Bayern vs Arsenal – Wednesday 19:45 GMT/20:45 CET Allianz Arena – Munich.
It has been an odd season for Bayern München. As always the Bavarians are first in the Bundesliga, but they are facing a respectable challenge by newly promoted RB Leipzig. Also for the first time in four seasons Bayern seem very beatable.
Gone are the times under Jupp Heynckes, and Pep Guardiola when Bayern were an unstoppable force in German, and European football. Under Heynckes and Guardiola Bayern seemed like an unstoppable machine at times. Perhaps the one downside of the last four years was the fact that they only one the Champions League once despite having arguable the best squad, and coach on the planet.
This season, however, Bayern are no longer unstoppable, and in the Bundesliga at least have somewhat benefited from the likes of Borussia Dortmund, Bayer Leverkusen, Schalke, and Borussia Mönchengladbach all experiencing difficulties of consistency. In fact the only time Bayern were truly convincing this season was on matchday 16 when they faced this season’s title challenge RB Leipzig, and easily dismantled the newcomers 3-0 at home at the Allianz Arena.
For Bayern fans the display against Leipzig is a massive silver lining when it comes to the Champions League. After winning four consecutive German championships the Champions League title is the number one goal in Munich this season, and fans hope that the pragmatic approach of head coach Carlo Ancelotti will lead to a Champions League title celebration on the Marienplatz in May.
Arsenal fans in the meantime released a major sigh after they were once again drawn against a heavy weight in the round of 16 in the Champions League despite having won their group this season. At the same time Arsenal have sensed that Bayern appear beatable this season.
Arsenal’s German national team attacking forward Mesut Özil told kicker that he feels “Bayern are no longer dominant.” But do Arsenal have enough to get past the Bavarians? The truth is that Arsenal have lacked consistency themselves, and that they tend to freeze when faced with major opposition in Europe. Hence, even a Bayern München side that is seemingly not as strong as in the last few years will likely still be a step to far for the North Londoners.
Bayern vs Arsenal – Player to look out for:
Bayern will have plenty of talent on display in this round of 16 clash. In fact the Bavarians are one of the few sides that have the tough choices that could see the likes of world champion Thomas Müller start from the bench. Thomas Müller, however, may be one to look out for in this tie. Should Frank Ribéry fail to gain match fitness in time for the home match against Arsenal Müller will certainly start. The German national team forward has struggled to find the net this season, but it will be only a matter of time for him to regain his scoring touch, and it could happen against Arsenal.
At Arsenal it is tough to look beyond the pairing of Mesut Özil, and Alexis Sánchez. Those two will be in fact key if Arsenal want to gain anything from the match in Munich. Germany fans will be intrigued to get a glimpse of Özil playing in his native country. In fact some Bayern fans could view this as advanced scouting as both Özil, and Sánchez, are linked with a move to the Bavarian capital.
Bayern vs Arsenal – Match Stats
- This is Bayern’s 17th encounter with English opponents in the last five seasons. They have won the last three such home games but previously had not prevailed in four in Bavaria, including the 2012 final defeat on penalties by Chelsea FC.
- Bayern’s overall home record against English teams is W13 D6 L3.
- Bayern have posted 15 straight home wins in the UEFA Champions League—a competition best—including three this season.
- In each of the last six seasons Arsenal have fallen in the round of 16, going down 5-1 on aggregate to FC Barcelona in 2015-16.
- Arsenal have lost three of their last seven European away matches; before that they had met defeat only twice in 11 games on the road.
- Arsenal have lost two matches and drawn one on their last three visits to Germany. In the five before that they won three and drew two.
Prediction: Bayern vs Arsenal 3-0
Neuer – Alaba, Hummels, Javi Martínez, Lahm – Vidal, Xabi Alonso – Ribéry (Douglas Costa), Thiago, Robben – Lewandowski
Manager: Carlo Ancelotti
Cech – Monreal, Koscielny, Mustafi, Bellerin – Coquelin, Xhaka – Iwobi, Özil, Walcott – Sanchez
Manager: Arséne Wenger