Bayern Munich host Arsenal in the Champions League tonight for the first leg of their round of 16 tie
Arsenal have failed to progress past the round of 16 in each of their last five campaigns and have twice lost out to Bayern Munich. Although Bayern do not look as dominant as they have in past seasons the Gunners still have a very difficult task on their hands.
Despite placing first in their group, Arsenal were unlucky to draw Bayern in the round of 16 as the Bavarians finished second to Atletico but will be hoping to put in a good performance in the first leg this time.
Petr Cech will drop to the bench for this game as Arsene Wenger confirmed that David Ospina would retain his position as their goalkeeper in the Champions League. The Frenchman feels Ospina deserves to start as he has played a big part in getting them to this stage.
“It will be Ospina in goal,” Wenger said, according to the club’s official website. “He has produced some good performances and we are in the last 16 and finished top of the group because of him. If you analyse his performances in every single game, we are where we are because of his great performances.”
Mesut Ozil has had indifferent showings in the past couple of weeks and many reports claimed that the German would be dropped as Arsenal travelled to his native country, however Wenger all but confirmed that Ozil would start the match as well.
“I have no doubt that we play in Germany and Ozil is highly focused to have a good performance,” Wenger said, according to the club’s official website. “Ozil has played here for a few years and perfectly knows our team and the way we want to play in every game. I think for both this will be an important game.”
Bayern were hoping that Franck Ribery would be fit to play the match, but he has been left out of the squad. Ribery has been nursing a hamstring injury and has not featured in Bayern’s last three fixtures but returned to training this week.
Xabi Alonso is a minor doubt after limping out of training with a knee injury on Monday but came through training unscathed yesterday and has been declared fit for the match against Arsenal. Arturo Vidal and Thiago will start alongside him in midfield.
The only other player Carlo Ancelotti will be without is German international Jerome Boateng, who has missed he last 11 fixtures with a shoulder injury. Ancelotti has his full side at his disposal besides those two absentees and is expected to name his strongest side.