Arsenal v Bayern Munich; UEFA Champions League, round of 16; Tuesday 19th February, 2013
After FA Cup humiliation at the hands of Blackburn, Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger will bring back key first team players for the visit of Bayern Munich. The likes of Jack Wilshire, Theo Walcott, Santi Carzola and Bacary Sagna are all expected to return to the starting 11.
Laurent Koscielny has shaken off his illness and should also feature against the German league leaders. Carl Jenkinson is also available and may come back into the squad with new signing Nacho Monreal ineligible.
Munich have influential defenders Jerome Boateng and Holger Badstuber unavailable through injury and suspension, whilst Claudio Pizzaro is expected to miss the trip through illness.
However, Javi Martinez has recovered for the trip to the Emirates Stadium after missing his side’s victory over Wolfsburg at the weekend.
Mertesacker: Arsenal should not fear Bayern
Per Mertesacker has come up against Bayern Munich many times throughout his career, and believes Arsenal have nothing to be afraid of despite Bayern’s favourites tag.
Jupp Heynckes’ side are sitting pretty at the top of the Bundesliga, whilst the Gunners are underperforming in the Premier League, and currently sit fifth in the table.
However, Mertesacker believes Arsenal have the talent at their disposal to cause Bayern problems.
He told Arsenal player: “Bayern always play for the first two places in the Bundesliga and always have a strong squad. They are always ahead of the game and it’s very respectful to play against them. But we should not be scared - we have to play with full confidence.
“It’s a special game for German players to play against a team from their home country. I know their players quite well, so maybe in some situations you can see what your opponent is going to do.
“Sometimes it can help. I spent a lot of games together with a few players in the national team. It’s good to see them again but that’s it.”
The second leg takes place at the Allianz Arena on March 13th.
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