Champions League Preview: Bayern Munich vs Arsenal

Bayern intend to make home advantage tell against an Arsenal team who, having bowed out in the round of 16 for six seasons running, now need to break with recent history in order to survive.

Arsenal have not been past the round of 16 since 2009/10; to end that run they must overcome familiar opponents FC Bayern München, who have beaten the Gunners at this stage twice in recent years, in 2013 and 2014.



The teams have met 10 times, all since 2000/01. The German club have won five of those games and the English side three, with Bayern knocking out Arsenal in the round of 16 in 2004/05, 2012/13 and 2013/14.

In last term’s group stage, Arsenal overcome Bayern 2-0 in north London thanks to goals from Olivier Giroud and Mesut Özil.

However, the German team triumphed 5-1 back in Munich with Thomas Müller (2), David Alaba and Arjen Robben on the scoresheet. Giroud again scored for Arsenal.

The line-ups in Munich on 4 November 2015 were:

Bayern: Neuer, Lahm, Boateng (Benatia 68), Javi Martínez, Alaba, Xabi Alonso, Thiago, Müller, Douglas Costa, Coman (Robben 54), Lewandowski (Vidal 71).

Arsenal: Cech, Debuchy, Mertesacker, Gabriel, Monreal, Santi Cazorla (Chambers 87), Coquelin, Campbell (Gibbs 59), Özil, Alexis Sánchez, Giroud (Iwobi 85).

Arsenal drew 1-1 at the Fußball Arena München in the 2013/14 round of 16 second leg when Lukas Podolski, returning to his former club, equalised within two minutes of Bastian Schweinsteiger putting the hosts ahead. Arsenal went out of the competition having lost 2-0 at home, with Müller once more on target.

The line-ups in Munich on 11 March 2014 were:

Bayern: Neuer, Lahm, Javi Martínez, Dante, Alaba, Robben, Schweinsteiger, Thiago, Ribéry (Müller 85), Götze (Kroos 59), Mandžukic.

Arsenal: Fabianski, Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Vermaelen, Arteta (Gnabry 77), Özil (Rosický 46), Cazorla, Podolski, Oxlade-Chamberlain (Flamini 84), Giroud.

At the same stage of the previous season the Gunners won 2-0 in Germany, Giroud and Laurent Koscielny finding the net. They exited on away goals having lost 3-1 at home where Müller again scored.

The other two meetings in Bavaria both resulted in Bayern victories, in the 2004/05 round of 16 (3-1) and the 2000/01 second group stage (1-0).

 

Bayern

This is Bayern’s 17th encounter with English opponents in the last five seasons. They have won the last three such home games but previously had not prevailed in four in Bavaria, including the 2012 final defeat on penalties by Chelsea FC.

Bayern’s overall home record against English teams is W13 D6 L3.

Under Josep Guardiola, Bayern were losing Uefa Champions League semifinalists in each of the last three campaigns, beaten on away goals by Club Atlético de Madrid last term.

At this stage a year ago, Bayern progressed against Juventus (2-2 a, 4-2 aet h). They last lost in the round of 16 in 2010/11 when FC Internazionale Milano prevailed on away goals (0-1 h, 3-2 a).

Bayern have posted 15 straight home wins in the Uefa Champions League – a competition best – including three this season.

Arsenal

The Gunners finished top of Group A, two points ahead of Paris Saint-Germain, staying unbeaten away from home (W2 D1). They also avoided defeat at home and the last time they won their group unbeaten (2005/06), they went on to reach the final.

In each of the last six seasons Arsenal have fallen in the round of 16, going down 5-1 on aggregate to FC Barcelona in 2015/16 (0-2 h, 1-3 a).

Arsenal have lost three of their last seven European away matches; before that they had met defeat only twice in 11 games on the road.

In Germany they have lost two matches and drawn one on their last three visits; in the five before that they won three and drew two.

Their record against German clubs away from home is W5 D5 L7; overall it is W16 D6 L12.

With AC Sparta Praha, Chelsea and Arsenal, Petr Cech has faced Bayern on eight occasions (W3 D1 L4). His most notable success came in Chelsea’s 2012 Uefa Champions League triumph in the Fußball Arena München. In extra time Cech saved Arjen Robben’s penalty. Müller had given Bayern the lead with seven minutes of normal time remaining.

Carlo Ancelotti coached Cech at Chelsea from 2009 to 2011. Together they won the Premier League and FA Cup in 2009/10.

Mesut Özil has scored four goals in his 15 appearances against Bayern.

Robben has taken on Arsenal 12 times for PSV, Chelsea and Bayern (W7 D4 L1), scoring twice.

With Liverpool FC, Xabi Alonso faced Arsenal 13 times (W4 D4 L5).

Jérôme Boateng spent 2010/11 with Manchester City FC.

Granit Xhaka was part of the Basel squad that lost 7-0 at Bayern in the 2011/12 last 16 second leg, Robben netting twice.

Xhaka tackled Bayern eight times while playing for VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach (W2 D3 L3).

Francis Coquelin spent 2013/14 on loan at SC Freiburg.

In the first leg of the 2012/13 semifinal, Lewandowski scored all four against Özil’s Real Madrid in a 4-1 Borussia Dortmund win.

