Veteran defender Per Mertesacker has warned his teammates ahead of Tuesday’s clash against German giants Bayern Munich, stating his belief that the Bundesliga Champions are a much stronger side compared to last year (via Goal.com). Bayern are always a strong contender for the Champions League, and were semi-finalists last year as well, before being knocked out by eventual winners Barcelona.
But Mertesacker believes that the German champions have ‘evolved’ even more since then, with the purchases of Douglas Costa and Arturo Vidal over the summer making them even stronger. This is in addition to their already star studded squad, which includes the likes of Manuel Neuer, Mario Gotze, Thomas Muller, and goal machine Robert Lewandowski. Bayern are also on a hot streak of form at the moment, having won all of their last twelve games – while scoring 40 goals and conceding just five. Although Arsenal will enjoy the home advantage tomorrow, it will still be a massive uphill task for us to get a win over the group leaders. It is something we absolutely have to do though, to ensure that we still have a chance to progress in Europe.
Speaking to Goal, Per confirmed that the team knew it was an enormous challenge, “Due to the two defeats [in the group stages], we are facing one of the biggest challenges that a club can face.
“It is hoped that you can get closer [to the top teams] over the years, but the problem is that Bayern are constantly evolving, conjuring up new players like rabbits out of a hat, which again make the difference.
“That makes it even more difficult to beat them at the moment.”
We have received a minor boost on the personnel front, as Munich winger Arjen Robben is a confirmed absentee for the game tomorrow (via Goal). Even then, it will require a very memorable performance from the Gunners to see off a side of that quality.