Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has admitted that his team are under pressure to beat having jeopardised their Group G prospects by taking just one point from their last two matches.
“There is as much pressure on us as there can be before a match,” Wenger said.
“We need to win our last two games to finish top, and we have a good opportunity to get one of those wins at home to Hamburg.”
Arsenal’s precarious position can be attributed to lax finishing in their previous game against CSKA. Failing to convert chances at their new Emirates Stadium is becoming a recurring theme for Wenger’s side.
“We create a lot of chances and we want to convert as many as possible,” he said. “But wanting is not always enough. The players need to be relaxed and focused, then usually the rest will come.”
“Ideally we want to score first but we must be more dynamic than we were in the first half against Newcastle.”
Arsenal’s will be without William Gallas who injured his thigh in training, meaning either Philippe Senderos or Johan Djourou will start tonight.
“It’s a big blow because William stabilises our defence,” Wenger said.
Tomáš Rosický is also out with a hamstring strain, but Robin van Persie, Fredrik Ljungberg and Gilberto are available.
Hamburg coach Thomas Doll has a number of injury concerns Defender René Klingbeil and forward José Paolo Guerrero joining long-term casualties Juan Pablo Sorín, Guy Demel, Vincent Kompany and Nigel de Jong on the sidelines.
Nonetheless, Doll is upbeat about his side’s chances, saying: “We’ve brought an excellent group of players with us to London and we’re determined to give a good account of ourselves.”
Four successive defeats have left Hamburg the bottom of the group, with nothing but pride to play for in their remaining games
“We’re already out which means we can play with freedom and put Arsenal under pressure,” Doll said, in an attempt to find a positive slant on his side’s predicament.
“We need confidence and if we play well and get a good result it could have positive repercussions.
Jens Lehmann; Emmanuel Eboué, Philippe Senderos/Johan Djourou, Kolo Touré, Gaël Clichy; Gilberto; Aleksandr Hleb, Cesc Fabregas, Fredrik Ljungberg, Robin van Persie; Thierry Henry.
Stefan Wächter; Mario Fillinger, Joris Mathijsen, Bastian Reinhardt, Thimothée Atouba; David Jarolím, Piotr Trochowski, Raphael Wicky; Rafael van der Vaart; Boubacar Sanogo, Danijel Ljuboja.