Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola warned his side to expect to face an Arsenal ‘animal’ fighting for Champions League survival at the Emirates Stadium on Tuesday night.
The German giants arrived in London on the back of a record ninth consecutive Bundesliga victory and are runaway leaders of Group F with maximum points from two European ties, scoring eight goals with no reply. Arsenal, meanwhile, have slumped to successive Champions League defeats leaving them bottom of the table and facing an uphill battle to qualify for the knockout stages once again.
However, given the Gunners’ impressive domestic form since their shock 3-2 home reverse by Olympiacos, Guardiola knows Bayern must be on their guard, despite having recorded victories on each of the last visits to north London in successive European campaigns:
“For them, they have an advantage because they have to win. When that happens with these kind of players, and the history of this club, they are going to make the best performance possible.
“I don’t expect anything other than a fight for the 90 minutes.
“We have to look for another way to compete against them because of the enthusiasm they will have, so we will have to be intelligent and control our game.
“Of course I prefer to come here with six points, but I can imagine my team with zero points and playing in Germany against Arsenal.
“I can imagine the mentality of my team – we would be an animal, because it is our last chance, you give everything and that will happen with Arsenal so you have to be prepared.
“We saw what happened with Arsenal against (Dinamo) Zagreb and Olympiacos, when no-one expected them (the opponents) to win, and it will be the same for us tomorrow.”
Bayern will be without Holland winger Arjen Robben, who suffered a thigh injury on international duty.
Midfielders Douglas Costa, Javi Martinez and forward Kingsley Coman have all travelled and will be assessed.
SEE MORE: Arsenal vs. Bayern: 4 memorable encounters
Gunners manager Arsene Wenger knows it would be crazy to believe Arsenal can simply blow away one of the best teams in the world but sees no reason why his side cannot match Bayern:
“You can consider the teams who win the Champions League are the best in the world because most of the time they win after the World Cup of the clubs in recent years.
“However, there is no team without weaknesses.
“What we want to do tomorrow is win the game. We want to defend well, attack well, score the first goal, that is massively important in the big games.
“You can never promise you will score three goals in 20 minutes because that would be absolutely crazy. What we can do is start in a strong way and that is what we will try to do.”
Wenger feels Arsenal need to show a completely different attitude from when they were beaten away by Dinamo Zagreb on matchday one and then slumped to a 3-2 home defeat by Olympiacos.
“We have some ground to make up in Europe as we have not been at our requested level in our first two games,” said Wenger, who will have center back Gabriel available again following illness, but goalkeeper David Ospina has a shoulder injury.
“Our focus has been much stronger in the Premier League than it has been in Europe and we know in this game the focus needs to be exactly the same than in the Premier League.”
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