Mertesacker: Arsenal must destroy Bayern Munich’s game-plan
Per Mertesacker backs Arsenal to "destroy" Bayern Munich's game-plan ahead of their Champions League last-16 clash
Per Mertesacker has backed Arsenal to “destroy” Bayern Munich’s game-plan ahead of their Champions League last-16 clash on Wednesday.
The north Londoners host the Bundesliga champions in a repeat of last season’s tie, when Bayern triumphed on away goals following a 3-3 aggregate draw.
And although Mertesacker acknowledges the quality of their opponents, the Germany international is confident that Arsene Wenger’s side an gain revenge for last season’s result.
We know each other but we need to think about our team shape and how we can destroy their possession
“Can we cope with that possession, can we cope with their qualities? They don’t just have 11 players, they have nearly two teams who can compete on a Champions League level, so they are the toughest opponent you can get in Europe,” Mertesacker told Arsenal Player.
“We know their players quite well so that will be interesting for us. We know each other but we need to think about our team shape and how we can destroy their possession.”
The centre-half continued: “Bayern were very strong last year, they achieved everything, they got the treble and were very sharp and almost the perfect team.
“But with Pep Guardiola in charge, they look even sharper. They look to get even more possession, which is nearly impossible but he has put something in, that Barca style.
“I think they have improved this season on what they are doing so it will be a really tough one and demands a lot from our side – mainly defensively.”
Arsenal v Bayern Munich: Pre-match facts
• Arsenal’s last success at this stage came in 2010 when they recovered from a 2-1 defeat at Porto to win 5-0 in London. That was their third successive victory in the round of 16.
• This is Bayern’s sixth successive last-16 appearance with their 2011 reverse against FC Internazionale Milano their sole defeat in that run.
• This is Bayern’s fourth visit to England in 12 months and they have been successful on their three previous trips, including victory against Dortmund in May’s final at Wembley.
• Lukas Podolski played for Bayern from 2006 until 2009, scoring 15 goals in 71 league games. Either side of that spell he spent a total of six years with Cologne and in 10 games against Bayern was only once on the winning side.