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Arsenal in two days

Heynckes: It’s looking good for Martinez

Jupp Heynckes was in a good mood on Sunday morning when he left the dressing rooms and strolled towards the practice ground. The next man out onto the lush turf at the Säbener Strasse was Javi Martínez – and as ever, the Spaniard was not wearing a bobble hat, despite the continuing winter chill in Munich. There was also no obvious hindrance from the bruised toe which kept the midfielder out of last Friday’s trip to Wolfsburg. Martínez successfully completed a training run on Saturday, and has now resumed the squad programme nicely in time for the Champions League trip to Arsenal on Tuesday.

“It looked very good,” coach Heynckes told afterwards, “the way it looks at the moment, he’s in contention for selection.” The boss warned of the necessity to wait and see if there was a reaction now that the 24-year-old has resumed the full training burden, “but I think it’ll be OK,” he commented.

Pizarro staying at home

That means the only definite absentees from the party for the trip to London are Holger Badstuber (cruciate), suspended centre-back Jérôme Boateng, and Claudio Pizarro, who has resumed training after an angina attack, but is staying behind in Munich as a precaution. The squad is scheduled tp fly to the UK capital in the late morning on Monday, with the final pre-match training session at Emirates Stadium scheduled for the early evening.

Heynckes is expecting the Gunners to be extremely motivated and determined on Tuesday, and also relatively unaffected by the disappointment of an FA Cup exit to second-division Blackburn by the only goal of the tie on Saturday. “Arsenal have recovered their rhythm in recent weeks. They’re very, very good in attack, and an excellent team overall,” warned the 67-year-old. “They have some wonderful footballers,” continued Heynckes: “let me warn against underestimating this team. They’re back up and running again. That makes the whole thing even more dangerous for us.”