Loading...
Loading Live Scoring...
*All times CAT (GMT+2)

Football | Champions League

Arsenal © Reuters Images

Wenger wants character in Bayern test



Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has ridden out periods of turbulence in what is certain to be eight successive trophyless seasons of domestic disappointment but the heat is back on when Bayern Munich visit in the Champions League on Tuesday.

The Frenchman, whose furrowed brow added a line or two after Arsenal were dumped out of the FA Cup by second-tier Blackburn Rovers on Saturday, has called on his side to stand up and be counted when they face the runaway Bundesliga leaders in a last 16 first-leg tie.

Arsenal were booed off after the home fifth round-defeat by Blackburn, completing a Cup exit double at the hands of lower league opposition after a shock Capital One (League Cup) quarterfinal loss to fourth-tier Bradford.

Out of contention in the Premier League and with only a Champions League place to play for, Wenger needs a big performance against Bayern to quieten the doubters.

"It is a good opportunity to show that we have character and are men who can fight for each other. That is all you can do," Wenger said.

"You take a distance in terms of what people say and show how strong and good you are in the next game.

"If we feel sorry for ourselves we would be completely wrong. We have a massive game on Tuesday night and we have to show that we some response in the team."

Arsenal have lost in the last 16 in the last two seasons and face a Bayern side cruising towards the Bundesliga title having won 18 of 22 league games.

Friday's 2-0 victory at VfL Wolfsburg was their fourth successive win with Mario Mandzukic, joint top scorer of the league, again on target for his 15th goal of the season.

Mandzukic looks set to start against Arsenal, with Mario Gomez again left on the bench. The Croatian's form has been a blessing, with Gomez out for months following ankle surgery in August.

He is also unfazed by media reports saying Bayern are close to signing Borussia Dortmund top scorer Robert Lewandowski for next season.

The only minor discord in the Bayern camp is Arjen Robben's dissatisfaction with his current substitute role.

Robben came on late against Wolfsburg and drilled in Bayern's second goal in stoppage time, before demanding to start against Arsenal.

"I do not see any reason why I should not play against Arsenal," he told reporters. "These are the super games you want to play."

The Dutch winger also vented his frustration with his playing time under coach Jupp Heynckes.

"I really want to play. I have been more hopeful in the past. I am not happy. I was on the bench again and that is disappointing. The goal was good but nothing more," he said.

Heynckes, who will make way for Pep Guardiola at the end of the season, has denied there was any growing tension with the player

Bayern will be without suspended Jerome Boateng and injured Holger Badstuber and Claudio Pizarro, but can again count on midfielder Javi Martinez, who should be fit for the game after training on Sunday following a minor injury.

"Arsenal have found their rhythm again in the last few weeks," Heynckes said.

"They look sharper up front. We should not underestimate them. They are improving and that is a real danger for us."

Probable teams:

Arsenal: 1-Wojciech Szczesny; 3-Bacary Sagna, 4-Per Mertesacker, 5-Thomas Vermaelen, 6-Laurent Koscielny; 8-Mikel Arteta 19-Santi Cazorla, 10-Jack Wilshere, 9-Lukas Podolksi; 12-Olivier Giroud, 14-Theo Walcott

Bayern Munich: 1-Manuel Neuer; 21-Philipp Lahm, 5-Daniel van Buyten, 4-Dante, 27-David Alaba; 8-Javi Martinez, 31-Bastian Schweinsteiger, 25-Thomas Mueller, 39-Toni Kroos, 7-Franck Ribery; 9-Mario Mandzukic



Comments

More expert analysis and opinion from Sport24
The opinions expressed by Sport24 experts and bloggers are theirs alone, and do not necessarily represent those of SuperSport

Event Streaming

Channel Streaming

Other Live Streaming

Event Streaming

Channel Streaming

Sports Talk



Carol Radull
Fitting curtain raiser for the EPL
Arsene Wenger’s attempts to beat Jose Mourinho have finally born fruit with a thrilling curtain...

John Dykes
Londoners to capitalise on pre-season
On Sunday, Wembley Stadium will once again host a game of football that isn’t all we think it is.

Segun Odegbami
Predicting the EPL winners
We are moments away from the start of the European football season. So, let’s look at the teams...

Calvin Emeka Onwuka
Premier League preview - part 1
Maybe it is a sign of my age, or an indication of how the last two seasons have been for the club I...

Dr Errol Sweeney
Ready for the Big Whistle-Off?
They say time flies when you’re enjoying yourself. For footy followers the start of the 2015/16...

Sunday Oliseh
Super Eagles job: an uphill task worth taking
It is definitely the most delicate football job on the African continent and the most demanding.