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Oct 21, 2013

Ozil demands focus against Dortmund

Mesut Ozil has warned Arsenal against complacency ahead of their Champions League meeting with Borussia Dortmund.

• Cross: Sublime strikes fire Gunners to victory

Arsenal have made a strong start to Group F, winning their opening two matches versus Marseille and Napoli.

The Gunners host Dortmund at Emirates Stadium on Tuesday, and Ozil is demanding a fully focused performance from his teammates.

"We have a good starting position, but the job is not done yet," the summer signing from Real Madrid told kicker.

“Arsenal has shown their strength in the past, and now we have ripened. We are aware of our class. If we can show that, we could have nine points after three games.”

While still at Real, Ozil, 25, played against Dortmund four times during the 2012-13 Champions League campaign.

The Germany international finished the group behind Dortmund after they beat Madrid at home and drew 2-2 at the Bernabeu in the reverse fixture. In the latter game, Ozil scored a last-gasp equaliser with a free kick.

Despite a 2-0 comeback in the second leg of the semifinal, Real could not prevent the all-German final following Dortmund's 4-1 in the first leg at the Westfalenstadion.

Regardless of being on the end of negative results, Ozil said he is looking forward to the two meetings against Juergen Klopp's side.

"Two reasons. Firstly: A lot of good friends of mine play in the Dortmund team. I look forward to meeting them in Champions League," Ozil said.

"Secondly: Even if it did not run perfectly for Real against Dortmund, I scored or set up a goal in nearly every game against a German side, that gives me a good feeling. Moreover, we play the first game in London. That's an advantage."

At the weekend, Dortmund took all three points against Hannover, but were not at their best after players including Nuri Sahin, Sven Bender and Marco Reus returned to the pitch having missed most of the training sessions during the international break.

"This game will help us with regard to Tuesday, especially those players who only had two training sessions before the Hannover game. That's why we will have taken another step forward when we play Arsenal,” Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp, who is banned from the touchline on Tuesday, said.

Klopp added that Dortmund now "need to shake off the fatigue and take a deep breath." Once Dortmund have done that, they will shift their focus toward Arsenal, who beat Norwich 4-1 at the weekend.

"They played Norwich and not Borussia Dortmund," Sahin told reporters on Saturday, while goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller added: "Do we fear Arsenal? Absolutely not. This will be a different match than the Hannover game. We'll shift into Champions League modus."

Germany international Bender added that he is looking forward to playing Ozil. "Generally speaking I get kicks out of playing such world class players. Those are real challenges, which are great fun for me," Bender told Bild. "But Mesut is so outstanding, I will not be able to stop him on my own.

"He’s got such an individual class, that I under guarantee will not win every one-on-one situation. We can only successfully stop him, if we double him and close the door for his passes."

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