German striker Lukas Podolski returns home for a clash with Schalke 04. Image courtesy of news.com.au/Claude Paris/AP
Prior to the visit of FC Schalke 04 last month, Arsenal had gone 45 straight home matches against non-English opposition without a loss in the UEFA Champions League. 90 minutes later and that run was brought to a screeching halt in a 2-0 defeat thanks to goals from Klaas-Jas Huntelaar and Ibrahim Afellay.
Schalke now leads Group B by one point from the Londoners, with Olympiakos and Montpellier bringing up the rear. The return bout in Gelsenkirchen should be a tough task for the Gunners, with the Germans having lost just two of their last 12 home matches in the Champions League. That record is tempered, somewhat, by the fact they have lost their last two at Veltins-Arena against English sides. They went down 2-0 to both Manchester United in the 2010/11Champions League semi-finals, as well as Manchester City in the 2008/09 UEFA Cup group stage.
Arsenal paid one visit to Germany last season, drawing 1-1 with Borussia Dortmund. The club’s record in the country overall is three wins, three draws and five losses from eleven matches.
It’s hard to knock Schalke’s attacking record this season. In the Champions League it has scored two goals in all three matches this campaign, and in the Bundesliga, it has scored two or more times in eight of ten appearances, so it’s hard to see them not getting on the scoreboard . Arsene Wenger’s outfit is solid at the back, though, having conceded just eight goals in ten Premier League fixtures, and two of those came in last Sunday’s 2-1 loss to the Red Devils at Old Trafford.
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