Arsenal's German players Per Mertesacker, Mesut Ozil and Lukas Podolski during a training session in London
Colney ahead of their Champions League clash against Bayern Munich, 18 February. Reuters
Arsenal, this season, have not generally fared too well against big teams, time and again being outthought, while the players on the pitch have just not seemingly been able to raise their game.
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Come Wednesday, Arsenal will be up against the best club team currently in Europe, perhaps the world; and the North London side really have only one option if they are to take a positive result after 90 minutes of their Champions League last 16 first leg clash at the Emirates - play out of their skins, and show exactly why Arsene Wenger has so much faith in them.
Bayern Munich are, of course, familiar opponents for Arsenal, with the German side dismantling them 3-1 in the last 16 first leg in the previous season, before just about surviving an inspired Arsenal fightback at the Allianz Arena to progress and eventually win the title.
What Arsenal require is two games of the highest order against Bayern we-really-don't-know-how-to-lose-anymore Munich, starting with the first leg at the Emirates on Wednesday.
"It is important [to make a fast start] because every minute counts in a game of this stature and we are conscious of that and we'll try to start very strongly," said Wenger, whose side have done well in knockout competition against big sides, however, having got the better of Liverpool and Tottenham this season. "We have big home strengths recently because we don't give goals away and that will certainly be vitally important in this tie.
"We know we face the competition favourites, but what we have is the belief because we've had big games in the Champions League and in the FA Cup. We played against Tottenham and against Liverpool, so since the start of the season we know that in every single game we have to be 100 percent."
Arsenal put the cat amongst the pigeons in the second leg in Germany last season, beating Bayern 2-0 and only failing to advance to the quarterfinals on the away goals rule. The Gunners also managed a fighting victory over Borussia Dortmund at the Westfalenstadion in the group stages, so Wenger will know if his side can keep it tight at home, and come away with a positive result, then they will be in with a real chance of going through, considering their good recent record in Germany.
Bayern Munich have been near unstoppable this season under new manager Pep Guardiola. Reuters
At the other end, Bayern, coming off a treble-winning year have just looked even more formidable from last season, with Pep Guardiola fitting in seamlessly and masterminding his new side's dominance in the Bundesliga.
"I don't know if we are better compared to last season, but we've continued winning matches," Bayern winger Arjen Robben said. "After last season when we won everything -- we won the triple -- I think it has been good that a new fresh wind came in and, as players, we had to be focused from the first day and go with the new coach, with a new plan.
"There hasn't been a team that has won the Champions League two times in a row -- so it's a very good target for us to aim for to reach the final."
Arsenal have the habit of losing ground to Bayern in first legs of the Champions League, but nothing will give Wenger more satisfaction than to fashion a victory in London, the place that gave Bayern so much joy in May last year, when they beat Dortmund to win the Champions League.
Team news: Arsenal: Theo Walcott and Abou Diaby are long-term casualties, while Aaron Ramsey is still sidelined. Kim Kallstrom is also ruled out, with Mikel Arteta missing through suspension.
Wenger rested several key players in the 2-1 win FA Cup over Liverpool on Sunday, with the likes of Santi Cazorla, Olivier Giroud, Wojciech Szczesny and Bacary Sagna expected to feature from the start.
Bayern Munich: Ballon d'Or finalist Franck Ribery has been ruled out for the German champions with a buttock injury, while Xherdan Shaqiri will also not feature after suffering a thigh injury during the 4-0 victory over Freiburg on Saturday. Bastian Schweinsteiger and Daniel Van Buyten, however, are expected to be available.
Key men: Arsenal: Mesut Ozil was bought by Wenger to give Arsenal that extra edge and quality. There is no better time for the German international to justify that £42.5 million price tag than to show his prowess against Bayern - a goal and a couple of assists will suit the home side just fine.
Bayern Munich: With Ribery out injured, the onus will be on Robben to not only provide the assists but also chip in with goals.
Expected lineups: Arsenal: Szczesny; Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs; Flamini, Wilshere; Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ozil, Cazorla; Giroud.
Bayern Munich: Neuer; Rafinha, Dante, Boateng, Alaba; Lahm, Schweinsteiger; Robben, Kroos, Gotze; Mandzukic.
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