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Bayern Munich may have slipped up recently but their focus will on be on gaining revenge against Arsenal in Germany tonight.
A scoreless draw against Eintracht Frankfurt at the weekend saw Bayern drop domestic points and end their perfect start to the Bundesliga – but it’s Arsenal who remain the only team to have made Pep Guardiola’s men taste defeat so far this season.
“We were the first team to really challenge them and beat them,” said Arsenal’s German defender Per Mertesacker, referring to the 2-0 win at the Emirates two weeks ago. Mertesacker says his side will face a “wounded” Bayern side who “will want to prove that they are better than us.”
Bayern boss Pep Guardiola is lauded as the world’s best manager so when he speaks online football tips listen and bettors react and Pep predicts an open, entertaining game.
“They will not park the bus, but attack,” he said.
Bayern ‘can’t get much better’
“They will play a lot of high passes to Olivier Giroud. We did not allow them to do so in the first game.”
Perhaps Pep can’t recall Giroud’s 77th minute opener that Mezut Ozil added to in the 2-0 defeat at the Emirates. Or he’s confident his team will see that result as an anomaly with the Frankfurt draw just minor blip.
Bayern skipper Phillip Lahm suggests so and reminded football punters, tipsters and fans: “We are top of the Bundesliga and our Champions League Group – you can’t get much better than that.”
Robin in, Ribery out
Guardiola can name Arjen Robin for the first time in the Champion’s League this season but will have to make do without the services of French winger Franck Ribery. Also out is playmaker Mario Gotze with the groin injury he suffered on international duty for Germany in the defeat against the Republic Ireland.
Mehdi Benatia could make a return to the starting side after being named in the squad that drew against Frankfurt, while Pep will be encouraged by the fine form Brazilian Douglas Costa has shown on the left side of Bayern’s attack since he signed from Shakhtar Dontetsk this summer. Costa has already banged in three goals and made 12 assists for Bayern so far this season and impressed against Arsenal in the previous game.
Gunner miss sharp shooters
Arsenal are expected to welcome back Mathieu Debuchy as a replacement for full-back Hector Bellerin, but the Gunners will have to make do without the scoring threat of Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain who are both side lined for the next few weeks.
They join the likes of Aaron Ramsey, Tomas Rosicky and Mikel Arteta on the mid-term injury list with striker Danny Welbeck and midfielder Jack Wilshire ruled out for longer.
With Sunday’s North London Derby against bitter rivals Tottenham Hotspurs looming, Wenger will be desperate to leave Germany without any new names added to the ‘unavailables’.
The Gunners need to repeat their home success in Germany if they are to move off the bottom of their Champions League group and have any chance of progressing to the knock-out stages, having lost their opening two games to Dinamo Zagreb and Olympiakos.
By: Joe Cahal