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Champions League Group B preview: Tough task for Arsenal at Schalke

Schalke will be hoping to extend their lead on top of Group B when they host Arsenal at the Veltins-Arena on Tuesday.

The German outfit are currently one point ahead of the Gunners after their 2-0 victory at the Emirates on matchday three and victory in Gelsenkirchen will go a long way to ensure qualification into the knockout round for the second time in three seasons.

Huub Stevens’ men are currently second on the Bundesliga table and despite suffering a last-minute defeat to Hoffenheim on the weekend they have been in good form over the past month, winning six of their last seven matches.

Dutch striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar has looked particularly dangerous for his side so far this season with the 29-year-old scoring in each of Schalke’s three Champions League fixtures.

In contrast to their opponents, Arsenal have endured an indifferent start to the season with Arsene Wenger’s men losing to Manchester United 2-1 on Saturday in a game where they created little going forward.

Tuesday’s game could spell the return to European football for midfielder Jack Wilshere after a long spell out with injury.

Wenger is likely to deploy the 20-year-old against Schalke after he was red-carded against United which will see him miss Arsenal’s next Premier League game against Fulham.

Theo Walcott will also be hoping for a return to the starting line-up after he was left out on the weekend despite scoring a hat-trick in Arsenal’s 7-5 win over Reading in the Capital One Cup last week.

The England international missed the home fixture against Schalke due to a chest injury.

In the group’s other game, bottom-placed Montpellier travel to Greece to take on Olympiakos in desperate need of a win to keep their ailing Champions League campaign alive.

The French side are yet to win in this year’s competition, with their only point coming in a 2-2 draw with Schalke on matchday two, and require victory over the Greeks to give them any chance of progressing to the next stage.

Rene Girard’s men currently sit a disappointing 14th on the Ligue 1 table and will go into the game off the back of a 1-1 draw with lowly Troyes.

They will come up against an Olympiakos side that are three points behind Arsenal following their 2-1 win over Montpellier on matchday three.

Leonardo Jardim’s side are undefeated in the Super League this season, scoring an ominous 22 goals from their nine games with Algerian striker Rafik Djebbour netting eight of them.

However, the home side are yet to beat a French side in Greece after four attempts and will be hoping to reverse this trend as they seek a win that will keep them in the hunt of a top-two finish and qualification into the round of 16 for the first time since the 2009/10 season.

Mon 5 November, 2012
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