Bayern Munich vs Arsenal Preview: Gunners hoping for first quarter-final since 2010

Bayern Munich vs Arsenal Preview: Gunners hoping for first quarter-final since 2010

Arsenal take on German giants Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena on Wednesday night in the first leg of their Champions League Last 16 tie.

Matthew Sheppard

Arsenal face another mammoth task to do finally progress beyond the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League as they do battle with Bayern Munich for the fourth time in the past five seasons.

Arsene Wenger will be boosted by the fact that the second leg is at the Emirates thanks to Arsenal topping their group for the first time since 2011. Though, on their last visit to the Allianz back in November 2015, the Gunners took a 5-1 battering.

Bayern Munich failed to top their group for the first time since 2009, as last season’s runners-up, Atletico Madrid, pipped the Germans to top spot.

The Germans, though, are formidable at home and Arsenal will need to be at their very best to get any sort of positive result on Wednesday evening.

Not the perfect time to be playing Bayern for Arsenal?

It is yet another daunting last 16 tie for Arsenal, having faced either Bayern or Barcelona in three of their last four games when at this stage. The Gunners are very much under pressure to deliver this time round, as the Premier League title looks out of their reach for another season.

Arsenal’s form is a real worry heading into this crucial tie, with the Gunners recently losing back-to-back games in the league to Watford and Chelsea respectively, before recording an unconvincing 2-0 home win over Hull City on Saturday.

The form of star man Mesut Ozil will be a major concern for Arsene Wenger too, as the German has looked almost ‘invisible’ since the turn of the new year, with reports suggesting that the Frenchman may drop the German superstar.

(Image by Getty Images/David Price)
(Image by Getty Images/David Price)

Wenger can always call on the ever reliable Alexis Sanchez, after the Chilean netted another brace at the weekend in that 2-0 win over Hull to take his tally to 17 in the Premier League this season, making him the top scorer.

Can Arsenal finally get past Bayern?

The German side may be going through a new transition under the reigns of Carlo Ancelotti, but they still boast a ray of world class talent over at the Allianz.

Arsenal will have to be particularly aware of the deadly Robert Lewandowski on Wednesday night. The Polish international has scored twice in his last four appearances against the Gunners and will be looking to add to that tally when they meet again.

Wenger's side will take hope that this is not the same Bayern Munich from years gone by. The likes of Thomas Muller and Douglas Costa have had very poor seasons so far by their standards, with Muller only registering the single goal in the league this season.

(Image by Getty Images/Anadolu Agency)
(Image by Getty Images/Anadolu Agency)

Bayern Munich are very much beatable, and Arsenal showed that in the group stages last season when they recorded a famous 2-0 win at the Emirates. They will have to put in that sort of performance again if they’re to shock the German giants once more.

Team News

Arsene Wenger has no new injury concerns ahead of the trip to Germany. There has been a lot of talk of whether Mesut Ozil will start at the Allianz after reports suggested that the German could be dropped after a run of disappointing performances.

Arsenal will welcome back Granit Xhaka after the Swiss international missed the last four games through suspension and Arsene Wenger himself will also be back from a ban himself after serving his four-game touchline ban.

David Ospina is expected to carry on his role as ‘cup keeper’, after playing every game of the group stage.

As for Bayern, they have a few injury concerns of their own. Both Jerome Boateng and Franck Ribery will miss the clash on Wednesday night through injury.

There are also doubts over the fitness of key midfielder Xabi Alonso after the Spaniard limped out of training on Monday afternoon. The overall feeling from the Bayern camp is that Alonso should be fine to play on Wednesday.