DORTMUND, Germany (AFP) – Italian striker Ciro Immobile scored his first goal for Borussia Dortmund as the German side produced a dominant performance to outclass Arsenal 2-0 in their Champions League opening group game in Dortmund on Tuesday.
Gabonese striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang added another early in the second half to help Dortmund to a fully deserved 2-0 win in their Group D clash.
Arsenal had won in Dortmund in the group stage last season but they were always on the back foot against a relentless home team.
Jurgen Klopp’s side had 15 attempts on goal in the first half alone although they were far from clinical until Immobile struck on the stroke of half-time.
Aubameyang then rounded Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny to kill off any hopes of an unlikely comeback on a punishing night for the Gunners.
“We wanted to implement a full pressing game on the pitch and it was close to perfection,” Dortmund manager Klopp said.
“A few scenes will live long in the memory. We were biting and determined.
“Ciro Immobile played really well and has taken a real leap forward. He really wanted to get that goal.”
Arsenal’s Spanish midfielder Mikel Arteta said that once they were behind it was too tough a task to get back into the match.
“We faced a top side at one of the toughest stadiums in Europe,” he told Sky Sports.
“After you go 1-0 down here it is difficult to recover.
“They have a lot of pace up front…and we gave the ball away too many times. They took the game where they wanted to take it.”
Arsenal had travelled to Dortmund for the third time in four years without suspended right-back Mathieu Debuchy. As a result Hector Bellerin was given his first start, while Danny Welbeck was on his own up front in his first Champions League game for Arsene Wenger’s team.
Dortmund were without six senior players through injury, including the likes of Marco Reus and Mats Hummels, but it hardly looked that way as they started the game at a furious pace.
There was a scare for the visitors in the fifth minute when Henrikh Mkhitaryan cut by Mikel Arteta and fell to the ground inside the box. But instead of winning a penalty, the Armenian midfielder was booked for simulation.
Dortmund continued to dominate, with Sokratis Papastathopoulos poking wide from a corner and Immobile shooting off target.
Approaching the half hour, Szczesny was well placed to save when a brilliant Dortmund move ended with Aubameyang failing to touch in Kevin Grosskreutz’s low cross from six yards out.