MX23RW : Monday, June 14 03:07:45| >> :120:16221:16221:
Mar 7, 2017 at 7.45pm UK at Emirates Stadium
BayernBayern Munich
Walcott (20')
FT(HT: 1-0)
Lewandowski (55' pen.), Robben (68'), Costa (78'), Vidal (80', 85')

Preview: Arsenal vs. Bayern Munich

Sports Mole previews Tuesday's Champions League last-16 second leg between Arsenal and Bayern Munich as the Gunners bid to overturn a 5-1 first-leg deficit.

Arsenal will be hoping to pull off the seemingly impossible when they welcome Bayern Munich to the Emirates Stadium on Tuesday night looking to overturn a 5-1 first-leg deficit in the last 16 of the Champions League.

The Gunners were brazenly outclassed at the Allianz Arena and will need to put in one of the all-time great Champions League performances if they are to repair the damage done in Bavaria.


Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger on the touchline during the match against Liverpool on March 4, 2017© SilverHub

Another year, another last-16 exit from the Champions League. That looks to be the situation again for the Gunners, who have failed to progress beyond this stage since the 2009-10 campaign.

Arsenal fans may well point to the unfortunate nature of having drawn the German giants yet again despite having won their group, finishing above Paris Saint-Germain in the process, but the first leg ruthlessly demonstrated the gulf in quality between Arsene Wenger's side and Europe's best.

It is not only the Champions League that will feel like Groundhog Day for Arsenal, though, with defeat to Liverpool at Anfield on Saturday extending their poor record against their direct domestic rivals and, by goalkeeper Petr Cech's own admission, ruling them out of the title race once and for all.

With Champions League glory feeling as far away as ever, the Gunners' priority must now be to maintain their lengthy record of finishing in the top four - not exactly the progress many wanted in what could very well be Wenger's last season at the helm, but still a notable achievement in one of the most competitive Premier League campaigns yet.

Even a win over Bayern will not prevent the questions over Wenger's future from resurfacing, though. Arsenal are currently outside the top four following the defeat at Anfield, and yet again their only realistic chance of silverware looks like being the FA Cup this season.

Falling at around this stage of the campaign seems to be an annual occurrence for Arsenal, but Wenger did not do himself any favours by leaving top-scorer Alexis Sanchez out of the team to face Liverpool - a controversial and ultimately costly gamble that Wenger later admitted had backfired.

Should Arsenal be eliminated in the last 16 for a seventh consecutive season - something which seems like a formality after the first leg - then more questions will be raised over Sanchez's future, with the Chilean having been linked with European giants Juventus, PSG and even Bayern themselves following reports of a training ground bust-up.

Wenger has insisted that those reports are "completely false", but then the magnifying glass must be turned on the manager himself for the inexplicable decision to drop a man widely regarded to be his best player for one of their most important games of the season.

Whether to recall Sanchez for what essentially looks to be a dead-rubber is another big decision Wenger will have to make, but with a home FA Cup tie against non-league Lincoln City next up there is no pressing need to rest a player who has only played an hour of competitive football since the first-leg defeat three weeks ago.

The Gunners come into this second leg having lost four of their last six outings in all competitions, while their home record in the Champions League is not exactly formidable for a team like Bayern - seven defeats and nine wins in their last 18 in the competition proper.

Arsenal have also only progressed from two of the 11 European ties in which they have lost the away first leg, doing so against Hajduk Split in the 1978-79 UEFA Cup and Porto at this stage of the 2009-10 Champions League campaign, both after 2-1 defeats.

A four-goal first-leg deficit has only ever been recovered three times in European football history, and never in the Champions League, so Arsenal will need to break new ground if they are to pull off a memorable comeback in North London.

Recent form: WWWDWL
Recent form (all competitions): LLWLWL

Bayern Munich

Bayern Munich's Polish striker Robert Lewandowski celebrates after the third goal for Munich during the German first division Bundesliga football match FC Bayern Muenchen vs VfL Wolfsburg in Munich, on September 22, 2015.© Getty Images

When Bayern's name was drawn to face Arsenal in the last 16, for many the tie was already decided.

Arsenal's failure to progress past this stage coupled with Bayern's uncanny knack of reaching the latter stages of the competition meant that the German giants went into the tie as overwhelming favourites to progress.

