Arsenal forward Lukas Podolski spent a few years at FC Bayern, but he only had a handful of good moments, and isn't best known for his time with Die Roten. He is, however, well-known for starring with the German national side. Lucky Luke will take on several of his national teammates when Bayern and Arsenal meet up in one of the marquee match-ups of the Champions League Round of 16.
Lukas gave an interview after the draw which was given the editorial title "Arsenal don't need to fear Bayern Munich says Lukas Podolski." Aside from the lack of proper comma usage, the title was a little sensationalist; Poldi's comment was merely that "[i]t is a big club, but we have the chance to win against Bayern Munich." But however you want to characterize it, Poli and Mertesacker taking on so many of their countrymen will be a fun side-show.
Podolski is having a solid season in his first year with the London club, with 8 total goals in Prem and CL play. He's shown some of the explosiveness that has tempted several teams in the past (and that he can't always sustain game in and game out). Over the past few matches, though, it's been the Spaniard Santi Cazorla who has been even more threatening to opponent's defenses. Arsenal also boasts Olivier Giroud (who hasn't made as quick a transition, but has still showed flashes of talent) and Gervinho (the speedy Ivorian). In short, with Boateng suspended and Badstuber on the sheld, the Gunners will surely be able to threaten our back line.
In the middle and Arsenal ends of the field, though, FC Bayern should be able to put some things together. Although their defense isn't awful, Arsenal twice got torn open pretty good by Schalke. And they've given up multiple goals on 10 occasions this year, across all competitions. Assuming Goose is back and healthy, our midfield would appear to have both more skill and more depth, and I have to think we'll create a good number of chances. Finishing, as always, will be key; still, I think a healthy Bayern will go into the two-legged tie as favorites.
Regardless of individual match-ups, it will be refreshing to go against a side that likes to attack and fight for the ball in the middle of the field. After last season, nothing would have been worse than drawing (for example) Celtic and losing after dominating possession and chances. If Arsenal comes out and fights on even footing, and they just happen to beat us fair and square - hey, you gotta live with it.
In other match-ups, Man U will face Real Madrid in the other marquee tie, Barcelona will face AC Milan, and Dortmund has a fairly tough draw against a solid Shakhtar side. We'll try to keep up to date on all of those doings, but really I just want to focus on Bayern-Arsenal, and let the rest of the chips fall where they may. Needless to say, we'll be back with more later. And, of course, check out The Short Fuse for more in-depth Arsenal coverage. Thanks for reading.