Bayern Munich captain Philipp Lahm has identified Mesut Özil as the key threat when the last season’s winners meet Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday evening.
The two sides have been drawn together at the same stage as the Champions League as they were last year and, on that occasion, Bayern progressed thanks to a convincing first leg victory in north London.
A year ago, however, and the Gunners did not have Özil among their number. And, says Lahm, the acquisition of the Germany international for a club record €50 million from Real Madrid makes Arsenal an even greater threat this time round.
"Many of the players at Bayern know exactly what Mesut is capable of - he has been one of the best central midfield players in the world for many years now," Lahm told Goal.com.
"He sees passes and space that very few players in the world are able to see - he is a very intelligent player.
"Even when he is maybe not having the best of games or is not in the best form - you can't give him any space or time on the ball - because in a second he can find that pass and you are punished."
Özil’s performance against his compatriots will be under great scrutiny given the criticism he has drawn in recent weeks for failing to perform in more notable fixtures and, if on song, will pose serious problems for Bayern.
The 25-year-old is all but a guarantee to start the encounter alongside Jack Wilshere, Mathieu Flamini and Santi Cazorla, and Arsene Wenger must decide if Tomas Rosicky or Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain takes the final place in midfield.
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