Arsenal v Bayern Munich: Arsene Wenger says Gunners lacked 'belief' when they were knocked out of Champions League last season

The Arsenal manager is confident his side can avoid being knocked out of Europe's elite competition by Bayern this time around

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The Independent Football

Arsene Wenger and Jack Wilshere believe that Arsenal's improved form this season will enable them to improve on last year's defeat by Bayern Munich at the same stage of the Champions League.

After winning 3-1 at the Emirates, Bayern held on to go through on away goals despite losing their home leg 2-0 and eventually won the trophy in the Wembley final against fellow Germans Borussia Dortmund. Before that home leg, however, Arsenal were only fifth in the League and had just lost at the Emirates to Blackburn in the FA Cup.

"We're in a much better mental shape than a year ago," Wenger said at the training ground today.

"We had just lost to Blackburn but this time we won [against Liverpool on Sunday]. We were too nervous and maybe wanted to equalise too much and conceded on the counter-attack. With a 2-1 [defeat] we might have made it."

Wilshere, who will come back into the team for the suspended Mikel Arteta, agreed that nerves had played a part last time. "There was a lot of tension in the stadium," he said. "Their third goal was a lucky one which killed us a little bit."

Wenger accepted that "we have not always had the belief in the past which is built by results."

Having recovered from the 5-1 mauling at Anfield to knock Liverpool out of the FA Cup he is counting on renewed confidence to help in tomorrow night's home leg. And the manager also believes that having tough games every week, as opposed to the frequently one-sided encounters Bayern enjoyed in Germany this season can be an advantage.

"Every single game we've had to be 100 per cent," he added. 

Bayern are on a remarkable run of only one defeat in their past 34 games, by Manchester City after leading 2-0 in 12 minutes, when they had already won their Champions League group. They will be without Franck Ribery and Xherdan Shaqiri, while Arsenal have no new injury concenrs.