Gritty Gunners can pass Bayern test says Wenger

Arsene Wenger insists Arsenal have no reason to fear Bayern Munich as they prepare to face the Champions League holders in the last 16 first leg on Wednesday.
By HT Correspondent | AFP, London
UPDATED ON FEB 18, 2014 12:23 PM IST

Arsene Wenger insists Arsenal have no reason to fear Bayern Munich as they prepare to face the Champions League holders in the last 16 first leg on Wednesday.

Just 12 months after they crashed out of Europe's elite club competition at the hands of the German giants, Wenger's team have an opportunity for revenge after being drawn to face Bayern at the same stage.

Arsenal were outclassed in the first leg last season as Bayern, who were then managed by Jupp Heynckes, cruised to a 3-1 victory in north London.

But the Gunners responded with a shock 2-0 win in the return game and came close to competing a stunning fightback before bowing out on away goals.

Winning in Munich proved a major boost for Wenger's side, who had lost their way at that time but finished the season strongly and have maintained their impressive form for much of the current campaign.

Yet Bayern, now coached by former Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola, are arguably an even more formidable force this season than they were last year, when they won the Champions League, Bundesliga and German Cup.

The Bavarians will swagger into the Emirates Stadium on a 46-match unbeaten run in the Bundesliga.

They lead the German top-flight by 16 points, allowing them to focus fully on retaining the Champions League crown they won against Borussia Dortmund at Wembley last year.

But Wenger remains optimistic and the Gunners manager is confident the experience of last season's encounters will stand his players in good stead as they seek to end Bayern's reign as holders.

"I think we know them better, individually the players," he said.

"We will be in a better condition hopefully, because last year was after the disappointment of losing against Blackburn in the FA Cup, to play Bayern three days later it was very difficult for us.

"I think in the league as well we were in a much more difficult position. Now we are mentally better prepared to go into a game of that stature."

While Bayern have swept aside all challengers under Heynckes and now Guardiola, Arsenal's trophy drought has stretched into a ninth year.

Still, the Gunners' French midfielder Mathieu Flamini sees no reason for his team-mates to go into the tie with an inferiority complex.

Citing Sunday's gritty 2-1 FA Cup fifth round win over Liverpool as proof of Arsenal's improved spirit and mental strength, Flamini said: "What I will say about this season is that I see a great commitment, I see everyone working very hard on the pitch and helping each other.

"We know it won't be an easy game because Bayern are a very strong team, but we are Arsenal, we have big ambitions.

"We will do everything to qualify for the next round in the Champions League."

Arsenal will be without suspended Spanish midfielder Mikel Arteta, but Bayern have more significant absentees.

France winger Franck Ribery is sidelined after buttock surgery, while Swiss forward Xherdan Shaqiri suffered a thigh injury after scoring twice in Saturday's 4-0 win over Freiburg.

Even those injuries are unlikely to perturb Guardiola, whose side are respectful of the dangers posed by Arsenal without being intimidated by the Premier League team.

"We're not going there for a 0-0 draw, we want to win in London, of course," Bayern captain Philipp Lahm said.

"It won't be easy, they have put some confidence back in the tank after the Liverpool result."

Centre-back Jerome Boateng believes Arsenal are "stronger" than last season and he claimed Mesut Ozil has added an extra menace to their attacking play, even though the Germany international has endured an up and down first season in English football.

"Mesut Ozil is their key player and we have to be wide awake," Boateng said.

"We have to prove on the pitch that we are better. We don't want to go into the return match chasing a result."

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Close
Paris St Germain coach Mauricio Pochettino(REUTERS)
Paris St Germain coach Mauricio Pochettino(REUTERS)

PSG need to focus on all games, not just those against title rivals - Pochettino

Reuters, Paris
PUBLISHED ON MAR 02, 2021 10:48 PM IST
PSG are second in the standings on 57 points from 27 games, two points behind Lille with Olympique Lyonnais in third on 56 and Monaco in fourth place on 55.
Close
Bahrain runner Nelly Jepkosgei(World Athletics / Twitter)
Bahrain runner Nelly Jepkosgei(World Athletics / Twitter)

Bahrain runner Jepkosgei banned for faking car crash

AP, Monaco
PUBLISHED ON MAR 02, 2021 10:39 PM IST
The AIU ruling said Jepkosgei admitted the deception after the Kenyan anti-doping agency investigated her claims.
Close
Indian shooter Manisha Keer(Twitter)
Indian shooter Manisha Keer(Twitter)

Manisha Keer records her best World Cup finish

PTI, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON MAR 02, 2021 10:28 PM IST
Manisha was hard done by a final round of 21 as she finished with a score of 113 in qualifying, which got her into a three-way shoot-off for the last two finals spots.
Close
Asian Games gold medallist Amit Panghal (52kg) had to be content with the silver medal after going down 0-5 to Uzbekistan's reigning Olympic gold medallist Shakhobidin Zoirov at the AIBA Men’s World Championships in Ekaterinburg.(PTI)
Asian Games gold medallist Amit Panghal (52kg) had to be content with the silver medal after going down 0-5 to Uzbekistan's reigning Olympic gold medallist Shakhobidin Zoirov at the AIBA Men’s World Championships in Ekaterinburg.(PTI)

Mary Kom, Amit Panghal among 13 in quarters of Spanish boxing tourney

PTI
PUBLISHED ON MAR 02, 2021 10:08 PM IST
Mary Kom (51kg), competing for the first time since qualifying for the Olympics last year, will take on Italian Giordana Sorrentino in her opening bout on Wednesday.
Close
Tennis - Davis Cup Qualifiers - Croatia v India - Dom Sportova Hall in Zagreb, Croatia - March 7, 2020. India's Rohan Bopanna reacts. REUTERS/Antonio Bronic/File Photo(REUTERS)
Tennis - Davis Cup Qualifiers - Croatia v India - Dom Sportova Hall in Zagreb, Croatia - March 7, 2020. India's Rohan Bopanna reacts. REUTERS/Antonio Bronic/File Photo(REUTERS)

