Arsenal hoping for deja vu against titleholder Bayern
MINICH - Agence France-Presse
Bayern Munich’s Dutch winger Arjen Robben (R) tries to dribble past Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny during the two Szczesny was shown a red card and Bayern was awarded a penalty following the incident, but David Alaba missed the kick from the spot. AFP PhotoArsenal manager Arsene Wenger is hoping for deja vu when the Gunners face Bayern Munich away in tonight’s Champions League last 16, second-leg clash.
Wenger's side goes to Munich's Allianz Arena needing to overturn a 2-0 deficit from the first leg at the Emirates Stadium three weeks ago.
Arsenal bowed out of Europe to the same opponents at the same stage last season, but not before enjoying a shock 2-0 win in Munich's after losing 3-1 at home to Bayern.
The Bavarian giants only went through on away goals before going on to win the Wembley final and Wenger said it's all about belief again for his side in Bavaria.
"We have to go out there and go for it," said Wenger. "I am confident we can produce a stunning result.
"It is down to scoring the first goal. After that, anything is possible.
"This time last year we went there and won 2-0, so we can take confidence from that.
"It is never over in this game. We will go there with belief that we can do it."
The Gunners enjoyed a confidence-boosting 4-1 FA Cup quarter-final win over Everton on March 8 and Wenger said attitude will be the key if his side is to reach the last eight in Europe.
"It is difficult statistically, but in football we have seen worse things," said the Frenchman. "What is important is that we are in good shape mentally."
Arsenal find itself seven points behind Chelsea in the Premier League table, albeit with a game in hand, and has been guilty of erratic form recently. In 14 matches since the start of 2014, the Gunners have won nine, drawn two and lost three, including a humiliating 5-1 league defeat at Liverpool on February 8.
Wenger has a few injury concerns with Laurent Koscielny doubtful after missing the victory over Everton due to a hamstring injury sustained on international duty with France.
Ramsey, Kallström not available
Aaron Ramsey (thigh) and Kim Kallström (back) are not likely to return until next weekend's game against Tottenham Hotspur.
Buoyant Bayern have no such worries and welcomed back France winger Franck Ribery, Swiss star Xherdan Shaqiri and Germany's Thomas Mueller in Saturday's 6-1 rout of Wolfsburg.
All three got on the scoresheet while Croatia striker Mario Mandzukic came off the bench to hit the net twice as Bayern scored five goals in 17 second-half minutes.
Having become the first side to win the treble of Champions League, Bundesliga and German Cup titles last season, Bayern are again sending records tumbling.
The Wolfsburg win was Bayern's 16th Bundesliga victory in a row, bettering its own league record of 15 straight wins in 2005, and left the team 20 points clear in the league table.
It also extended its record unbeaten league run to 49 matches, equaling Arsenal's Premier League record of 49 games without defeat set in 2004 and Juventus's marker in 2011-2012. Only AC Milan's record of 58 unbeaten Serie A matches, set between 1991-1993, is a better mark in Europe's top leagues.
Bayern has only dropped four points with 22 wins in 24 league games, but Manchester City showed Arsenal the way with a shock 3-2 win in last December's group stage game in Munich.
Despite the Bavarians’ Wolves romp, Bayern boss Pep Guardiola has said his team can ill afford to allow Arsenal the same first-half chances which Wolfsburg enjoyed.
"If we give Arsenal too much possession, we will have big, big problems," warned Guardiola, who rested Germany midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger in Wolfsburg. "If we keep the ball, we'll get into the quarter-finals, if they control it, Arsenal will go through."