A bullish Per Mertesacker has claimed on the club website that the high-flying Gunners are the only team to have “really challenged” Bayern Munich this season, although the German centre-back conceded that Arsenal will need to be on the top of their game if they are to beat the Bundesliga champions in their own back yard.
Arsenal were given little chance of defeating Munich, who began this season's title defence by winning all ten of their opening ten matches, conceding only four goals in the process. That incredible run was only ended on Friday, when they slipped up away from home to Eintracht Frankfurt, as they laboured to a goalless draw.
However, Arsene Wenger's team were magnificent at the Emirates, as they discarded their usual free wheeling offense for a more restrained approach. It paid dividends, and the Londoners won 2-0 courtesy of late second half goals from Olivier Giroud and Mesut Ozil.
“We showed that we can beat them, and that is a good sign” Mertesacker admitted to the Arsenal club website, of that memorable performance. “We are the first team who has really challenged them.
“But it will be a different game at their place, and they will be angry, I guess. They will be on the ball and try to show that they are back and better than us.
“It will be a good game and both teams have a good chance to go through to the knockout stage,” he added. “We need to get something out of this game, there is still a bit of pressure and urgency to perform. We need to perform and defend even better.”
A win would send Arsenal level on points with the German champions, and blow Champions League qualification Group G wide open. Arsenal initially slumped to disappointing defeats against Dinamo Zagreb and Olympiacos, but two victories from their remaining three matches would likely leave them in a strong position to qualify to their knockout stages.