how the frequent meetings against Arsenal have helped him get to know his opposite number in Wenger, and the pair caught up with each other at the recent Elite Coaches conference in Switzerland.

“I saw him again recently at the Elite Coaches conference in Nyon and had a chat,” Klopp said. “We know each other quite well but, most of all, I think he is a great colleague and a really nice bloke.”

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