Markus Babbel, the former Liverpool and Bayern Munich defender,claims that Arsenal will be no match for Bayern, and offered some backhanded complements for the Gunners' German contingent.
Babbel, who has been out of work since he was sacked as 1899 Hoffenheim manager in December 2012, says that Arsenal have not improved from last season, when they lost 3-3 on aggregate in the Champions League round of 16.
Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger said that Arsenal were in a "better shape" than last year, but Babbel replied in Munich newspaper Muncher Merkur that the Champions league holders "won't have any problems" in taking care of the Premier League side.
"They are not better than last year and have many injuries," Babbel, who joined Liverpool from Bayern Munich in 2000, said. "If Bayern remain concentrated, Arsenal will not be problem. You see it in the Premier League: against the big teams they often lose."
Of Arsenal's German players, Babbel said he was surprised of the success that Lukas Podolski has had in England, as he was "too lazy" when he played in Germany.
"[Podolski] surprises me," said the 41-year-old. "I haven't given him the credit he deserves for the success he's had in England.
"Honestly, I thought he was too lazy at Bayern Munich and Koln, but he has emerged. When he is on the pitch, he is on fire."
Arsenal v Bayern Munich: The 10 most dangerous Bayern Munich players
Arsenal v Bayern Munich: The 10 most dangerous Bayern Munich players
1/10 Arjen Robben
The Dutch winger scored the vital goal to secure Bayern’s fifth Champions League title in the final last year. Robben’s last minute goal against Borussia Dortmund at Wembley capped an amazing year for the winger and his club. This season the former Chelsea man has been plagued with niggling injures but still managed to notch up 15 goals in all competitions. His pace and trickery will be no surprise to English fans after his three-year stint at Stamford Bridge and Robben scored the last time he faced Arsenal at their stadium, in a 2-0 win at Highbury in 2005.
Games: 24 Goals: 15 Assists: 6 (season stats across all competitions)
2/10 Mario Gotze
Germany’s young star has made an impressive start since switching from Dortmund to Bayern last summer. Gotze has scored three times in the Champions League this year and will be pushing to make a starting place his own with some key injures in the Bayern squad. The 21-year-old already has 26 caps and six goals for Germany to his name and is definitely a player that Bayern, and the national side, will look to build their future around. Arsenal will need to keep tabs on him especially with he’s capability to pop up anywhere across midfield and attack and interchange positions with ease.
Games: 26 Goals: 10 Assists: 6
3/10 Thomas Muller
Muller is another player who needs no introduction to English fans after his two goals helped Germany to a 4-1 win to knock England out of the 2010 World Cup. He also scored in last year’s Champions League tie with Arsenal on the way to Bayern’s 3-1 win at the Emirates, a result Arsenal would be unable to turn around in the second leg. Muller is a fantastic player and perhaps one of the most underrated in world football. The 24-year-old is having a fine season, scoring 17 in 30 games and will be a key man that Arsenal have to keep quiet if they are to get anything out of Wednesday’s game.
Games: 30 Goals: 17 Assists: 8
4/10 Mario Mandzukic
It looks likely that Mandzukic’s place as the spear head of Bayern’s attack will end when Robert Lewandowski comes in for the start of next season but for now at least, the Croatian international is providing plenty of fire power up top. He has 18 goals from 30 appearances this year, scored the third goal in Bayern’s 3-1 win over Arsenal last season and scored the opening goal in Bayern’s victory in the final. Mandzukic is always good for a goal in big games and it could be said that he has been treated a touch unfairly by the German champions. Strong, quick and good in the air, Arsenal will need to keep a very close eye on him.
Games: 30 Goals: 18 Assists: 4
5/10 Toni Kroos
Seemingly on his way out of Bayern when the summer comes round, Kroos may well be starting from the bench against Arsenal. Nevertheless, he is a fine player that can change a game in a heartbeat with his pin-point accuracy in both passing and scoring. Despite rumours of a possible switch to the Gunners or Manchester United when the transfer window reopens, Kroos has still played 30 games this season. The 24-year-old slammed home an exquisite volley to open the scoring when the two sides met at the same stage of the Champions League last year.
Games: 30 Goals: 1 Assists: 5
6/10 Bastian Schweinsteiger
Bastian Schweinsteiger is a legend of the Bayern team with over 450 appearances for the club and counting. Now playing in a deeper role, the 29-year-old is able to dictate and run games with ease. He has had some injury problems this year but made his comeback after a few weeks out in Bayern’s last game, playing the last half hour of their 4-0 victory over Freiburg on Saturday and should be fit to face Arsenal. He recently notched up his century of caps for Germany and whoever plays in the centre of midfield for Arsenal will have their hands full trying to contain or get past him.
Games: 19 Goals: 2 Assists: 1
7/10 Philipp Lahm
One of the best and most consistent full-backs over the last decade, Pep Guardiola is now deploying Philipp Lahm as a defensive midfielder and reaping the benefits. Bayern’s captain has played in every one of his club’s game this season and showed all of his usual composure and quality in abundance. Lahm finally lifted the Champions League trophy last year after twice being on the losing side back in 2010 and again 2012, he will, of course, be hoping to do that same again this year.
Games: 33 Goals: 1 Assists: 3
8/10 David Alaba
David Alaba will be sorely missed on the World Cup stage in Brazil this summer after his native Austria failed to qualify. He will be hoping to have as much success as possible with Bayern to make up for that fact and is certainly going the right way about it. Alaba has covered the most ground of any player in the top teams still in the competition, having notched up just under 70,000 metres during the six group games. A determined and marauding left back, Alaba flies up and down the touch line and can strike a superb free-kick as CSKA Moscow and Viktoria Plzen can testify to after the 21-year-old’s fantastic strikes during the group stage. Arsenal will need to deal with his seemingly boundless energy and avoid giving away too many free-kicks within shooting range. Games: 29 Goals: 3 Assists: 5
Much of the German champion’s recent success has been based on a solid, uncompromising defence and at the heart of it is the Brazilian Dante. After being signed from Borussia Monchengladbach in 2012, Dante has cemented a centre back place at Bayern and has become one of the best defenders in the world. He is still in the fledgling stage of his international career but sure to be a big player during the World Cup this summer. Arsenal’s Oliver Giroud will be in for a tough night on Wednesday and if he can get the better of Dante, than Arsenal stand a chance.
Games: 30 Goals: 4 Assists: 3
10/10 Manuel Neuer
With all the attacking power and skill that Bayern process, it’s easy to forget about their defensive excellence. Neuer has been widely regarded as the best goalkeeper in the world over the past few years and even if Arsenal can get past the other 10 Bayern players, they still have Neuer to beat. The 27-year-old has kept 17 clean sheets from 31 games this year in all competitions, including three in the Champions League and has only conceding twice since Bayern played Manchester City back in December.
Games: 31 Clean Sheets: 17
Babbel added that the defender Per Mertesacker was "not exactly brilliant" when in his first matches for the Gunners after he joined in 2011, but did admit that he has worked hard and improved.
"Mertesacker is held in unbelievably high esteem at Arsenal because he fights for his spot in the team," he added.
"At the beginning, his performance were not exactly brilliant. But he never gave up. That impresses British fans."
On Mesut Ozil, the Gunners club-record £42m signing, Babbel says that he "still needs to work on his physicality" to be a success in the Premier League.Reuse content