Many Arsenal supporters are already in mourning for their club’s season. They are out of both domestic cups and have slipped seven points behind Tottenham in the race for Champions League qualification. However, they still have the faintest chance of progressing to the quarter-finals of the Champions League in this match with Bayern Munich.
After Bayern’s comprehensive 3 -1 victory in the first leg, many pundits declared the tie over. One man who won’t agree is Arsene Wenger. Publicly he will insist a comeback remains unlikely, but there is no risk of him fielding a weakened team or conceding defeat. He will know that if Arsenal can start well, even a side as accomplished as Bayern could become nervous.
Even if the possibility of Arsenal progressing seems remote, this remains an important match for both teams. Arsenal need a positive result to restore some confidence to an ailing side; Bayern will simply be keen to maintain their positive momentum and see the tie out in a professional manner.
Read on for a full preview of this week’s Champions League clash.
Date: Wednesday March 13, 2013
Time: 2:45 p.m. ET (7:45 p.m. local time)
Venue: Allianz Arena, Munich
Live Stream and TV Info
Fox Soccer Channel, FOX Deportes and Fox Soccer 2Go will all cover this key Champions League clash throughout the United States, according to Live Soccer TV.
Sky Sports Events Centre, ITV HD, UTV and ITV 1 will provide coverage throughout the United Kingdom.
The story since the first leg: Bayern Munich
Bayern’s domestic form continues to be relentless. They immediately followed up their victory at the Emirates Stadium by thrashing Werder Bremen, before similarly impressive victories over Hoffenheim and Dusseldorf.
The German title is all but theirs. With Barcelona possibly on the verge of going out, they’re now emerging as one of the favourites for the Champions League.
The story since the first leg: Arsenal
Arsenal’s form has not dramatically improved since the first game with Bayern. They stumbled to victory over Aston Villa, requiring a late goal from their most in-form player, Santi Cazorla.
However, they then lost the North London derby against Tottenham Hotspur, leaving their hopes of qualifying for next season’s Champions League severely dented.
Key matchup to watch: Theo Walcott vs. David Alaba
If Arsenal are to have any chance whatsoever of qualifying for the next round, they need to hurt Bayern early on. The man most likely to do that is Theo Walcott.
Since signing his new contract with Arsenal in January, Walcott’s form has noticeably dipped. This would be a perfect time for him to produce the kind of blistering display he was regularly giving before Christmas.
In the first leg, Walcott was played through the middle. This time I expect him to be in his more familiar role on the wing where he can test the pace of the equally sprightly David Alaba.
Bayern will surely still progress, although Arsenal will be eager to restore some respectability to proceedings. A draw would suit all parties, allowing Bayern to progress comfortably but also allowing Arsenal to come away having restored a measure of pride.
How do you think Arsenal will fare in Munich? Let us know below.