Calling Bayern Munich the ‘favourites’ to win the Champions League, Arsene Wenger prepares for his biggest test this season as the German champions come visiting the Emirates on Wednesday.
Knocked out in the Round of 16 by Bayern Munich last year by away goals, Arsenal will be hoping to win the tie against the German giants this time around. Insisting on Bayern being the favourites to lift the Champions League trophy, Wenger believes that Arsenal have what it takes to go past Bayern in the Champions League.
“We know we face the favourites of the competition. We have belief because we have only had big games in the Champions League and the FA Cup – Tottenham and Liverpool.
“Since the start of this season we have known we have had to be 100 per cent for every game. I believe we can do it but that is down to tomorrow.”
Last year Arsenal lost the same tie to Bayern due to away goals and hence Wenger will know better than to concede three goals in the crucial home fixture on Wednesday. Bayern Munich have been in great form and will be coming to London looking for a favourable result.
“Last year, I believe we went out on the away goal. That shows you it is important it is not to concede at home. But we are in a much better mental shape than a year ago.”
“It is important because every minute counts – we are conscious of that and will try to start very strong.”
Talking about their last year’s encounter with Bayern where Wenger’s side lost the home fixture 3-1 only to visit the Allianz Arena and win the match 2-0, the French manager spoke about the importance of beating Bayern Munich in Munich and the crucial morale boost it offered the team.
“It gave us belief to finish well the season and since the start of this season we have done well as well and are in a strong position.”
“Now it is down to us to how well we can show the same focus and spirit as we did against Liverpool for the rest of the season.”
Meanwhile Jack Wilshere who attended the press conference before the crucial tie spoke about the importance of ‘staying in the game’ against Guardiola’s Bayern that has the ability to finish off a tie in a single match.
“We have spoken about the importance of staying in the game. If it is 0-0 at home we still have a big chance of qualifying, because the away goal is massive, especially in this competition when it comes to these big games. You saw it last year when we went out on away goals. So this year we have to be a bit more intelligent and stay in the game.”
Wilshere reiterated the need to defend strongly against a heavily armed Bayern Munich that will be hoping to gain valuable away points on Wednesday. Not a side to sit back and defend, Bayern will be looking to have a go at the jugular but the young Englishman believes that Arsenal will be ready this time around.
“First of all we will work on our defensive duties and then we will play. We have a great defence here. Thomas Vermaelen doesn’t play, so that shows how good we are. We have competition at the back and they have been great this season. Flamini adds a bit of steel in midfield, so defensively we are confident and we know we can create chances with the players we have got.”
It now remains to be seen if Arsenal can tame the German champions who have developed a knack to roll past teams in most competitions. Having achieved everything in club football under Jupp Heynckes, it seems Pep Guardiola is determined to continue Bayern’s domination in European and World football.