Preview: Arsenal v Bayern München

The Gunners face a seemingly impossible mission if they are to overturn a 5-1 deficit against FC Bayern München in Tuesday’s UEFA Champions League second-leg tie in London.

UEFA Champions League
7 March 2017
Round of 16 second leg
Kickoff: 19:45 (CET)
Venue: Emirates Stadium (London)

Referee: T. Sidiropoulos
Assistants: D. Efthymiadis, P. Kostaras, C. Kalogeropoulos, A. Aretopoulos
Fourth officials: L. Dimitriadis

Head-to-head summary:

Arsenal 11 3 2 6
Bayern 11 6 2 3

Previous encounter:

Bayern 5-1 Arsenal (15 February 2017) UEFA Champions League Round of 16 first leg

Bayern scorers: Arjen Robben (11′) Robert Lewandowski (53′) Thiago Alcântara (56′) (63′), Thomas Muller (88′)
Arsenal scorer: Alexis Sánchez (30′)

Players to watch:

The obvious choice is Alexis Sánchez as reports continue to emerge of a growing rift between the star forward and manager Arsène Wenger. It’s unclear if the Chile superstar will start the game although he will no doubt play some part in the contest. If he does appear, the 28-year-old usually plays with a bulldog spirit despite difficult odds and adverse circumstances faced. With a 5-1 deficit, Sanchez will no doubt use his great quality and fighting spirit to regain some pride for the Gunners.

Since his return from injury, Franck Ribéry has been in sensational form for the Bavarians. With two assists in the 3-0 win over Schalke and a goal in the victory over Köln by the same score, the veteran shows no signs of slowing down even at the age of 33. The former France international will no doubt want to show he still possesses the physical and technical qualities that have made him such a success in his 10 years with Bayern.

Team form and manager quotes:

Final training before #AFCvFCB ☑️ #ChampionsLeague #COYG #Arsenal

A post shared by Arsenal Official (@arsenal) on

Arsene Wenger has made it clear he won’t bow to pressure and field Alexis Sanchez if he doesn’t feel the need to. With a growing rift reportedly emerging between the pair, he said, “I think I have built this club. I want it to be successful so I want to take a bit of time before making a decision. It is about the team performance, not the individual. Our game is built on collective expression. Sometimes his behaviour is excessive.”

Meanwhile, Bayern boss Carlo Ancelotti appears to be in relaxed and confident mood ahead of the tie. With a 5-1 first leg advantage and 15 wins in the club’s last 17 matches in all competitions, it appears easy to see why the Italian is in such good spirits. Ahead of the tie the 57-year-old revealed further good news when he said Douglas Costa would be available for the clash. He said, “Costa had a painful knock on his left leg and had to come off (in the 3-0 win over Köln), but it’s nothing serious and he’ll be able to play against Arsenal.”

Team news:

Mesut Özil has been ruled out of Tuesday’s game due to illness. At this stage it is uncertain as to whether Alexis Sánchez will start. Santi Cazorla and Mohamed Elneny remain sidelined.

Bayern are without captain Philip Lahm who is suspended while David Alaba is also doubtful. Douglas Costa is available for the German giants after he recovered from a knock. Jerome Boateng is nearing a return from a shoulder injury but won’t be risked against Arsenal.