Bayern Munich go into Wednesday’s Champions League clash on the back off 13 straight Bundesliga victories having comfortably dispatched Freiburg 4-0 on Saturday – extending their incredible 46-game Bundesliga unbeaten run in the process.
The Germans have an abundance of ability throughout their squad that it is almost impossible to predict what line-up or system Pep Guardiola will go for. Yet, regardless of Bayern’s starting XI, Arsenal’s German defender Per Mertesacker believes the Gunners can emerge victorious.
Back in 2012, former Chelsea boss Roberto Di Matteo said ahead of Chelsea’s semi-final tie with Barcelona that only ‘two perfect games’ would be enough for his underdogs to triumph the then-European champions, and regarding Bayern, Mertesacker is singing from the same hymn sheet, saying:
“We have to go for two perfect games against them. We know we can beat them now, so maybe mentally we are in a better condition that last year.”
“We respected them too much in the first leg then, so it was too easy for them.”
“Maybe we have learned something from those lessons and will do better this time.”
“Now we have another chance - and an opportunity to beat the champions. We want to achieve something exceptional this season, so we have to beat the best.”
“That is not only Manchester City and Chelsea. That is Bayern Munich in the Champions League.”
Arsenal’s two perfect games will depend much on the defensive discipline of Per Mertesacker and his centre-back partner Laurent Koscielny. The Gunners aren’t defensively driven like Chelsea were in 2012, but the back four have been incredible at the Emirates this season, helping the side concede just two goals in the last 13 home games in all competitions.
Liverpool’s front two of Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suarez are as good as any current strike partnership in Europe right now, and they would have provided the perfect test ahead of Bayern’s visit – a test which Arsenal’s defence overcame impressively.
Can the Gunners overcome Bayern Munich on Wednesday? With their defensive home record, they have as good a chance as anyone to stop the Bayern juggernaut.
image: © Ronnie Macdonald