Football News

Champions League Group B preview: Schalke in Gunners' sights

Created on 23 Oct., 2012 2:50 PM GMT

Arsenal will be looking to continue their impressive start to the Champions League when they take on Schalke at the Emirates on Wednesday.

The Gunners are yet to taste defeat in Group B after enjoying wins over Montpellier and Olympiakos in their opening two games but will face a stern test from a Schalke side who are also unbeaten in the competition.

The Bundesliga club opened their campaign with an impressive 2-1 away win over Olympiakos before a late goal in their 2-2 home draw with Montpellier prevented them from joining Arsenal at the top of Group B.

Arsenal have gone unbeaten in their last-16 Champions League home games but looked far from promising in their 1-0 loss away to Norwich in the Premier League on the weekend.

Schalke's recent form will also be of concern for the Gunners, with Huub Stevens' side impressing in their 2-1 win away win over reigning Bundesliga champions Borussia Dortmund on Sunday.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is backing his players to respond from their poor showing in Norwich but has conceded that it will be a difficult task against a Schalke side who will be full of confidence heading into Wednesday's game.

"I don't doubt the character and the fight of my players. But you wonder, were we mentally ready to face a game like that? How do we respond? Hopefully with a good performance," he told reporters.

"That was a great result for them in Dortmund. We'll see."

Wenger will be comforted by the form of forward Lukas Podolski so far this season, with two of the German's four goals coming in the Champions League.

In the group's other game, Montpellier will be hoping to add to the misery of Olympiakos when they face the Greek side at the Stade de la Mosson.

The French side registered their first point in the competition after a hard-fought 2-2 draw with Schalke on matchday two and will be hoping to leave the point-less Greek side rooted to the bottom of the table with a win.

However, Rene Girard's men will be concerned with their recent form after going down 2-1 to Rennes in Ligue 1 on Sunday in what was their fifth loss of the season. In contrast, Olympiakos are on top of the Greek Super League table and will be full of confidence after their 4-0 win over Xanthi on the weekend.

The match will be the first time Montpellier have faced Greek opposition, with the game representing Olympiakos' fifth on French soil, their most recent being a 1-0 win over Marseille in last season's group stage which ended a run of seven-successive defeats to French sides.

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