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Arsenal and Borussia Dortmund - combined XI

Roman Weidenfeller
Roman Weidenfeller has consistently performed well for Borussia Dortmund
Aniket Mohan

Borussia Dortmund face Arsenal today and the Germans visit London knowing they have qualified from the group. Arsenal need a point to secure qualification for them, but Arsenal haven't won in all competitions since November 1st. Arsenal and Borussia Dortmund are two evenly matched teams, but what would their combined XI look like?This combined XI is based on the best players in both squads, considering injuries, and not necessarily, the best XI, of the teams that will play today. The formation chosen is a 4-4-2

#1 Goalkeeper: Roman Weidenfeller

Tough call between him and Wojciech Szczesny, but the German would get the nod for his sensible decision making and discipline. Also, Szczesny is an injury worry for Arsenal, after he had to be substituted in the game against Manchester United. Szczesny is a fantastic keeper but just loses out to Dortmund keeper Roman Weidenfeller, whose consistent displays win him the spot over the occasionally flaky Pole. He is an excellent shot-stopper and a leader from the back. Despite never really getting a chance to play for his country regularly, Weidenfeller has made himself an indispensable part of Jurgen Klopp’s side

#2 Left-back: Kieran Gibbs

Keiran Gibbs
Keiran Gibbs has kept Nacho Monreal out of the side

Talented young Dortmund full-back Erik Durm is unlucky to miss out, but Gibbs steals the spot because of his European experience. If Gibbs can stay injury-free, he can continue to develop into one of the best full-backs around. Recently, played for England in the Euro qualifiers, and had a calm and composed presence about him. This could turn into a breakthrough season for him for both club and country considering the performances. Could easily be Arsenal’s left back for many years to come, with consistency being the key element.

#3 Centre-back: Laurent Koscielny

Laurent Koscielny
Laurent Koscielny has been a rock at the back for Arsenal

There was no doubt that Koscielny would get the nod because he is that good. His recovery from injury will be a massive boost for a depleted Arsenal defence. He's been immense for Arsenal as well as France since his arrival at the Emirates. Mertesacker has been a liability this season, and Koscielny would be able to hold up Arsenal’s defence for the time being. Dortmund defender Sokratis has been in great form over the last 12 months, but has a broken leg and will almost certainly miss out. Neven Subotic, who recently recovered from injury could be a candidate for this position, but Koscielny gets the edge.

#4 Centre-back: Mats Hummels

Mats Hummels
Mats Hummels edges out Per Mertesacker

Mats Hummels takes the other centre-back slot as our ball-playing centre-back due to his ability to stride out of defence and instigate attacks. Hummels gets the nod over compatriot Per Mertesacker for his mobility and athleticism. As much as fans love Mertesacker, he suffers from an extreme lack of pace and mobility and that is the reason Hummels has been chosen over him. Over the years, he has been consistent for club and country, although his current season has been hampered by injuries. Him and Koscielny could complement each other extremely well

#5 Right-back: Lukasz Piszczek

Lukasz Piszczek
Lukasz Piszczek has been Dortmund’s mainstay for quite some time

The Pole is a stonewall of a defender. Strong and intelligent, Piszczek is a natural ball winner. The dangerous Dortmund fullback would take this spot even ahead of Arsenal’s first choice right-back Mathieu Debuchy, though he is ruled out with injury, and faces little competition from Calum Chambers. Very strong going forward and no slouch defensively either. Piszczek, who is one of Europe’s best attacking right backs, could trouble Arsenal with his runs from the right back position and could be very valuable in countering the prowess of the Arsenal midfield.

#6 Left midfield: Alexis Sanchez

Alexis Sanchez
Alexis Sanchez has made a blistering start to his Arsenal career

Sanchez is in fantastic form and is a one man army at the moment, regularly hitting the back of the net for Arsenal. He is extremely fast and could give Dortmund’s defence a tough time at the Emirates. He has settled well, since his summer move from Barcelona, and there is just one way he is heading in terms of form. Marco Reus would have given him a run for his money at this position, but another injury meant he is ruled out for this game. Arsenal’s attacking hope rest squarely on the shoulders of Chilean star Sanchez, who will be tasked with breaking down a deep-lying Dortmund side.

#7 Right midfield: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has shone whenever he is played

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is an automatic choice for this position. The young English midfielder has had a lot of pressure on his shoulders, following the injury to Theo Walcott, but he has gradually improved and been consistently performing well in the last few months. He has relished playing alongside Alexis Sanchez and recently said that he was learning a lot from the Chilean. He could trouble any defence in the world with his pace and trickery. Considering the pace he’s got and his recently improved crossing, he could be turn out to be the difference between the two sides.

#8 Centre midfield: Shinji Kagawa

Shinji Kagawa
Shinji Kagawa’s career has been rejuvenated after a return to Dortmund

Central midfield is a difficult choice to make considering both the teams have very good options and Shinji Kagawa is one of them. He’s been excellent since he returned to the German side in the summer from Manchester United. He can create loads of scoring opportunities for the strikers. On the scrapheap at Old Trafford, Kagawa made a wise decision and returned to the club where he made his name. He showed his best form in Dortmund's 3-0 Champions League win over Anderlecht in an earlier group stage match, setting up two goals and showing the kind of incisive passing that persuaded United to sign him in the first place. It looks like he is now slowly returning to his full ability.

#9 Centre midfield: Ilkay Gundogan

Ilkay Gundogan
Ilkay Gundogan has been a brilliant performer when fit

12 months ago Aaron Ramsey would have walked into this spot, but his poor form in this season so far rules him out. Gundogan was being chased by some of Europe’s biggest clubs before his injury, and tomorrow night is a big test on his road to recovery. After having his career stall last year, due to a back injury, he has just recently come back from injury and showed glimpses of his old self. He could be deployed as a holding midfielder ahead of Sven Bender. Klopp would be wary of playing him the full 90, but his presence in that midfield will be a massive boost for Dortmund.

#10 Forward: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has filled the gap left by Robert Lewandowski well

The pacy Gabonese attacker is a real threat going forward and will look to run at the backline at every chance. He is good in the air as well and knows how to find the goal. Aubameyang is one of the fastest players in world football and he could easily use his pace to exploit the weak Arsenal backline and give them a headache. His mazy runs could provide the Dortmund midfield with a lot of options, and he could very well be a presence during corners owing to his height and strength. He is in red hot form this season.

#11 Forward: Daniel Welbeck

Daniel Welbeck
Daniel Welbeck has been a clever signing for Arsenal

Not the most brilliantly technical player around, but hard-working, clever and, this season so far, prolific. With Welbeck, Arsenal has their very own pacey player up front and another who likes to drive at the backline. Welbeck looks to stretch sides with his movement and he will be big for the home side today. His addition to the Arsenal squad has brought in an added dimension and getting those regular starts has helped him to improve and also play in his natural position, since his transfer from Manchester United. Also, Welbeck is in terrific Champions League form.

Edited by Staff Editor

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