Arsenal can win in Munich, insists Wenger
MUNICH, Germany (AFP): Arsene Wenger has said Arsenal must draw on all their European experience in their bid to over-turn a 3-1 first-leg deficit and beat Bayern Munich in Wednesday’s Champions League last 16 clash.
Hosts Bayern are overwhelming favourites for the second leg at Munich’s Allianz Arena after their comfortable win at Emirates Stadium three weeks ago.
Wenger’s side arrive in Munich needing to score at three times and are bidding to avoid losing in the Round of 16 of the Champions League for the third year running.
Their task has been made more difficult without goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny, star midfielder Jack Wilshere and defender Bacary Sagna.
Wilshere is out for the next three weeks with an ankle injury and the Gunners will miss his midfield creativity.
“It’s difficult, yes, but impossible, no,” said Wenger.
“It’s hard to say what percentage of a chance we have, but the important thing is we have a vast experience in the Champions League and Europe.
“That means we have the right to believe.
“It’s unacceptable to assume we will be eliminated. We have to use our experience and our quality.”
The Gunners have reached at least this stage of the competition in each of the last nine seasons, but will become only the third team to bounce back from losing the first leg at home in a Champions League tie if they knock Bayern out.
Only Ajax and Inter Milan have achieved the near impossible in the past and Bayern need no reminding of their 3-2 defeat last 16 defeat in Munich two years ago at the hands of the Italians after they won 1-0 in Milan.
It was the last time Bayern conceded three goals at home and the Bavarian giants have only conceded 10 goals in the Bundesliga this season.
“It is a difficult task, as we know, but the only solution to this is to make it possible to play our best game,” said the French coach.
“I am confident that we will be totally focused, and ready to give it our best chance.
“Football is football. Anything is possible!”
Bayern Munich are definitely without in-form France wing Franck Ribery, who has an ankle injury, while Germany midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger and defender Jerome Boateng are both suspended.
Striker Mario Gomez is struggling to be fit after taking a knock to his ankle in training on Monday, but with a 20-point lead at the top of the Bundesliga, Wenger admits there are few clear weaknesses in the Bayern team to exploit.
“The only solution is to focus on ourselves and not expect weaknesses from Bayern,” said Wenger.
“However, I think this is a real cup game. We have to go out and give it our all.”
Bayern Munich boss Jupp Heynckes has warned his team to expect the unexpected from Wenger’s team.
“Arsene Wenger is always full of ideas; it is always difficult and dangerous against his teams,” said Heynckes, who stands down at the end of the season to be replaced by ex-Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola.
“We have to remain vigilant, even if we won the first game 3-1.
“Success came to Arsenal when Arsene Wenger arrived.
“For many years they played the best football in England, if not always the most successful.
“But you can see how many top-class players Arsenal have sold over the last few years.”