Of all the Arsenal players in Arsene Wenger's senior selection there are a core who have intimate knowledge of Bayern Munich having competed in the Bundesliga against them for a number of seasons. Take Mesut Ozil, for example, as the German trequartista scored once and assisted twice in a single game - a 5-2 victory over the Bundesliga kings during his Werder Bremen days.
Also on the Werder team that day, in September 2008, was Per Mertesacker, the towering centre back whose partnership with Laurent Koscielny at the heart of the Emirates defence has (barring Liverpool and Manchester City aberrations) contained many a Premier League attack this season. From 13 matches in North London in the division, the Gunners have conceded just six times.
Bayern Munich, though, may well be Mertesacker's bogey team which does not bode well for the lion-hearted player, who takes on his nemesis two more times in the Champions League's Round of 16, with the first to be competed tonight, in North London.
The defender has competed against Bayern 13 times in the Bundesliga (for Werder and for Hannover 96), twice in the DFB-Pokal (for Werder), once in the Ligapokal (again for Werder) and twice in the Champions League (as a Gunner) - only once has he kept his sheet clean, in 2009, a goal-less draw at the Weserstadion.
Mertesacker saw 22 goals netted against his defence in the league, four in one game in the Ligapokal in 2007, six in the two DFB-Pokal matches and three in the Champions League ties last season.
image: © Ronnie Macdonald