Created on 16-12-2013 at 13:40 PM
Déjà-vu in the Champions League Round of 16: just like last season, Arsenal will be Bayern’s opponents in the first knockout round. “They’re the toughest opponents we could have drawn, so there’s no chance we’ll underestimate them,” said FCB president Uli Hoeneß. fcbayern.de has taken a closer look at the current leaders of the English Premier League.
Founded in 1886 as Dial Square, it took the Gunners 40 years to start blasting their way to the top. In the club’s golden 1930s Arsenal won five league titles and two FA Cup trophies. Success was elusive for many years afterwards until the north Londoners won their first ever league and cup double in 1971, only the second double won by an English team in the 20th century.
With 13 league and ten cup titles, Arsenal are one of the most successful clubs in England. Guided by French visionary Arsène Wenger, the Londoners repeated their double triumph in 1998 and 2002, and won the league in 2003/04 without losing a single game. That remains their most recent top-flight success, and they last won the FA Cup in 2005. Internationally, Arsenal have two trophies to their name. In 1970 they won the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup (known as the Europa League today) and in 1994 they won the now defunct UEFA Cup Winners' Cup.
The Gunners moved to the 60,338-capacity Emirates Stadium in 2006. The arena was designed by the same architects as the Estádio da Luz in Lisbon, where the Champions League final will be played. The company also designed Wembley – possibly a good omen for FCB.
Before moving to the Emirates, Arsenal played their matches at the famous Highbury stadium, their home ground from 1913 until 2006.
Champions League record
While Arsenal are always seen as contenders, they have yet to succeed in silencing their critics. The closest the Premier League side got to winning the title was in 2006, when they were the first London team to make it to a Champions League final. Wenger’s troops ended up losing 2-1 to Barcelona after their goalkeeper Jens Lehmann was sent off early in the match. In the last three years, the Round of 16 spelled the end of Arsenal’s Champions League ambitions. They qualified for the last sixteen this season by finishing second in a group with Borussia Dortmund, SSC Napoli and Olympique Marseille. It was a close call for the Gunners: on the final matchday the men from Naples were 2-0 up at home to Wenger’s side. Had the Italians scored another goal, Arsenal would have been knocked out.
In the last few seasons Arsenal have not been serious contenders for the Premier League title. However, they are looking to change that this term: the Gunners are league leaders, two points ahead of Liverpool and Chelsea. Manchester City took the wind out of their sails at the weekend, beating the team in red 6-3 and moving to within three points in fourth place.
French supremo Arsène Wenger has been in charge of the Gunners since 1996. After 17 years as manager (as the coach is known in England), Wenger is now the longest-serving boss in the English league since Alex Ferguson’s retirement last summer. Wenger, who hails from Alsace and is a fluent German speaker, was voted French coach of the year in 2008.
Plenty of German will be spoken on the pitch in the head-to-head with Bayern as the Gunners’ team includes Per Mertesacker, Mesut Özil and Lukas Podolski. Apart from the three Germany regulars, talented duo Serge Gnabry and Thomas Eisfeld are also members of the squad, meaning Arsenal have the most German players at a top club outside of the Bundesliga.
Özil is the star of the team after his transfer from Real Madrid earlier this year, reviving the Arsenal supporters’ hopes of silverware. With the likes of Kieran Gibbs, Jack Wilshere, Mikel Arteta, Aaron Ramsey, Santi Cazorla, Olivier Giroud, Theo Walcott and many other highly-rated players at Wenger’s disposal, the Gunners are confident of success against Bayern this season.