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Schweinsteiger, Müller, Podolski and Mertesacker

Star quartet in Arsenal build-up banter

Bayern pair Bastian Schweinsteiger and Thomas Müller tried their hand at something new on Monday evening by appearing in a ‘Hang out on air’ organised by FCB partner adidas. What lay behind the slightly mysterious title was in fact nothing more or less than a live video conference hosted by social network Google+.

The Munich men were joined for the lively chat session by Arsenal players Lukas Podolski and Per Mertesacker, who face Bayern with their club in the Champions League Round of 16 first leg a week from today. The banter in the build-up to the match was presented and moderated by Viola Weiss, and watched closely by, as the Germany international foursome enjoyed a light-hearted and witty session.

Good humour all-round

Naturally, the hottest topic of the evening was the upcoming Champions League clash. But had all four of the players remembered to put next Tuesday's date into their diaries, asked Weiss? “Well, I just get on the bus," countered Müller, bringing a broad smile to the faces of all the chat partners.

A question for Schweinsteiger: can he concentrate at all when he comes up against his mate Poldi? “He puts you right off with all his yapping," grinned the Bayern vice-captain. The conversation turned to the potential head-to-head between striker Müller and defender Mertesacker. “No problem. Thomas, I know everything there is to know about you off by heart," said the centre-half. But Müller shot back: “Ha, I don't even know that much about myself!"

Sense of anticipation

For all the fun and jokes, the debate turned serious from time to time. Mertesacker reckoned Arsenal face “a huge challenge" against a Bayern side for whom “everything is going brilliantly for now." The defender said he was “very excited" about the prestige double-header: “I'm looking forward to a reunion with many players who I know, and a couple of days in Germany," he remarked, joining Podolski in predicting a goalless stalemate in London but a 2-2 draw in Munich.

However, the men from the Bavarian capital have other ideas, although Schweinsteiger is aware of the difficulty of the task. “We didn't celebrate when we heard we'd drawn Arsenal," the midfielder said, “they're hard to play against. They have a long tradition, but they're not a typically English team." Müller hopes FCB can put themselves “in a good position" following the first leg in North London, although the priority remains “to play well on Friday", namely when the Reds take on Wolfsburg in the Bundesliga.