German giants Bayern Munich commence their knockout stage campaign on Wednesday with the mouth-watering clash away to Arsenal. And Club captain is seemingly excited about his team’s chances of reaching the quarterfinals by beating the gunners.
Last February, Bayern, then managed by Jupp Heynckes, secured an impressive 3-1 win at the Emirates Stadium before suffering a 2-0 defeat at home in the second leg.
Lahm said in a press conference: “It’s good that it gets going again now,” stated captain Philipp Lahm, who joined Jérôme Boateng for Monday’s regular news conference prior to training. The men from Munich are looking forward to the Round of 16 first leg clash confidently but with plenty of respect.
“We won’t be playing for a goalless draw. Obviously, we want to win in London,“ declared Lahm, although he recalled last season’s second leg in Munich, where Arsenal demonstrated their attacking capabilities and showed what they can do if allowed to get going. “It won’t be easy. Their confidence will be soaring after they beat Liverpool at the weekend.”
Since former Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola took over in the summer, the Bundesliga champions have enjoyed an extraordinary run of form. Their only two defeats this season have come against Borussia Dortmund – in July’s curtain-raiser to the German season, the DFB Super Cup – and against Manchester City, in the final round of Champions League group games.
They lead the German league by 16 points, having managed 19 wins and two draws – and their goal difference column reads 57 for and nine against. The Bavarian giants have faced Arsenal in the last 16 of the competition on two other occasions – last season and during the 2004-05 campaign.
Mesut Ozil will be a key player – Jerome Boeting
Boateng warned that Arsenal are now “much stronger” than last season: “Mesut Özil is their key figure now,” noted the Germany international. The minute the match at the Emirates Stadium gets underway, “we’ll have to be wide awake because their fans will roar them on.” However, Boateng shares his captain’s optimism: “We have to go out there and show we’re superior. We don’t want to be chasing a result in the return“
The London club lie a close second in the Premier League at the moment and are definitely a different proposition compared to last term, agreed Karl-Heinz Rummenigge. “They’ve invested heavily in the transfer market. The quality in the team has moved up another level,” commented the Bayern chairman. “The quality and obsession from last year will be decisive,” Rummenigge continued, “but if we show it we’ll have a good chance of making the quarter-finals.“
Bayern also had the better of the Gunners nine years ago, when two goals from Claudio Pizarro helped the German club, under the guidance of new Fulham manager Felix Magath, record a a 3-2 aggregate win.