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Feb 15, 2017 at 7.45pm UK at Allianz Arena
BayernBayern Munich
Robben (11'), Lewandowski (53'), Alcantara (56', 63'), Muller (88')
FT(HT: 1-1)
Sanchez (30')

Preview: Bayern Munich vs. Arsenal

Sports Mole previews the first leg of the Champions League last-16 clash between Bayern Munich and Arsenal.

Bayern Munich welcome Arsenal to the Allianz Arena on Wednesday night having put together an 11-game unbeaten streak in all competitions.

As for Arsenal, they travel to Germany for the first leg of their Champions League last-16 clash looking to give themselves the opportunity to progress through to the quarter-finals of this competition for the first time since 2010.

Bayern Munich

Carlo Ancelotti, coach of Real Madrid reacts during the UEFA Champions League Quarter Final first leg match between Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on April 2, 2014© Getty Images

Losing to both Atletico Madrid and Rostov during the group stages would not have been in Carlo Ancelotti's plans, but his team have been provided with a tie which they would have been delighted with, regardless of whether they finish in first or second place in the group.

While Ancelotti will speak positively when asked about Arsenal's credentials, he knows that many of his group of players have experienced success over the English side over the past four seasons and he will expect them to deliver once again.

However, Bayern have been far from convincing in the final third since the middle of January, with the Bundesliga giants scoring no more than two goals in any of their last five matches in all competitions.

That will fill Arsenal with hope ahead of what is a daunting trip, but it will surely only be a matter of time until Robert Lewandowski begins to recapture his touch in front of goal on a regular basis and Thomas Muller ends a dismal run in the final third, with the attacker scoring just once in 15 outings.

What will sit well with Ancelotti is their toughness at the back, with it being 12 games since they last conceded more than one goal in a match, and the Italian coach will have every confidence that his team will finish the job in North London if they can prevent Arsenal from netting an away goal.

Recent form: WLWWLW
Recent form (all competitions): WWWDWW


Arsene Wenger watches on during the Premier League game between Manchester City and Arsenal on December 18, 2016© SilverHub

In recent years, Arsenal have prepared for a tough encounter in the last 16 of the Champions League having already wilted in the Premier League title race, and it is a similar story for the Gunners ahead of their appearance in Munich.

Back-to-back defeats to Watford and Chelsea have contributed to Arsenal sitting 10 points adrift of leaders Chelsea, and it appears that Arsene Wenger's side will once again have to focus on trying to win a trophy in a different competition.

Wenger would have hoped for an easier tie having edged out Paris Saint-Germain for first position in their group but luck went against his club as they were drawn against one of European football's powerhouses.

The Arsenal manager must also cope with the poor form of Mesut Ozil and a defence which has looked increasingly fragile at times since the start of 2017, but he at least has options in attack and Alexis Sanchez coming off the back of a two-goal performance against Hull City at the weekend.

Both strikes were somewhat fortuitous - with the first coming off his hand and the second a late penalty - but it improved a streak which had seen Sanchez previously score just four times in his previous 12 appearances.

A decision must also be made on whether to include Olivier Giroud from the start, with the Frenchman being left on the bench at the weekend despite scoring in six of his last eight outings.

Recent form: DWWWDW
Recent form (all competitions): WWWLLW

Team News

Nacho Monreal of Arsenal in action during the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and West Ham United at the Emirates Stadium on August 9, 2015© Getty Images

Nacho Monreal is likely to be recalled to the Arsenal starting lineup after being rested against Hull City at the weekend.

Mohamed Elneny is also in line to be included in the centre of the park, with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain either being used in a more advanced position or being dropped to the substitutes' bench.

Ozil is almost a certainty to start, despite the level of his recent displays, with Alex Iwobi, Theo Walcott and Giroud all vying for a place in attack alongside him and Sanchez.

Petr Cech is expected to feature in goal, despite spending much of the European campaign on the bench with David Ospina being granted preference away from the Premier League.

Bayern could be boosted by the return of Franck Ribery, but Jerome Boateng remains absent with a shoulder injury.

Bayern Munich possible starting lineup:
Neuer, Lahm, Martinez, Hummels, Alaba, Alonso, Vidal, Thiago, Muller, Robben, Lewandowski

Arsenal possible starting lineup:
Cech, Bellerin, Mustafi, Koscielny, Monreal, Elneny, Coquelin, Walcott, Iwobi, Ozil, Sanchez

Head To Head

Wednesday's clash will represent the 11th time these two teams have faced each other in a competitive clash, with Arsenal claiming three wins to Bayern's five.

The last three contests have produced different results, but the most recent encounter - in November 2015 - saw Bayern run out 5-1 victors at the Allianz Arena.

Arsenal have picked up one win and one draw on their five visits to Germany, with the sole success coming in the second leg of their second-round tie in March 2013.

Sports Mole Logo

We say: Bayern Munich 3-1 Arsenal

Arsenal have the firepower to cause Bayern problems on Wednesday night but given the club's most recent record in second-round ties in Europe, as well as their relatively inconsistent form on the road, we think Bayern will win comfortably and that Arsenal will do well to remain in the tie ahead of the return clash in North London.

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Bayern Munich's French midfielder Franck Ribery celebrates scoring during the UEFA Champions League Group E second-leg football match FC Bayern Munich vs AS Roma in Munich, southern Germany, on November 5, 2014
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