Arsenal eye the impossible
Gunners stare at daunting prospect of overcoming two-goal deficit in Munich
Arsene Wenger has told Arsenal to “make the impossible possible” at Bayern Munich with the Gunners needing to score at least three times in today’s Champions League last 16, second leg clash.
Having lost the first leg 3-1 at Emirates Stadium three weeks ago, Wenger’s side face an uphill task to become only the second team to win at Bayern’s Allianz Arena this season. Wenger is urging his squad to be positive with Bayern weakened by the loss of France wing Franck Ribery with a sprained ankle, while both Germany midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger and defender Jerome Boateng are suspended.
“We’re chasing the game in a very difficult environment against a team that has no doubts at all,” Wenger told Arsenal.com.
“We have to try to put them on the backfoot.Subconsciously anyway, they think they are through and we have to subconsciously think that we can do it. But our mentality is to go there, not resigned, but ambitious and provoke things.
“We have to go there and give ourselves a chance to qualify with everybody believing we can do it. The chance is small, but that chance makes the impossible possible. That would be a great credit for our team to do it. We have to try to achieve it,” Wenger added.
Arsenal’s task is especially daunting against a buoyant Bayern side who proved their mettle by twice coming from behind in Saturday’s 3-2 win at home to Fortuna Duesseldorf which left them 20 points clear in the Bundesliga.
Bayern have lost just once at home this season when Bayer Leverkusen pulled off a shock 2-1 win last October in the league, but Munich have won all of their eight games so far in 2013.
Can’t relax: Mueller
Even without their stars Ribery, Schweinsteiger and Boateng, coach Jupp Heynckes has a strong squad to choose from but right-wing Thomas Mueller has said the team will not take the Gunners lightly. “Arsenal have nothing to lose, they can focus on attack,” Mueller said.
Bayern know all about European disappointment having lost last season’s Champions League final at home to Chelsea on penalties and are wary of resting on their laurels, despite the big win in London.
“We had a 1-0 win in Milan and then lost 3-2 at home to get knocked out,” said Mueller remembering Inter Milan’s 3-2 win in 2011 which saw Bayern exit at the same stage.
Arsenal staring down the barrel
>> Bayern’s win at the Emirates in the first leg means that the Gunners have not beaten the German side in five encounters.
>> The Bavarians have conceded three goals at home in total in the Champions League so far this season — a statistic that Arsene Wenger’s side need to at least double in this game alone.
>> Only one team has won at the Allianz Arena this season.
>> If Arsenal fail to progress, it will be the third year in a row that they have crashed out at the last-16 stage of the tournament.
>> Only two sides — Ajax and Inter — have previously made it through after losing the first leg at home.
>> However, the competition has never seen a team turn around a two-goal home deficit.
Injured Wilshere out for three weeks
Jack Wilshere has sustained an ankle injury that will keep him sidelined for the next three weeks, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger confirmed yesterday morning.
The 21-year-old has endured an unfortunate run with injuries in recent times, missing the whole of last season with niggling ankle and knee problems.
Wilshere has impressed since returning to first team action in October, but has now suffered an injury blow that will keep him out for three weeks, including today’s Champions League clash at Bayern Munich.