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Nine months after Wembley

Bayern relishing return to London

The thrill is still there nearly nine months later: the long ball from Jérôme Boateng, Franck Ribéry's backheel and Arjen Robben steering his shot past Dortmund keeper Roman Weidenfeller towards goal – and the ball rolls over the line in slow motion. Unbridled joy for FCB!

Anybody who watched the Champions League final at Wembley on 25 May 2013, either at the stadium or at home in front of the TV, will never forget the late winner. “London is full of positives for us,” said Jérôme Boateng just before Bayern set off for their first return to the English capital since May last year. “It's great to be going back again,” declared Robben ahead of the first leg of the Champions League Round of 16 tie at Arsenal.

“I like London. And even more after last summer,” added Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, “we've got terrific memories of playing Arsenal. And the attraction of London is even greater after winning the final against Dortmund.” Bayern will play for the eighth time in London on Wednesday after previous meetings with Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham, and the results have been more or less evenly balanced to date with two wins, two draws and three defeats.

Four games in a year in England

If you include last October's group match at Manchester City, FCB will play a fourth game in 12 months in England on Wednesday. The first three all ended in wins: 3-1 at Arsenal (February 2013), 2-1 against Dortmund in the Champions League Final (May 2013) and 3-1 at Man City (October 2013).

Bayern face a tougher task than last season in the rerun of the clash with the Gunners at the same stage last season. “You just have to look at the Premier League table,” said Rummenigge, “Arsenal had no chance of winning the title a year ago – and now they do. They've been very active in the transfer market. The quality of the team has improved.” 

'We need a result'

“They've taken a step forward compared with last season,” said Robben, who returns to the capital with a great record. Arjen played for Chelsea from 2004 to 2007. The Dutchman was involved in ten goals in his last seven Champions League games (six goals, four assists). And: Robben has never been on the losing side in an away game at Arsenal (two wins and a draw with Bayern and Chelsea).

But Bayern know they cannot rely on Robben's record or last season's result against the team lying second in the Premier League. Rummenigge declared: “We need a result in London, the city that brought us so much luck last year, to give us the chance to settle the matter in Munich.”