FC Bayern München to Begin its Fourth Two-Legged Affair with Arsenal

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The defending champions look to repeat history on a trip to North London

In the face of the German football fans who acknowledge and respect Great Britain's top league, the English try to beat down and toss away German Fußball. It is as if the English are a prom queen getting her panties in a bunch because all the guys are not looking at her.

So, England, here is your chance.

The Barclays Premier League has up to four opportunities to take down the treble champions. The first will be Arsenal, who gave FC Bayern München a wake up call a year ago when Laurent Koscielny equalized the aggregate, reducing Bayern's advantage to the away goals rule.

While Arsenal and England fans fantasized about what could have been, FC Bayern went on to win its next five Champions League matches, including one in front of a Wembley Stadium crowd.

With an imperial mindset, the English fans will likely throw all of its numbers behind Arsenal when FC Bayern come to town, hoping that the Gunners can avenge their Round of 16 defeat of a year ago.

The Match (7th meeting)

Location: Emirates Stadium, London, England

Referees
Head: Nicola Rizzoli
FC Bayern: 1 W, 0 D, 2 L – 6 YC

Assistants: Andrea Stefani, Renato Faverani
Fourth Official: Lorenzo Manganelli

Time converter at worldtimebuddy.com

Television and Streaming
US: Fox Sports 2, Fox Deportes, Fox Soccer 2Go, SiriusXM FC
Canada: Sportsnet Pacific, Sportsnet West, Sportsnet Ontario, Sportsnet East
UK: Sky Sports 1 | HD, Sky Go, NOW TV, BBC Radio 5 Live
Germany: ZDF
Other Countries

The Fixture

Form

FC Bayern: WWWWW
Arsenal: WDLWD

Records

UEFA Champions League: 3 W, 1 D, 2 L
*Advanced passed Gunners three times

Biggest Victory: 3-1 (February 22, 2005, Munich, Germany; February 19 2013, London, England)
Biggest Loss: 0-2 (March 13, 2013, Munich, Germany)

The Squad

Having rested five starters in Saturday's match against SC Freiburg, FC Bayern are prepared as ever to recommence its European title defense.

Both Marios – Götze and Mandžukić – will be in the XI after resting at the weekend. Götze will have to take the responsibility of the left wing, for Xherdan Shaqiri (thigh) and Franck Ribéry (glut) are both unavailable for selection.

The other flank could get interesting, based on what matchup manager Pep Guardiola wants. His options are a quick, elusive Arjen Robben, who has started the last two matches, or a relentless, physical Thomas Müller, who has started five of six Champions League matches for FC Bayern.

Guardiola will probably not grapple over other choices, restoring the Kroos-Thiago-Lahm midfield that has torn Bundesliga opponents apart. While his return was compelling, Schweinsteiger's fitness should not be tested in the Champions League, but rather at the weekend back in Bundesliga play.

This Bayern squad has not lost in Germany (outside of the DFL Super Cup), so now it is time to test Germany's biggest might against the big boys.

Starting Lineup (4-1-4-1)

Mario Mandžukić

Mario GötzeToni KroosThiago AlcântaraArjen Robben

Philipp Lahm

David AlabaDanteJerome BoatengRafinha

Manuel Neuer

Bench: Tom Starke, Diego Contento, Daniel van Buyten, Javi Martínez, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Thomas Müller, Claudio Pizarro

The Opponent

The tough stretch for Arsenal culminates on Wednesday, when the top side will be proved legitimate or lackadaisical.

A club that is accused of not having any depth seems to have a lot, despite the injuries that have befallen it. Theo Walcott, Aaron Ramsey and Thomas Vermaelen, three players critical to their early success, are all out with injures. Despite that, the Gunners are still holding their ground on three fronts; in an advanced stages in the Champions League and the FA Cup and in the title hunt in the league.

Arsenal have improved all over the park, from up top with Olivier Giroud to the back with Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker. The big link in the middle seems to be Matthieu Flamini and Mesut Özil, two additions from AC Milan and Real Madrid over the summer.

Of to a racing start, Arsenal's results recently have stalled its progress towards the elusive Arsène Wenger trophy. The North Londoners ground out results to keep pace with their British compatriots, but have a tendency to fall to their biggest competitors.

This is not a team that presses the ball, but rather a team that would rather possess it. Their attack, even with the addition of Özil, is not one to overwhelm its opponents with shots and goals. The defense is much more organized than a year ago, but it still can be picked apart with precise passing.

Wenger took the opportunity to rest Santi Cazorla, Olivier Giroud, Bacary Sagna and Jack Wilshere at the weekend, so those three will likely take the pitch opposite Bayern. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has been just as crucial to Arsenal recent success as Özil or Flamini, so he is likely a lock as well. Mikel Arteta is unavailable for the team sheet due to his double yellow against Napoli to conclude the group stage.

Arsenal have the pieces to go toe to toe with FC Bayern on its best day, but the question remains if that will be on Wednesday.

Starting Lineup (4-3-3)

Santi CazorlaOlivier GiroudAlex Oxlade-Chamberlain

Jack WilshereMathieu FlaminiMesut Özil

Kieran GibbsLaurent KoscielnyPer MertesackerBacary Sagna

Wojciech Szczęsny

Bench: Łukasz Fabiański, Carl Jenkinson, Nacho Monreal, Tomáš Rosický, Serge Gnabry, Lukas Podolski, Nicklas Bendtner

The Outcome

Putting the team behind the ball may have worked for Arsenal against Liverpool, but that tactic will not work against a team who has dealt with a parking lot of buses all season. If FC Bayern control the midfield as well as they have all season, Arsenal will be hard pressed to find enough attacking firepower

Projected Score: Arsenal FC 0-3 FC Bayern München

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