'Indo-Pak Express' to be back on Tour, albeit for just Mexico event as of now

PTI
PUBLISHED ON MAR 02, 2021 08:33 PM IST
It will be first time that Bopanna and Aisam, known as 'Indo-Pak Express' will play together since they last competed at the ATP 250 event in Shenzen in 2014.
Close
Soccer Football - Serie A - AS Roma v AC Milan - Stadio Olimpico, Rome, Italy - February 28, 2021 AC Milan's Zlatan Ibrahimovic during the warm up before the match REUTERS/Alberto Lingria(REUTERS)
Soccer Football - Serie A - AS Roma v AC Milan - Stadio Olimpico, Rome, Italy - February 28, 2021 AC Milan's Zlatan Ibrahimovic during the warm up before the match REUTERS/Alberto Lingria(REUTERS)

Ibrahimovic defends Sanremo role, stands by LeBron James comments

Reuters
PUBLISHED ON MAR 02, 2021 08:28 PM IST
The 39-year-old Swede has received criticism for agreeing to participate in four nights of the annual song contest in Liguria this week, as his club have Serie A fixtures on Wednesday and Sunday.
Close
Soccer Football - Copa del Rey - Semi Final First Leg - Sevilla v FC Barcelona - Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, Seville, Spain - February 10, 2021 Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman reacts REUTERS/Marcelo Del Pozo/Files(REUTERS)
Soccer Football - Copa del Rey - Semi Final First Leg - Sevilla v FC Barcelona - Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, Seville, Spain - February 10, 2021 Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman reacts REUTERS/Marcelo Del Pozo/Files(REUTERS)

Koeman says Bartomeu arrest bad for Barca image but focused on Sevilla Cup tie

Reuters
PUBLISHED ON MAR 02, 2021 08:20 PM IST
Bartomeu, who hired Koeman last August but resigned in October to avoid facing a vote of no-confidence, was detained on Monday along with CEO Oscar Grau in a probe related to allegations of improper management and business corruption.
Close
Manika Batra of India(Getty Images)
Manika Batra of India(Getty Images)

Manika, Sreeja advance into final round of singles qualifiers

PTI
PUBLISHED ON MAR 02, 2021 08:16 PM IST
The world number 150 from Hyderabad, Sreeja prevailed over world number 74 Vega Paulina of Chile before she sent packing Thailand's 87th-ranked Orawan Paranang packing 11-5 11-5 11-6 in the third round.
Close
Germany beat India 2-0(Hockey India / Twitter)
Germany beat India 2-0(Hockey India / Twitter)

Hat-trick of defeats: Indian women lose 0-2 to Germany in 3rd game

PTI
PUBLISHED ON MAR 02, 2021 07:35 PM IST
Sonja Zimmermann (26’) and Franzisca Hauke (42’) scored the goals for Germany, who won their third consecutive match on Monday.
Close
Aston Villa manager Dean Smith: File photo(Pool via REUTERS)
Aston Villa manager Dean Smith: File photo(Pool via REUTERS)

Villa's Grealish out of Sheffield United trip as 'frustrating' injury continues

Reuters
PUBLISHED ON MAR 02, 2021 06:41 PM IST
Grealish has still not recovered from a leg injury that he sustained in training last month but Smith said he was hopeful the England international will return to training later this week.
Close
File photo of Josep Maria Bartomeu(AP)
File photo of Josep Maria Bartomeu(AP)

Former Barcelona chief Bartomeu released day after arrest

Reuters
PUBLISHED ON MAR 02, 2021 06:37 PM IST
The statement said Bartomeu, president between 2014 and 2020, and his former adviser Jaume Masferrer, had made use of their right not to give a statement in court and the judge had agreed to their provisional release.
Close
Tokyo Olympics could go ahead without fans(Twitter)
Tokyo Olympics could go ahead without fans(Twitter)

Tokyo Olympics add 12 women to executive board to reach 42%

AP
PUBLISHED ON MAR 02, 2021 04:51 PM IST
  • To accommodate the new women, the size of the board was increased from 35 to 45. Several resignations on Tuesday also created more space.
Close
Santiago Bernabeu, Real Madrid's stadium in the heart of the Spanish capital(Getty Imagess)
Santiago Bernabeu, Real Madrid's stadium in the heart of the Spanish capital(Getty Imagess)

Madrid: A city in love with football

PUBLISHED ON MAR 02, 2021 02:53 PM IST
  • Real Madrid’s Santiago Bernabeu and Atletico de Madrid’s Wanda Metropolitano host games on alternate weekends all through the LaLiga season.
Close
The Indian football team with coach Igor Stimac. (AIFF)
The Indian football team with coach Igor Stimac. (AIFF)

Stimac names list of India probables for Oman and UAE friendlies

By hindustantimes.com, New Delhi
UPDATED ON MAR 02, 2021 01:40 PM IST
  • The final list of 28 players will be announced after the Indian Super League final.
Close
FILE PHOTO: Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson.(REUTERS)
FILE PHOTO: Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson.(REUTERS)

UK government offers $4M for 2030 World Cup bid with Ireland

PTI, London
PUBLISHED ON MAR 02, 2021 09:59 AM IST
The English Football Association disclosed the financial assistance for a potential British Isles bid on Monday as it received fresh backing from British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Close
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP