The Arsenal manager, Arsène Wenger, has called on his side to believe the impossible dream when they face Bayern Munich on Wednesday night. The runaway Bundesliga leaders have one foot in the quarter-finals of the Champions League after their 3-1 win in London three weeks ago but will be without injured winger Franck Ribéry and the suspended Bastian Schweinsteiger and Jérôme Boateng.
Wenger has challenged his beleaguered squad – who look set for another campaign without a trophy and face a battle to get back into the top four of the Premier League following last weekend's defeat at Tottenham – to rise to the occasion at the Allianz Arena.
"There have been a few wins by Arsenal in the Champions League that we are all very proud of. We just have to convince ourselves that we can do it in Munich as well," he said. "Yes, the chance is small, but the chance makes the impossible possible. That would be a great credit for our team if we do it. We have to try to achieve it."
Bayern took full advantage of poor Arsenal defending at the Emirates Stadium to establish a commanding lead after the first leg. Ribéry was ruled out of the second leg today after pulling ligaments in his left ankle during Bayern's 3-2 league win against Fortuna Düsseldorf on Saturday and will join Germany internationals Schweinsteiger and Boateng on the sidelines in Munich.
Yet although the odds of turning round the tie are tacked against Arsenal, Wenger added: "Our mentality is to go there, not resigned, but ambitious and provoke things, not go there and think, 'We will not qualify anyway'. No, not at all.
"We have to try to put Bayern on the back foot. Subconsciously anyway, they think they are through and we have to subconsciously think that we can do it. The only way to do it is to have a very positive attitude from the start."