What a contrast a competition makes – Premier League runners-up Arsenal will be looking to get their first point(s) on the board tonight as Group F’s rock-bottom outfit welcome five-time European champions Bayern Munich to the Emirates Stadium tonight.
Despite a run of four straight wins away from the Champions League; Arsene Wengers’ side have been gunned down in Europe’s elite competition so far this season, losing 2-1 at Dinamo Zagreb before being stunned 3-2 in London against Olympiakos only last month.
Meanwhile Arsenal’s opponents have won every single game this season, apart from their season-opening penalty shootout defeat to Wolfsburg in the German Super Cup. But nine Bundesliga victories, two Champions League triumphs and one German Cup win places Pep Guardiola’s Munich as firm favourites to walk away from the Emirates with all three points this evening.
Having already fought off Olympiakos 3-0 and Zagreb 5-0 respectively; last term’s beaten semi-finalists will be confident of collecting maximum points from their opening three fixtures from Group F after tonight’s clash.
Besides current European form; previous encounters against the German giants doesn’t hold Arsenal in good stead neither, with the Premier League outfit having lost their last two home Champions League ties against Bayern, despite the Gunners being unbeaten in their last two trips to Munich.
Manager Wenger will be without Colombia goalkeeper David Ospina; who surprisingly started against Olympiakos and conceded an own goal, through injury after returning from international duty with a shoulder problem, meaning Petr Cech will take his place between the goal posts.
Meanwhile Arsenal have Brazil centre-half Gabriel available again following illness and striker Olivier Giroud is in contention after serving his suspension following his red card in Zagreb, Croatia.
However England forward Theo Walcott is likely to get the nod up front again, whilst Arsenal fans will be hoping Chile sensation Alexis Sanchez can continue his fine form in front of goal, with the 26-year-old netting ten goals in his last six appearances in all competitions.
The major worry for boss Wenger is the ruthless form of Bayern hitman Robert Lewandowski, who has scored 22 goals this season for club and country. The Poland international is the form striker in Europe, netting an outstanding 15 goals in his past seven appearances in all competitions.
Lewandowski has been passed fit after his international break performances, although Netherlands forward Arjen Robben will not feature tonight after being left in Germany.
Germany international Mario Gotze will also miss out with a groin injury, which will see him sidelined for about 10-12 weeks. The match has also come too soon for injured duo Mehdi Benatia and Franck Ribery.
Group Position: Arsenal – 4th, 0 pts; Bayern Munich – 1st, 6 pts
Last Meeting: Bayern Munich 1-1 Arsenal, March 2014
Key Men: Arsenal – Alexis Sanchez; Bayern Munich – Robert Lewandowski
Form: Arsenal – WWLWW; Bayern Munich – WWWWW
Shoot Says: Arsenal 1-2 Bayern Munich