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Dublin: 16 °C Monday 1 September, 2014

4 things to look out for in tonight’s Champions League games

Arsenal face a tough prospect in Borussia Dortmund while Celtic need a win at home to Ajax.

Robert Lewandowski is sent flying from a challenge by Arsenal's Thomas Vermaelen when the sides last met in 2011.
Robert Lewandowski is sent flying from a challenge by Arsenal's Thomas Vermaelen when the sides last met in 2011.
Image: Tony Marshall/EMPICS Sport

1. Can Gunners keep up fine run?

PREMIER LEAGUE LEADERS Arsenal welcome last year’s Champions League finalists Borussia Dortmund to the Emirates for the first of two back-to-back meetings.

The Gunners, who ripped apart Norwich in a 4-1 win on Saturday, top Group F having gained maximum points in games with Napoli and Marseille. Their German opponents went down to Napoli on Matchday 1 but bounced back by beating Marseille and also sit second in the Bundesliga — a point off Bayern Munich.

When these sides met back in 2011, it was two current Manchester United players on the scoresheet as Robin van Persie bagged two before Shinji Kagawa’s consolation.

2. Chelsea eye top spot

Chelsea are in Gelsenkirchen tonight as they attempt to draw level with Schalke at the top of Group E. Jose Mourinho’s men surprisingly dropped three points in their opening game at home to Basel but ran out comfortable 4-0 winners against Steaua Bucharest.

Schalke hold a 100% record in the competition so far but without a host of players including Klass-Jan Huntelaar, Jefferson Farfan, Kyriakos Papapdopoulos and Marco Hoeger, will be relying on former Spurs midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng and 20-year-old sensation Julian Draxler to come up with the goods.

3. Make-or-break for Celtic

After losing out to Barcelona and AC Milan, Celtic know a win at home to Ajax is vital if they are to have any hope of making the last 16.

Dutch outfit Ajax, currently managed by former Rangers defender Frank de Boer, were thumped 4-0 by Barcelona but managed to earn a 1-1 draw with the Rossoneri last time out.

“We can’t lose it, put it that way,” said Hoops boss Neil Lennon.

We are four points worse off in the group than we were at this stage last season. We have a bit of work to do. Home form is important to us, but Ajax are a very good side.

“They will give us plenty to think about, plenty of problems. But we are at home and I think we will be confident enough to take the game to them.”

4. Milan look to upset Barca

Elsewhere in Group H, two traditional European heavyweights face off at the San Siro. Sitting first and second and favourites to progress to the knockout stages, AC Milan host Barcelona with the thoughts of last season’s defeat still fresh in their minds.

Despite winning 2-0 in the first leg of the last 16, the Serie A giants wet down 4-0 at the Camp Nou to go out of the competition. And while their league form has been far from perfect this term, they earned a 1-0 win over Udinese on the weekend and could welcome back Mario Balotelli from injury while Kaka could feature after returning.

Barca, meanwhile, failed to score in La Liga for the first time since January 2012 after being held to a 0-0 draw with Osasuna.

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