Arsenal fans have jolly ol’ time in Dortmund before Champions League match

Arsenal have been drawn together with Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League group stage for the third time in the past four season, so perhaps it’s no wonder that Gunners fans are starting to feel completely at home in Dortmund.

Check out these Gooners making a bubble bath out of a fountain in downtown hours before their UCL opener:



Aubameyang reveals his true identity in German Super Cup


Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored for Dortmund in the club’s 2-0 German Super Cup win over Bayern Munich, and celebrated by revealing his true identity as the one and only Spider-Man.

Of note: He pulled the mask out of his sock. That thing must have smelled awful. It’s impressive that he kept it on his face for that long.

Okay, so this isn’t the first time Aubameyang has pulled off this stunt, but it is his most realistic mask to date. His Spiderman celebration was actually inspired by former teammate Jeremie Janot, who is apparently a huge — we’re talking HUGE — Spider-Man fan.

Back in 2005, he wore a full Spider-Man kit, mask included, in a match. A real match that counted for real points.

Now THAT is dedication.

(Photo: Action Images)


Milos Jojic scores on very first touch in Dortmund debut

Borussia Dortmund remained fairly quiet during the January transfer window, only picking up young Serbian international Milos Jojic from Partizan Belgrad. Maybe that’s all they needed.

Jojic scored on his first touch in his first appearance for BVB, taking just 17 seconds after coming off the bench to open his account in a 4-0 win over Frankfurt. Now that’s a debut!

Okay, so it wasn’t the most spectacular goal in the world, but it was historic: Jojic broke the Bundesliga records for fastest goal by a substitute, and fastest debut goal. The 21-year-old also stirred up glorious memories for Dortmund fans.

In the 1997 Champions League final, Lars Ricken (also 21 at the time) needed just 16 seconds after coming off the pine to score a screamer against Juventus on his first touch. The goal was the fastest by a substitute in Champions League history and was voted Dortmund’s “Goal of the Century” by fans:


Robert Lewandowski’s Monday morning was pretty bad


We’ve all had a case of the Mondays, but Dortmund striker Robert Lewandowski had a particularly bad morning today.

The Polish star, who will be headed to Bundesliga rival Bayern Munich after this season, was apparently the victim of a theft — or possibly a prank by bitter BVB fans. The latter wouldn’t be surprising, especially considering the way former Dortmund star Mario Götze was treated when he made the swap to Bayern last year.

imageLewandowski probably can’t wait to fix up his Porsche Cayenne and drive to Munich.

(Images courtesy of Getty, story via @uersfeld)


Man Utd to break bank for Vidal


The rumors keep rolling in for Manchester United supporters. A fortnight ago it was Wesley Sneijder, last week it was Atletico star Koke and Dortmund’s Marco Reus. Who will fill that midfield role now the transfer window has opened?

In Thursday’s English newspapers, Juventus’ Chilean midfielder Arturo Vidal is the latest name to be linked with a move to Old Trafford. Vidal has been one of Juve’s outstanding players and one of the reasons they have won back-to-back Scudetto’s in recent years. It is certain United will have to break the bank for the midfielder, especially in the inflated January sales.

For this rumor and the rest of Thursday’s transfer gossip, click here.


Dortmund’s Bundesliga hopes crash and burn as Bayern continue record streak

Bayer Leverkusen beat Borussia Dortmund 1-0 on the road Saturday to leave BVB six points behind them in the fight for second place in the Bundesliga. Dortmund are now a whopping ten points behind Bayern Munich, practically closing the book on Dortmund’s already slim title hopes before the turn of the calendar year.

Heung-Min Son provided the only goal of the game as Dortmund also lost key midfielders Nuri Sahin and Sven Bender to ankle injuries, further decimating Jurgen Klopp’s squad depth.

A couple hours earlier, Bayern all but clinched the midseason “title” before the Bundesliga heads into its winter break, blowing out Werder Bremen 7-0 on the road. It extended Bayern’s record unbeaten run in the Bundesliga to 40 games.

Where does that streak rank among the longest all-time unbeaten runs in Europe’s top domestic leagues? Here are the five teams that still top Bayern’s mark:

  • 62 - Celtic (Scotland) 1915-1917
  • 58 - AC Milan (Italy) 1991-1993
  • 56 - Benfica (Portugal) 1976-1978
  • 52 - Ajax (Netherlands) 1994-1996
  • 49 - Arsenal (England) 2003-2004


Breaking down the “Group of Death”


With one matchday to go, Arsenal are sitting on 12 points in Group F but are still not officialy through to the Round of 16. How can that be? Thanks to Marseille losing each of their first five games, Dortmund and Napoli are both sitting on nine points and are also very much in the running for a place in the knockout stage.

If Napoli beat Arsenal at home on the final day and Dortmund take care of Marseille as expected, all three teams would sit on 12 points. And thanks to UEFA’s peculiar tie-breaking rules, figuring out who would move on in that very possible scenario is not so simple.

In all three teams are tied on 12 points, the two with the best goal difference in matches involving only the three clubs in question move on to the Round of 16. The results against Marseille get thrown out. In those games, Arsenal lead with a +2 goal difference, while Dortmund are +1, and Napoli are -3.

