Heading in to the second-leg of the Round of 16 tie between Arsenal and Bayern, the Gunners must overcome a 3-1 deficit at the Allianz Arena, Bayern Munich’s fortress.
To qualify for the quarter-finals Arsenal would have to complete one of the most heroic comebacks in Champions League history, a fate the almost achieved at the same stage last year after losing 4-0 in the first leg, before winning the second 3-0.
Although this task borders impossible against a formidable Bayern side who are one of the competitions favourites, not to mention that it has to be Arsenal’s weakest side under Wenger, the Bayern Munich players have insisted that Arsenal are not to be underestimated.
Toni Kroos who scored the first goal at the Emirates has said that: “We should not be talking about the draw for the quarter-finals yet. We have the return against Arsenal first. We will have to secure progress before we can think about the outcome of the draw.
“We have to be focused and cannot afford to underestimate Arsenal. They are a top team, as we all saw in the first leg. We have to put in another sovereign performance.
“So far strong teams such as Borussia Dortmund, Real Madrid and Juventus have qualified [for the quarter-finals], so we will face a difficult opponent either way.”
Manuel Neuer has backed up Kroos, insisting that Bayern will approach the match with the right attitude.
“We continue to give our all, also in the Champions League match versus Arsenal. We will approach the game with the right attitude again and want to emerge victorious. I hope we can keep a clean sheet this time.”
One of their midfield maestro’s will be missing through suspension, Bastian Schweinsteiger no less. But they have another in the form of Damien Martinez who they payed a fee of £35m for, twice Arsenal’s record transfer.
Martinez told the Daily Star: “I think it will be an open match. Arsenal need a crazy game to create spaces on the pitch and score goals. We need to keep our heads and rely on our system.
“We cannot think about what happened in the first match.
“This Bayern squad has a winning mentality and our rivals fear us because we are serious contenders for the Champions League.
“Bayern dream of reaching another final and I consider that we have a good chance of getting there. We have to make sure we don’t fail.”
“We need to concentrate for the full 90 minutes because to go out after leading 3-1 would be a huge blow for us.
“Nobody is thinking in this way but we all know Arsenal will arrive in Germany playing for pride and looking for revenge.”
“People have criticised their performance – but we totally ran rings around them.”