Bayern have reached at least the semi-finals of the Champions League in each of the last five seasons, but the problem for them recently has been going one step further having been eliminated in the last four three years in a row.

Who better to end that record than Carlo Ancelotti? The veteran Italian is one of only two managers to have lifted the trophy three times, alongside Liverpool's Bob Paisley, and the only one to have done so with different clubs - AC Milan twice and Real Madrid.

A record-breaking fourth triumph this season is still some way away, but Bayern can perhaps afford to take their foot off the pedal a little on their visit to London following their masterclass three weeks ago.

In truth, they may need that comfortable four-goal cushion as their record away from home in the Champions League is surprisingly poor. Bayern have only won three of their last 13 European matches on the road, losing seven of those, while they have failed to win any of their last eight away knockout games.

Indeed, the last time they did win an away Champions League knockout game came at the Emirates Stadium when they beat Arsenal 2-0 in 2014 - one of two, and surely soon to be three, occasions that they have dumped the Gunners out of the competition in recent years.

It is worth remembering that Bayern only managed to finish second in their group, though, and have lost more times in this season's competition than Arsenal, with both of their defeats coming on their travels.

The German champions have also lost on their last two visits to English shores - including their most recent trip to the Emirates - so there is genuine encouragement for Arsenal that they may at least be able to eat into the deficit.

However, Bayern come into the match unbeaten in 16 games in all competitions stretching back to November - a run which includes 14 wins - while they have scored a whopping 20 goals in their last five outings at an average of four per game.

Bayern have also progressed from 42 of the 50 ties in which they have won the home first leg, including each of the past 10, and have unsurprisingly triumphed in all four ties in which they have built a four-goal lead in the home first leg too.

Recent form: LWWLWW
Recent form (all competitions): WWDWWW

Team News

Alexis Sanchez in action during the Premier League game between Everton and Arsenal on December 13, 2016© SilverHub

All eyes will be on whether Sanchez is recalled to the starting XI for Arsenal on Tuesday - a decision which is likely to depend upon whether Wenger names a full-strength side.

The Frenchman is expected to be without Mesut Ozil through illness once again, though, while Santi Cazorla and Mohamed Elneny are longer-term absentees for the hosts.

Aaron Ramsey returned to the bench for the weekend defeat to Liverpool and could make his first start since January, while the likes of Theo Walcott and Lucas Perez may also be hopeful of starting given Arsenal's need to attack from the off.

Bayern will be without suspended captain Philipp Lahm, while Jerome Boateng remains sidelined and goalkeeper Manuel Neuer is also a doubt.

Ancelotti must decide whether to rest players with the tie all but sewn up, which could see chances for the likes of Franck Ribery, Joshua Kimmich, Arjen Robben and Xabi Alonso to return to the starting lineup.

Robert Lewandowski is one of the players who could be rested despite having scored 37 goals in 38 matches for club and country this season.

Arsenal possible starting lineup:
Ospina; Bellerin, Koscielny, Mustafi, Gibbs; Ramsey, Xhaka, Walcott, Iwobi, Sanchez; Giroud

Bayern Munich possible starting lineup:
Neuer; Rafinha, Martinez, Hummels, Alaba; Alonso, Kimmich, Ribery, Muller, Robben; Lewandowski

Head To Head

These two sides have met on 11 previous occasions, seven of which have come in the past four years. Bayern hold the edge over Arsenal with six wins and just three defeats in that time, including back-to-back 5-1 victories in their last two meetings.

Arsenal did beat Bayern the last time they met at the Emirates Stadium, though, with goals from Olivier Giroud and Ozil handing the Gunners a 2-0 win in last season's group stages.

Bayern have all too often been the bane of Arsenal's Champions League hopes, though, eliminating the Gunners from this stage of the competition in 2004-05, 2012-13 and 2013-14.

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We say: Arsenal 2-3 Bayern Munich

Arsenal have two options for this match - accept defeat and try to limit the damage or go all out for the nigh-on impossible turnaround. Given Wenger's managerial style, the latter is the more likely of the two, and that could play straight into the hands of Bayern. A lot could depend on how strong a team Ancelotti puts out, but if it is an open game then there should be goals and Bayern have the quality to punish Arsenal further.

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Mesut Ozil in action during the Premier League game between Manchester City and Arsenal on December 18, 2016
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