Since Dortmund plays Marseille last, they will remain at +1 and, if all three clubs are on 12 points, will definitely advance. In that scenario, Arsenal would still move on if they lose by less than three goals.

Here are the scenarios each team would need to qualify:

Arsenal: A win or tie in Napoli will be enough to put them through, as would a Dortmund loss or draw. If Dortmund win, the Gunners can also advance if they lose to Napoli by less than three goals.

Dortmund: Very straightforward: a win and they’re in. A draw would be enough if Arsenal tie or beat Napoli. A loss to Marseille could still be enough if Arsenal beat Napoli.

Napoli: They face the toughest road. If Napoli win by three or more goals, they are guaranteed a spot in the next round. A win by anything less and they’ll need Marseille to get at least a point against Dortmund. If Napoli tie against the Gunners, Marseille would need to beat Dortmund.

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Dortmund v Bayern: Five key points on the ‘German Clasico’

The Bundesliga’s top two teams meet in a rematch of last year’s Champions League final on Saturday night. The stakes of Der Klassiker are high — a Bayern win would stretch the lead over Dortmund to seven points, for Franck Ribery “a preliminary decision for the title.” The pressure is on Dortmund to defend its home field, but will they? Here are five points you should keep an eye during the match at Signal Iduna Park:

1. Injury bug makes it mark

Five Dortmund players who started in the Champions League final will miss the rematch due to injury, including the entire back line. Dortmund were already planning without Lukasz Piszczek and Neven Subotic, who tore ligaments in his knee earlier this month. as well as playmaker Ilkay Gundogan. But those problems compounded when the remaining half of its Wembley defense — Mats Hummels and Marcel Schmelzer — picked up knocks in Germany’s friendly win over England.

It couldn’t come at a worse time for Jurgen Klopp, who said he “picked up 80% of his grey hairs this week.” He’ll likely opt to play midfielders Sven Bender and Kuba Blaszczykowski in defense to avoid throwing talented but inexperienced players such as Koray Gunter or Erik Durm into the fire.

2. Bayern are hurting, too

On the other side, Bayern will miss their two most important players. Bastian Schweinsteiger is out for the rest of 2013, while Franck Ribery will sit out after breaking a rib in France’s World Cup qualifier against the Ukraine. Xherdan Shaqiri and Claudio Pizarro also remain on the sidelines. Of course, Josep Guardiola’s squad is significantly deeper than Dortmund’s. Javi Martinez and Toni Kroos will likely pull the strings in midfield, while Mario Goetze could deputize for Ribery. One other key player may get a late run-out: Thiago Alcantara finally returned to practice the last two weeks.

3. All eyes on one man: Mario Goetze

The anticipation of Goetze’s return to Dortmund, where he became a household name, has dominated the German headlines this week. He can expect a hostile reaction from the home fans for the full 90 minutes, after incredibly signing with Dortmund’s league rivals this past summer. You can read more on Goetze’s return here.


Dortmund fans will make their voices heard against former club hero Mario Goetze (Image: Getty).

4. Matchup to watch: Dortmund’s wings versus Bayern’s fullbacks

Whenever Dortmund had success against Bayern, it was thanks to their high press and counterattacks. In Marco Reus and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Dortmund field two of the fastest players in the Bundesliga, but can they outplay Bayern’s fullbacks?

David Alaba is quickly becoming one of the best in the world at his position, but if Philipp Lahm plays in the Schweinsteiger role, look for Dortmund to target Rafinha on the right side all night. Bayern’s fullbacks love to push all the way up-field, which could make them vulnerable to the pace of Reus and Aubameyang. Everyone knows what Robert Lewandowski can do, but will he get enough service?

5. Bayern’s Plan A vs Plan B

At the start of the season, there was much debate whether Guardiola would employ his “false nine” system as he did in Barcelona with Lionel Messi. We know the answer by now: yes and no. Guardiola has tried the likes of Thomas Muller, Goetze and even Ribery in that role on occasion, but also relied heavily on true striker Mario Mandzukic.

Guardiola freely employs both systems, sometimes even within the same game. For instance, when Bayern’s opponents clamp down and tiki-taka fails, Guardiola brings on Mandzukic, the wings supply more crosses and voila, the Croatian usually comes through. Indeed, more than half of his Bundesliga goals have been scored with his head.

That flexibility has helped Guardiola greatly in his first season at Bayern; he didn’t have the luxury of such Plan “B” while at Barcelona. Which style Bayern will start out with in Dortmund remains to be seen, but you can count on Guardiola to adjust as needed.

imageMario Mandzukic has been Bayern’s Mr. Reliable (Image: Reuters).

Projected lineups:

Borussia Dortmund: Weidenfeller; Grosskreutz, Sokratis, Bender, Blaszczykowski; Kehl, Sahin; Reus, Mkhitaryan, Aubameyang; Lewandowski.

Bayern Munich: Neuer; Alaba, Boateng, Dante, Lahm; Martinez; Goetze, Kroos, Robben; Mandzkuic/Muller.

Prediction: Dortmund 1, Bayern 2