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Galvanised Gunners

No Podolski, but Arsenal aim to spring a surprise

Champions League regulations permit the visiting team to train at their opponents’ stadium on the eve of a fixture, but Arsenal declined a workout at the Allianz Arena on this occasion, preferring to hold their pre-match training session at their home Shenley Training Centre in London on Tuesday lunchtime. Only then did the English Premier League side and their entourage set off for Munich, where the party checked in to their team hotel in the late afternoon. There were two exceptions, coach Arsene Wenger and captain Thomas Vermaelen, who did after all make the trip to the Arena in the north of Munich for the obligatory pre-match press conference.

Some 360 reporters have taken up accreditation for Wednesday evening’s Champions League encounter. On the evening prior to kick-off, the German press pack wanted to know one thing more than anything else: is he playing, or isn't he? They were talking about former Bayern man Lukas Podolski, reported as struggling with an ankle injury at the present time. And indeed, Poldi has ended up staying in London, definitely missing the reunion with his former club.