Arsenal to face Bayern Munich

Updated: 25 February 2007 09:47 IST

Arsenal and Bayern Munich will renew their battle for a place in the last eight of the Champions League at Highbury on Wednesday.

Arsenal to face Bayern Munich

London:

Arsenal and Bayern Munich will renew their battle for a place in the last eight of the Champions League at Highbury on Wednesday. The German giants lead 3-1 from the first leg and are clear favourites to go through, but the English outfit - and Thierry Henry in particular - are determined to overcome the odds. Make or break time For Arsene Wenger, the next five days are likely to make or break his side's season. Trailing 3-1 from the first leg, Arsenal face Bayern Munich at Highbury on Wednesday still hoping to reach the last eight. Then follows an FA Cup quarter final to Bolton next Saturday - defeat in both games would effectively signal the end of their season. But if the London side are to keep their season alive, they will have to resolve their defensive frailties. Defence weak All three of the goals conceded in Munich were down to errors at the back - and with Sol Campbell and Pascal Cygan both out through injury, 20-year old Swiss defender Philippe Senderos steps into the line up. The better news for Wenger is that Robert Pires should be fit to play a part having recovered from an ankle problem. To score two goals - without conceding - against a notoriously mean Bayern rearguard is asking a lot, but Wenger is confident his men will overturn the deficit and advance to the quarter final stage. "I feel we have a big task in front of us but we want to win it and I believe we can win it and all the rest I feel is then down to the quality of performance which I think the players will produce tomorrow night," said Wenger. Focus on Henry If Arsenal are to launch a comeback then Thierry Henry is likely to be at the centre of the action. The French striker is the third highest scorer in the Champions League - behind only Raul and Ruud van Nistelrooy. However, the 27-year old is keen to stress the important part his team mates play in his success. Henry reckons that the player to lead their Champions League charge is Denis Bergkamp. The Dutchman is getting on in years - he can count 35 of them now - but his eye for a defence splitting pass remains as precise as ever. Bergkamp missed the first leg in Munich due to his fear of flying, but his strike partner expects him to make a difference this time out. Holding on For the visitors, the onus could be all about holding on to what they already have. However, although Bayern can afford to sit back on their two goal cushion, their coach Felix Magath is keen to keep pressing his opponents in order to exploit their defensive weaknesses. "First of all, please forget the match two weeks ago, forget the result. We have to concentrate like we are at the result of 0-0, which means for us that we don't want to come under pressure from Arsenal. We know that Arsenal is very strong in offence but that they have problems in defence and this is our chance," said Felix Magath. Bayern have not conceded a goal since their first leg against Arsenal two weeks ago - and veteran defender Bixente Lizarazu is confident that run can be maintained. Magath will have to do without the services of Roy Makaay - the Dutch striker, who has scored seven times in the current Champions League campaign, is out with a hamstring strain. However, that loss is off set by the return of their midfield playmaker Michael Ballack - the German captain scored against Werder Bremen at the weekend to ensure Bayern remain top of the Bundesliga. The return of Ballack may mean that Magath opts for a five man midfield and play Peruvian Claudio Pizarro as a lone target man. If history is anything to go by, Bayern should secure a place in the last eight on Wednesday - they have not lost on any of their last six visits to England. (AP)

Topics : Football
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