Preview: Bayern hope to keep Arsenal domination going

FC Bayern München will look to maintain their recent dominance over visitors Arsenal when the sides meet in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League last-16 tie on Wednesday.

UEFA Champions League

Date: 15 February 2017


Kick-off: 21H45 (GMT 2)

Venue: Allianz Arena

Referee: Milorad Mazic

Assistants: Milovan Ristic, Dalibor Djurdjevic

Fourth official: Nemanja Petrovic

Head-to-head summary: 

TEAM              MATCHES  WIN   DRAW   LOSS

Bayern Munich        10          5         2          3  
Arsenal                     10          2         2          5

Previous encounter: 

Bayern 5-1 Arsenal 4/11/15 (Champions League)

Bayern goalscorers: Robert Lewandowski (10'), Thomas Muller (29', 89'), David Alaba (44'), Arjen Robben (55')

Arsenal goalscorer: Olivier Giroud (69')

Players to watch: 

Robert Lewandowski has led from the front for Bayern this season, scoring five Champions League goals in only six games, while Joshua Kimmich has contributed with goals from midfield, netting three. They will, however, look to the creativity of wingers Arjen Robben and Douglas Costa to carve out the openings.

Mesut Ozil has been in excellent form for Arsenal in the Champions League this season, scoring four goals and assisting in three more, but he has been out of form over the last few weeks, which may see him dropped from the side. The likes of Alexis Sanchez, who tops the club's scoring charts this season, will then carry much of the attacking responsibilities.

Team form and manager quotes: 

Die Roten have knocked the Gunners out of the Champions League over two legs in 2005, 2013 and 2014, and come into the last-16 tie on the back of a string of victories.

Manager Carlo Ancelotti's men have won 10 of their last 11 games, drawing once. They most recently beat Wolfsburg 1-0 at home, before a 2-0 win away at Ingolstadt. The unbeaten run has seen them open up a seven-point gap at the top of the Bundesliga.

Former Liverpool midfielder Xabi Alonso, who is a doubt for the tie, told the press: “Because Arsenal have lost in recent seasons, that will only increase their work and determination against us. This first game will be crucial for us because the return will be so difficult in London.

“A team with Sanchez, Giroud, Ozil, Cech and Walcott is a big rival and threat. I think it is 50-50 and it is up to us to make sure to change that percentage.”

Meanwhile, Arsenal have struggled for consistency over the last few weeks. After a four-game winning streak, which included a 5-0 mauling of Southampton, Arsene Wenger's charges lost 2-1 at home against Watford before a 3-1 defeat at Chelsea. However, they got back to winning ways on Saturday with a 2-0 win against Hull City.

“You know that if you do not win the confidence drops even more. That is not what is needed to go into a game like Bayern in the Champions League. I know we have not been brilliant but we had to win,” Wenger told the press after the victory over Hull.

"What we want is to do well and qualify against Bayern Munich. It’s a good opportunity.” 

Team news: 

Ancelotti will be hoping Franck Ribery is fit in time for the game, after recovering from a hamstring injury, but defender Jerome Boateng remains sidelined with a shoulder problem. Xabi Alonso is a doubt after he picked up a knock during training on Monday.

Wenger looks set to start David Ospina in goal, ahead of Petr Cech, while Hector Bellerin is expected to start again after returning from a concussion for the win over Hull. Granit Xhaka is available again, after being suspended, but Aaron Ramsey and Santi Cazorla are still sidelined.

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