You’ll never Walk Alone has always been my favourite football anthem, it reminds me of the wonderful Liverpool teams of the 60′s/70′s and Bill Shankly and the Kop and black and white TV and my first visit to Anfield. It is THE football anthem. Why am I writing about YNWA? Well, because it is Borussia Dortmund’s anthem, and I have a feeling that with 80,000 Germans singing and cheering on their young and extremely talented side our boys in Red are going to be feeling very alone. Alone but hopefully not afraid.
Like most fans I was hoping that we would not draw BD in the final group of the CL draw, and am sure I was not alone in using a 4 letter word when we drew them. Borussia are a top, top team and despite losing Sahin to Real Madrid (he was voted Bundesliga player of the Year) they have (unlike us) retained their squad, even rebuffing a reported €40m bid from Arsenal the 19.y.o Mario Gotze.
Gotze is just one of the exciting talents in this Dortmund team, but let us focus upon him for a moment. Just 19, already touted as the future of German football and hailed by German Football Association’s technical director Matthias Sammer who called him “one of the best talents that we’ve ever had” – high praise indeed. Remind you of anyone in our squad? How we miss our Little Jack.
Barrios, a Paraguayan, plays upfront for BD and last season was top scorer in the Bundesliga in 2010 and scored heavily last season. Kagawa an attacking MF is one of Japans most talked about young talents, at 22 he already has 25 International caps. Subotic is a monster Serbian CB whom Chelsea (and supposedly AFC) tried to sign in summer, just 22 and a class player. I could continue but you will just get as depressed and anxious as I am.
BD’s stadium holds 81,000 fans and is the largest in Germany, they have an average attendance of over 77k a game, the highest in Europe. Interestingly, BD are quoted on the German Stock Exchange – the only publicly owned club in the Bundesliga
Arsenal go into this difficult game missing Wilshere, Ramsey, Rosicky and Diaby in midfield. We have an untried defensive unit and are missing our best defender (apart from Chesney). And yet, we have cause for optimism: We have a terrific frontline, we have a midfield with PL experience (if not CL), a defence that has a good mix of pace and height, and we are at our best playing away in Europe (OK – that might be an exaggeration)
Sagna Mertesacker Koscielny Gibbs
Song Arteta Frimpong
Walcott Van Persie Gervinho
Tough call on whom to play alongside Song and Arteta in midfield, but Frimpong adds some defensive steel and energy which will hopefully allow Song to get forward and be creative. The front three have pace aplenty which will be important in what is sure to be an open, attacking game.
Most pundits have written off our chances of getting even a point from tonight. They cite our current lack of form and Dortmund’s undoubted home strengths (their loss this weekend was the first in over a year), but these pundits are always writing us off. We have reason to be confident, Dortmund have only 7 points from 15 this season, they are stuttering upfront and have an ageing defence. Their team has little Champions League experience and winning the Bundesliga is nowhere near the achievement it once was, I firmly believe Arsenal would win it with our current squad.
A win is a tough ask, but why not?
Written by Big Raddy