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Bayern Munich on the verge of Champions League quarter final spot

By Edward Robinson
Posted Mar 13, 2013 in Sports
Bayern Munich are on the verge of a UEFA Champions League quarter-final spot for the fourth time in five years as Arsenal face elimination at this stage for the third successive season.
The Bundesliga side are 20 points clear in their league and have scored 29 goals in their last 11 matches. You may forgive Bayern for thinking this tie is well and truly over after a spectacular first leg display means that they come into the home leg 3-1 up on their English opponents.
Arsenals face an uphill battle to make it into the Champions League places for next season. Arsene Wenger’s men currently sit fifth in the premier league, five points of fourth placed Chelsea following defeat at rivals Tottenham. Wenger has spoken about ‘making the impossible, possible and planting a seed of doubt in German minds’ However, the absence of Jack Wiltshire, who Wenger revealed will be out for up to four-weeks, Lukas Podolski and Bacaray Sagna through injury makes this impossible task, herculean. Nacho Monreal is also cup tied for the gunners and Walcott, Cazorla and Mertesacker may be rested for Arsenal’s ‘’massive’’ weekend clash at Swansea. Wojciech Szczesny has not travelled with the squad to Germany, so Lukasz Fabianski will be given his first start for almost a year.
Tonight, Bayern will be without suspended midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger and defender Jerome Boateng and injured French winger Franck Ribery, who injured his left ankle in Saturday’s 3-2 win over Fortuna Dusseldorf. Former Chelsea winger Arjen Robben is also doubtful with a calf strain.
Do Arsenal have a chance tonight? No, not in terms of qualifying, Munich have not lost by more than one goal at home in 52 home matches. However, I do believe Arsenal can cause problems for a Bayern team who had to come from behind twice to beat Dusseldorf at the weekend. David Alaba will have to put in a more impressive display to deny Theo Walcott and co (if he plays) than the performance he put in at the Emirates a fortnight ago, that will be Arsenal’s focus of attack tonight. With the injured Wilshire means a certain start for Tomas Rosicky who caused Bayern a few problems from the first leg. Above all Olivier Giroud is going to have to keep the ball to bring the Arsenal midfield into play.
Bayern boss Jupp Heynckess warned his side against complacency ahead of tonight’s clash. He warned: "Last year Arsenal lost 4-0 (away to AC Milan), then in the second leg they won 3-0 - they could have won 4-0, they had he chances, so it shows they are a strong team and capable of making up the gap if they have to. I respect Arsene Wenger very much. He is a top manager and Arsenal are a fighting team. They will do everything to get a result here, so we must be on our guard." Arsenal must not concede an early goal and must play with the same attacking intent that Bayern did in the first leg by closing the ball down quickly.
Bayern: Neuer, Lahm, Van Buyten, Dante, Alaba, Martinez, Gustavo, Muller, Kroos, Robben, Mandzukic
Arsenal: Fabianski, Coquelin, Mertesacker, Vermalen, Gibbs, Ramsey, Arteta, Walcott, Rosicky, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Giroud
Referee: P. Kralovec (Czech Republic)

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