Created on 2017-03-06 at 20:20 PM by Redaktion
London Calling! FC Bayern have arrived in the British capital full of confidence with a 5-1 lead heading into their Champions League last-16 tie against Arsenal. In the second leg at the Emirates Stadium on Tuesday (kick-off at 20:45CET, follow it live via our ticker and web radio), the German record champions will be looking to extend their current run of 16 games unbeaten in all competitions and secure their place in the quarter-finals of Europe’s premier club competition.
“The door is still open, so we have to be serious and respectful to our opponents if we’re to reach the quarter-finals,” said club chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge ahead of the team’s departure from Munich, as well as warning the side not to be casual in their approach. “We can’t believe we’re through even though we lead 5-1. Without a doubt, it’s a first-class result, but we have to see the tie out tomorrow. This is not just a work getaway,” stressed Rummenigge.
Ancelotti is wary
Despite FCB’s lead ahead of the game in London, Franck Ribery is still expecting a positive result on the night: “Arsenal have a good team. Of course, we did well with the 5-1 in the first leg, but this is the Champions League and we want to win at Arsenal too. It’s important for our confidence and the upcoming games.” Javi Martinez was also short and to the point in his preview: “Arsenal are dangerous, so we have to be on the ball to win.”
No side in Champions League history has ever turned around a four-goal first-leg deficit to progress, but Bayern coach Carlo Ancelotti knows from experience what is possible. As AC Milan boss, his side threw away a 4-1 lead from the first leg against Deportivo La Coruña in the 2003/04 quarter-final with a 4-0 defeat in Spain, and then went on to lose the final a year later despite leading 3-0 at half time against Liverpool.
No talk of worst-case scenarios for Müller
“I tried to forget about that but I couldn’t. It was a good learning curve for me,” grinned Ancelotti when asked about those previous games. The team now has the chance on Tuesday to show “they are focussed from the first whistle. The players know they have to concentrate.” Ancelotti is expecting an attacking opponent, who will “pressure us from the start and try and score as early as possible. We have to watch out and play our natural game.”
Thomas Müller is also cautious about writing this game off too early. “We know we have a good result from the first leg, but this game starts from 0-0 once again. But we can’t talk about any worst-case scenarios. We know Arsenal will give everything but we have real experience in our ranks. We want to progress to the next round,” added Müller.
Final training without Neuer
Manuel Neuer did not take part in the final training session because of a slight pain in his back, but Ancelotti insists he “absolutely will play.” However, Ancelotti will definitely be without captain Philipp Lahm due to suspension and the returning Jerome Boateng. Renato Sanches is fit once more after overcoming a cold and returns to the squad for the team who Arsenal out of the competition in the quarter-finals on their way to the 2013 title. A good omen therefore for the men from Munich.
“We’re going about our work calmly and with humility as we look to overcome our upcoming challenges. We did it in 2013 under Jupp Heynckes, and we’ll do it again here. we play calmly, professionally and serious, and hope that we’ll be there at the end in May, or even June this year.”