Arsenal certainly face a mammoth task to progress when they line up against the European champions on Tuesday night but they will be reinvigorated having secured an FA Cup semi-final spot thanks to a controlled and disciplined performance against Everton at the weekend. With Wigan conquering Manchester City, the Gunners are now heavy favourites to secure their first major trophy in nine years – providing everyone at Emirates Stadium with a timely confidence boost.
Mesut Ozil looked back to his early-season best against The Toffees, and Arsene Wenger will need his record-summer signing firing on all cylinders if his side are to overcome Pep Guardiola’s German juggernaut that is steam-rolling their way to yet another league crown. After his crucial penalty miss in the first leg, the 25-year-old Turkish-born playmaker never really recovered and has since been rested by Wenger in the league, but his superb finish and equally as good assist for teammate Olivier Giroud on Saturday has given everyone in the red half of north London renewed belief of an upset in Munich.
A repeat of last season’s impressive second-leg performance would see the Gunners force extra-time at least, but their defensive unit – which has been the base of their success this season – will need to be on their guard if they’re to stop the attacking riches that the German champions possess. Since bringing an end to his year-long sabbatical to take charge of Jupp Heynckes’ treble-winning record breakers, Guardiola has overseen an unbeaten campaign in the league that will undoubtedly end with a second consecutive Bundesliga crown – they’re a staggering 23 points clear of second-placed Borussia Dortmund.
However, becoming the first team to ever defend the Champions League should be their number one priority and they have so far proven they have the desire and determination as well as an abundance of quality that makes European glory yet again a very realistic possibility. Arsenal will simply have to put on their best-ever display in the competition if they’re to progress to a first quarter-final since 2010.
KICK-OFF: Tuesday, 7.45pm
PAST THREE MEETINGS…
2014: Arsenal 0-2 Bayern Munich (Kroos, Muller)
2013: Bayern Munich 0-2 Arsenal (Giroud, Koscielny)
2013: Arsenal (Podolski) 1-3 Bayern Munich (Kroos, Muller, Mandzukic)
- Bayern Munich set a Bundesliga record this weekend when they beat Wolfsburg 6-1. It was their 16 straight win in the German league
- The German champions haven’t lost in the league for 16 months, a run of 49 matches
- Arsenal have met Bayern seven times in the Champions League, winning two, drawing one and losing four of them
- However, they won on their last visit to Munich – securing their first win over the Germans away from home
- Munich have not lost at home domestically since October 2012, but they lost their last encounter on home soil to English opposition when Manchester City came from two behind to win 3-2 in this year’s group stage
Bayern to win: 1.33
Arsenal to win: 10.5
Last season’s 2-0 triumph at the Allianz Arena may have signalled the end of Arsenal’s Champions League hopes for another season but the result and performance provided Arsene Wenger’s men with the impetus to kick on in the league and finish above bitter rivals Tottenham. Olivier Giroud gave the visitors the perfect start when he slotted home after just three minutes, but the German’s refused to panic and were relatively untroubled until Laurent Koscielny’s 85-minute header set up a grandstand finish. Sadly it wasn’t to be for the Gunners, but memories of that gutsy display will stand them in good stead for this week’s tie.
TV: Tuesday 7.45pm, ITV
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