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Wednesday, 16 January, 2019

Brilliant Bayern can seal Arsenal's European exit

Wenger's woe set to deepen

Robert Lewandowski will lead Bayern's charge
1 of 1

Champions League
Last-16 second leg

BT Sport 2, 7.45pm Tuesday

Arsenal appear to be facing mission impossible in the second leg of their Champions League last-16 clash against Bayern Munich and are likely to bow out of the competition with another defeat to the Bavarian giants.

Facing a 5-1 deficit after being demolished at the Allianz Arena, Arsenal's main task is to restore some pride.

All three of Bayern's defeats this season have been by a single goal and it is easy to see why Arsenal have been dismissed as 40-1 shots to progress.

Not since a 4-0 loss to Barcelona in April 2009 have Bayern Munich lost a Champions League away fixture by four goals and they were up against an elite outfit that evening with Lionel Messi scoring the first and third goals and Thierry Henry bagging the fourth.

Even though the task looks way beyond Arsenal it feels like an important game for Arsene Wenger, who needs a positive performance from his side to show that their key players still believe in his methods.

Wenger's surprise decision to drop Alexis Sanchez at Liverpool looks more understandable in light of reports that the Chilean left a training session early in the build-up to the trip to Merseyside.

But Wenger needs Sanchez fully engaged for the rest of the season to ensure Arsenal's impressive record of 20 consecutive top-four finishes is extended.

Arsenal do not return to Premier League action until a trip to West Brom on March 18 but will head to the Hawthorns with much more belief if they can secure a victory over one of the best teams on the continent.

From a Bayern perspective, the challenge is to defeat Arsenal twice in the same Champions League season for the first time in six attempts.

But they are unlikely to lack confidence after winning their last three domestic matches and scoring 14 goals without reply.

They still have a little more work to do to shake off persistent second-placed chasers Red Bull Leipzig, who are seven points behind them.

However, the main focus is switching towards their quest for a first Champions League crown since 2013.

Bayern were unconvincing in the group stage – losing away games to Atletico Madrid (1-0) and Rostov (3-2) – yet they seem to have gone up a gear since the German winter break.

Polish striker Robert Lewandowski has led the way with 30 goals in all competitions, including seven in his last five appearances.

There are lots of other threats including Dutch attacker Arjen Robben, who has three goals in his last five games and is fully rested having been left out of the 3-0 victory at Cologne on Saturday.

It appears Bayern head coach Carlo Ancelotti is taking nothing for granted and if his players are just as professional their quality should shine through.

Don't be surprised if Arsenal play a lot better than they did at Anfield (they can't play much worse) but expect them to fall short against the Champions League favourites.

Bayern Munich
1pt 5-4 Betfair

Team news
Aaron Ramsey (calf) returned to the bench at Liverpool and is pushing for inclusion but Santi Cazorla (ankle) is out for the rest of the season. Mesut Ozil (illness) is out.

Bayern Munich
Philipp Lahm is suspended and Jerome Boateng (pectoral muscle) has not played since December.

Key stat
Bayern have won 14 of their last 16 matches

Polish striker Robert Lewandowski has led the way with 30 goals in all competitions, including seven in his last five appearances
E.W. Terms
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