Wenger's ruined birthday

2013-10-23 08:38

London – Birthday greetings? Bottle of wine? The Beatles classic had a hollow ring for Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger yesterday as Borussia Dortmund handed out a Champions League reality check on the day he turned 64.

Robert Lewandowskiss late volleyed winner earned Dortmund a 2-1 victory at a rain-soaked Emirates Stadium to throw Group F wide open, just when Arsenal seemed capable of cruising through to the last 16 from a formidable section.

Without reproducing the scintillating form of recent weeks, Arsenal were set for a point after Olivier Giroud cancelled out Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s opener just before halftime but Lewandowski’s composed 82nd minute strike condemned Arsenal to a third home defeat in a row against German opposition.

It ended a 12-match unbeaten run in all competitions for the Londoners and left Wenger’s side tied on six points with last year’s European Cup runners-up Dortmund and Napoli and a daunting looking away game to come in Germany in two weeks.

‘We were not as good as we can be offensively and some of the players tonight were not as fresh as recently,’ Wenger told reporters. ‘If you can’t win games you mustn’t lose them.

‘In the second half we were on top, but if you concede two goals you can only say we have to look at ourselves at not being mature enough in situations like that.

‘It’s tight now and difficult for us. But possible,” added Wenger whose side will need points from their away games in Dortmund and Napoli to reach the knockout rounds.

Wenger was tearing his hair out after both Dortmund goals and he even got some sympathy from Dortmund coach Juergen Klopp, who watched the match from the stands as he completed a two-match UEFA ban for his rant during their defeat by Napoli.

“I’m sorry, really!’ he said when asked if he felt bad about ruining Wenger’s birthday.

“It’s a problem with the date. My birthday is in June when there are no football matches and I’m always on holiday.”

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