Bayern Munich vs. Arsenal: Keys for Gunners to Score Second Leg Upset

Tom SunderlandFeatured ColumnistMarch 11, 2014

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 19:  Mesut Oezil of Arsenal misses from the penalty spot during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 first leg match between Arsenal and FC Bayern Muenchen at Emirates Stadium on February 19, 2014 in London, England.  (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Arsenal have a mountainous task to climb in surmounting the 2-0 deficit built up by Bayern Munich in the first leg of their round of 16 encounter, but it's not a challenge outside their grasp just yet.

The North Londoners travel to Germany this week in the knowledge that their last trip to the Allianz Arena resulted in a 2-0 triumph just last year.

As English and German top-flight contenders prepare to collide, we've broken down some of those players who will be especially important in ensuring Arsenal come away from Bavaria with their European hopes still intact.


Laurent Koscielny

BBC Sport have confirmed that Laurent Koscielny will be in contention to make his return from fitness in Munich, having picked up a hamstring injury of late.

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 22:  Laurent Koscielny of Arsenal celebrates after scoring their third goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Sunderland at Emirates Stadium on February 22, 2014 in London, England.  (Photo by Michael
Michael Regan/Getty Images

Granted, a centre-back partnership of the Frenchman and Per Mertesacker proved insufficient in restraining Der FCB's attack last time out, but any hopes of revival rest on that first-choice defence being allowed to redeem itself.

Without Koscielny, Wenger would be forced to utilise an inferior replacement such as Thomas Vermaelen, lacking in match fitness and having sat on the bench for the majority of the campaign thus far.

Koscielny's ball-playing abilities protruding forth from Wenger's back line will be a much-needed commodity if Arsenal are to be able to stage an assault on the ball possession in Germany.


Santi Cazorla

Mesut Ozil's summer arrival seemed to have an impact on the consistency of Santi Cazorla's form at the Emirates Stadium, but the Spaniard has moved from strength to strength of late.

Cazorla was taken off in the first half of the leg but can look forward to having a more prominent impact this time around.

The Telegraph's Henry Winter praised the playmaker for his display against Everton over the weekend:

In the last two months, Wenger's midfield puppeteer has managed to quadruple his Premier League scoring total this season, and if Olivier Giroud is to leave a mark on Tuesday, Cazorla will be key to serving up scoring chances.


Mesut Ozil

Having returned to scoring form during The FA Cup win over Everton on the weekend, Ozil has picked the right time to pick up morale.

STOKE ON TRENT, ENGLAND - MARCH 01:  Mesut Ozil of Arsenal takes his seat on the bench prior to the Barclays Pemier League match between Stoke City and Arsenal at the Britannia Stadium on March 1, 2014 in Stoke on Trent, England.  (Photo by Michael Regan/
Michael Regan/Getty Images

The German international received criticism for his innocuous performance in the first-leg encounter with Bayern, failing to penetrate the Bavarians' defence or cause much disruption with his playmaking.

Agence France-Presse's Ryland James quotes Wenger as backing his asset to bounce back, though:

The Gunners will be hoping that Ozil is capable of returning to his creative best at the Allianz Arena on Tuesday, a ground in which the attacking midfielder has scored twice during his career already.