Dortmund needs win to be secure in Group F
Borussia Dortmund needs to beat Marseille to be sure of
advancing from Group F of the Champions League.
A draw would be enough if Napoli fails to win at home against
group leader Arsenal.
Dortmund can even afford to lose – if Napoli does the same.
Three teams could finish with 12 points – meaning that for the
first time a side with 12 points would be eliminated.
Here are five things to know ahead of Wednesday’s matches:
Borussia Dortmund has more injury problems with nearly every
The 1-0 loss to Bayer Leverkusen was made worse by the injuries
to Sven Bender and Nuri Sahin, both of whom sustained right-ankle
injuries. Bender has been ruled out of the match in Marseille and
Sahin is highly doubtful.
”We want to spend the winter in the Champions League and that’s
how we’ll approach the match. We are not going to lament,”
Dortmund coach Juergen Klopp said.
Neven Subotic, Mats Hummels, Marcel Schmelzer, Ilkay Gundogan
and Bender are all out and defender Manuel Friedrich is ineligible
for the Champions League.
Napoli desperately needs some help from Marseille if it wants to
The Italian club can take matters into its own hands if it beats
Arsenal by three goals, but that seems unlikely against the Premier
League leaders. Otherwise, Napoli needs to beat Arsenal by a
smaller margin and hope Marseille holds Dortmund to at least a
draw, or draw with Arsenal and hope Marseille wins.
”We have the advantage of playing at home and we need to
perform at our maximum,” Napoli fullback Christian Maggio said.
”Of course we’ll wait to see how it goes in Marseille but first of
all we’ve got to worry about ourselves.”
Making matters more difficult for Napoli is that captain Marek
Hamsik is out with a bruised foot.
Napoli fans have been warned to behave properly because UEFA has
placed the club under probation for fireworks use and the next
violation could result in a stadium ban.
No French club has ever finished the group stage of the
Champions League with zero points. Marseille could become the first
one to achieve that unenviable feat if it loses to Dortmund.
Marseille has nothing to play for but pride. Beating last
season’s runner-up will be a tough mission though. Marseille will
miss France playmaker Mathieu Valbuena and Ghana winger Andre Ayew
through injury as well as Cameroon defender Nicolas Nkoulou and
Togo midfielder Alaixys Romao through suspension.
The 1993 European champions did not have the best preparation
for Wednesday’s match. They lost to Nantes 1-0 in the French league
on Friday. The club’s poor run of form led to coach Elie Baup’s
dismissal the following day.
”I hope this loss will open our eyes,” Marseille defender
Souleymane Diawara said Friday, ”because if we continue that way,
we are going to crash into the wall.”
Sporting director Jose Anigo has taken on coaching duties until
the winter break.
Besides leading its Champions League group, Arsenal is also in
the ascendancy domestically, leading the Premier League by five
points despite being held to a 1-1 draw by Everton on Sunday.
”When we play to our peak, I think we can beat anyone so it is
important that we go and do that on Wednesday,” Arsenal defender
Carl Jenkinson said. ”It is going to be a tough game. They are
going to be battling because they want to qualify just as much as
”But we will work hard and go out there with the confidence
that we have from our recent results and hopefully come back with
the result we want.”
LOOKING FOR LEWANDOWSKI
Robert Lewandowski has scored only three goals so far in this
campaign, but two came in Dortmund’s 3-0 home win over
Lewandowski is one of the few healthy players from the Dortmund
side that lost twice to Marseille in the 2011-12 group stage.
”It’s a decisive game but we are going to make it,”
Lewandowski leads the Bundesliga with 11 goals but he has
underperformed in the Champions League and Dortmund will need his
goals to advance.
Lewandowski is widely expected to leave Dortmund at the end of
the season, with most reports linking him with Bayern Munich.