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Bayern Munich v Arsenal - Five key battles

Dante v Giroud, Lahm v Ozil, Kroos v Flamini and more.

Arsenal take on Bayern Munich this evening under a lot of pressure to turn things around following a two goal deficit from the first leg of the Champions League tie in London.

The Gunners will take a great deal of confidence from how they played at Bayern Munich last season but this is a different occasion, different circumstances and a different set of players.

Pep Guardiola has taken on the mantle of coaching the German and European champions and he has developed them well with several players who can hurt Arsenal this evening.

Here are five key battles to keep an eye on.

Manuel Neuer v Lukasz Fabianski

Both goalkeepers will have big roles to play during this game.

Neuer needs to stay alert because there will be times when Bayern are under a lot of pressure and he’s grown used to spending the majority of matches watching things happen at the other end of the pitch.

Fabianski needs to have a blinder if Arsenal are going to stay in this tie. If the Gunners concede early then the scale of the task will just become more difficult.

Dante v Olivier Giroud

Giroud needs to play out of his skin and needs to play different roles in the Arsenal attack.

The Frenchman will have to back into Dante at times to create space and also when he plays on the shoulder, looking to race in behind.

He’ll also have to do a solid job when Arsenal clear the ball, holding it up while attacking support floods forward that he can use.

Philipp Lahm v Mesut Ozil

Ozil will play right at the top of Arsenal’s midfield, in behind the main striker.

It’s a huge game for him because of the fact it’s in Germany against the country’s best side.

Arsenal will look to get Ozil onto the ball as quickly as possible and he needs to ensure he’s always got space because Lahm will be snapping away at his heels throughout.

Toni Kroos v Mathieu Flamini

Kroos is a very good player when it comes to breaking late and popping up in different positions in front of the opposition back four.

Flamini will need to be disciplined because Kroos won’t always stay in one place. He’ll move around frequently and it could be better for Flamini if he man marks Kroos over trying to hold his position.

Mario Mandzukic v Per Mertesacker

Mandzukic is not a naïve striker and he’ll recognise that while Mertesacker is an imposing defender, he’s someone he can get the edge over in terms of pace.

Mandzukic will most likely float at the top of Bayern Munich’s attack, looking to run down either side of Mertesacker which could open up the Arsenal defence and create space for others.

Fortunately for the Gunners, this won’t be a new tactic or experience for the German.

image: © cooperman13

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