Müller got three goals and Robben two against Alexis Sánchez’s Barcelona in a 7-0 aggregate win (4-0 h, 3-0 a) in the 2012/13 Uefa Champions League semifinals.

Theo Walcott scored in Arsenal’s 2-1 defeat by Douglas Costa’s FC Shakhtar Donetsk in the 2010/11 group stage.

Müller registered in Germany’s 2-1 win in a Paris friendly on 6 February 2013 against a France team containing Franck Ribéry, Koscielny and Giroud. Philipp Lahm and Özil played for the visitors.

Giroud scored in France’s 2-1 friendly victory in Bremen on 29 February 2012 against a Germany side featuring Boateng, Özil, Müller and Manuel Neuer. Ribéry also played for the visitors.

Sánchez was on target in Chile’s 2-0 win over Costa’s Brazil in a Fifa World Cup qualifier on 8 October 2015.

Have played together:

Mesut Özil, Shkodran Mustafi & Manuel Neuer, Boateng, Thomas Müller, Mats Hummels, Joshua Kimmich and Lahm (Germany)

Santi Cazorla, Nacho Monreal & Javi Martínez, Juan Bernat, Thiago Alcántara and Alonso (Spain)

Mathieu Debuchy, Giroud, Koscielny & Kingsley Coman and Ribéry (France)

Sánchez & Arturo Vidal (Chile)

Özil & Xabi Alonso (Real Madrid 2010–13)

Sánchez and Thiago Alcántara (Barcelona 2011–13)

Cech and Robben (Chelsea 2004–07)

 

Bayern

Lahm and Boateng are a booking away from a ban.

Bayern are 11 games unbeaten, winning 10 of them, since the 3-2 loss to FC Rostov on matchday five.

Ancelotti’s men will host FC Schalke 04 in the German Cup quarterfinals on 1 March.

Lahm announced on 7 February that he will retire at the end of the season, despite his contract running until summer 2018.

Ribéry (out since 31 January, hamstring) has missed Bayern’s last two games. Boateng has not played since undergoing pectoral muscle surgery on 20 December.

Lewandowski, named Poland’s footballer of the year for the sixth consecutive season on 4 February, has scored 30 goals in 33 outings for club and country this term.

Lewandowski (until 2021), Rafinha (2018) and Robben (2018) have penned contract extensions since matchday six.

TSG 1899 Hoffenheim’s German internationals Niklas Süle and Sebastian Rudy will join Bayern on 1 July.

Uefa Champions League squad changes

In: Christian Früchtl

Out: Holger Badstuber, Julian Green

Arsenal

Arsenal have won eight of their 13 games since matchday six, losing four of them.

Making his first start since 8 May 2016 after knee surgery, Danny Welbeck scored twice in a 5-0 FA Cup fourth round victory at Southampton FC on 28 January.

Theo Walcott registered a hat-trick, his fifth for the Gunners, against Southampton.

Arsenal will play fifth-tier Sutton United FC in the FA Cup fifth round on 20 February.

Aaron Ramsey was ruled out for three weeks after suffering a calf strain in the 2-1 home loss to Watford FC on 31 January.

Héctor Bellerín was substituted with a head injury sustained while trying to prevent Chelsea FC’s first goal in the Gunners’ 3-1 loss at Stamford Bridge on 4 February. However, he played all of Saturday’s 2-0 defeat of Hull City AFC.

Uefa Champions League squad changes

In: Ryan Huddart, Per Mertesacker, Reiss Nelson, Danny Welbeck

Out: Chuba Akpom, Krystian Bielik, Marc Bola, Aaron Eyoma, Kaylen Hinds, Carl Jenkinson, Stephy Mavididi, Tyrell Robinson, Gedion Zelalem

Carlo Ancelotti, Bayern coach:

“You need character and luck to win the Uefa Champions League, but above all courage. We won’t focus on avoiding conceding, but we want to control possession as Arsenal have quick players and can counter well.

“Arsène Wenger is experienced, has a strong identity and his team play with great style. I have a lot of respect for him. We need to make things uncomfortable for them on the pitch.”

Arsène Wenger, Arsenal manager:

“We need to forget the past meetings with Bayern and focus on now. We have experience of playing them every year, and they always have the same goal of winning the competition. We are capable, we have home advantage in the second leg, but that means nothing if we don’t play well tomorrow.

“I expect Bayern will try and dominate, as usual. They will play with a lot of possession, with a lot of speed in attack. We need a big performance against them. Ospina will play in goal: the quality of his performances in the group stage is why we are here today.”

Bayern: Neuer; Lahm, Martínez, Hummels, Alaba; Alonso, Thiago, Vidal; Costa, Robben; Lewandowski.

Out: Boateng (shoulder), Ribéry (hamstring)

Doubtful: Alonso (knee)

Misses next match if booked: Boateng, Lahm

Arsenal: Ospina; Bellerín, Koscielny, Mustafi, Monreal; Elneny, Coquelin; Oxlade-Chamberlain, Özil, Sánchez; Welbeck.

Out: Ramsey (calf), Cazorla (Achilles)

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