Preview by Numbers: Bayern Munich v. Arsenal, Champions League Round of 16, Second Leg

Allianz Arena, Munich
Tuesday, March 11
3:45 p.m. EDT, 19:45 GMT
Bayern Munich leads 2-0
  • Match Officials from Norway
    • Referee: Svein Oddvar Moen
    • Assistants: Kim Thomas Haglund and Frank Andas
    • 4th Official: Leif Erik Opland
    • Additional Assistants: Ken Henry Johnsen and Svein-Erik Edvartsen
  • All-Time in All Competitions: 2 Arsenal wins, 4 Bayern wins, 1 draw
  • Arsenal's European Form: W-L-W-W-L-L
  • Bayern Munich's European Form: W-W-W-W-L-W
  • Weather: Clear, 5 C / 42 F
At this stage last year, Arsenal were fighting for their lives in the league: with 10 matches to play, the Gunners were languishing in fifth. "A negative spiral," said Andre Villas-Boas, whose Tottenham had beaten Arsenal 2-1 at the Lane a week and a half prior. Of course, Arsenal won the match in Munich (but not the tie,) then went unbeaten in the final 10 league matches to claim fourth.

But this season, at least domestically, Arsenal have bigger fish to fry. Sure, they've fallen from the top spot, but they are still 12 points better after 28 matches this year than they were last year. Most importantly, they're going to Wembley for the FA Cup Semi-Final, and after Wigan's shock win against Manchester City yesterday, the other big guns are out (three of which were knocked out by Arsenal themselves.)

Now, of course, is not the time to talk about the FA Cup; we'll file that away for April (and hopefully again for May.) In many ways, down 2-0 to arguably the best team in the world, tonight's match is all about pride. There's almost nothing to lose for Arsenal. Let's go for a win and hold our heads up high.

Arsenal Squad News

Out: Gibbs (ankle,) Wilshere (foot,) Ramsey (thigh,) Walcott (knee,) Diaby (knee)
Doubts: Monreal (ankle)
Suspended: Szczesny (one match)

First, the bad news: Kieran Gibbs is out for tonight (though he could return for Sunday) with an ankle injury which saw him removed from Saturday's FA Cup tie on 88 minutes. The good news: Laurent Koscielny is expected to return from his hamstring injury. Gibbs's injury means we could very well see Thomas Vermaelen at left back, as Nacho Monreal is a doubt with an ankle injury.

Wojciech Szczesny serves a one match ban after his red card in the first leg, meaning Lukasz Fabianski will retain his place between the posts. Olivier Giroud should return to lead the forward line, after his brace off the bench on Saturday. Otherwise, I think the midfield five remains the same.

Predicted XI: Fabianski, Sagna, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Arteta, Flamini, Cazorla, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ozil, Giroud.

Bayern Munich Squad News

Out: Badstuber (knee)
Doubts: Gotze (knock)

Well, Mario Gotze is carrying a knock and might miss out. I mean, Bayern won 6-1 at the weekend without him and the German side has more depth in midfield than possibly any other side in the world, and I didn't even include him in my predicted XI for the first leg, but... but... yeah, I've got nothing.

In other news, Franck Ribery is back from his buttocks injury; he played 90 minutes at the weekend. The same goes for Xherdan Shaqiri, who also missed the first leg; he scored the opener in the 6-1 win over Wolfsburg on Saturday.

Predicted XI: Neuer, Rafinha, Boateng, Dante, Alaba, Lahm, Muller, Robben, Kroos, Ribery, Mandzukic.

Current Form

Starting with the 2-2 draw at Southampton, Arsenal have won three matches, lost three, and drawn two. The 1-0 loss to Stoke felt like it could have either been the start of falling off a cliff, or a nadir from which the Gunners would rise again. Arsenal's accomplished display against Everton at the weekend, hopefully, points to it being the latter. Perhaps most worrying is that Arsenal have not won away from the Emirates since January 13, though that includes a surprisingly small sample size of three matches.

As for Bayern Munich, in their last 22 matches across all competitions, they have won 21 times. The one blip in the middle came at home to an English side (which, I suppose, can give Arsenal some hope.) However, Bayern had first place in their group all wrapped up when they hosted Manchester City on Matchday 6 and jumped out to an early 2-0 lead within a dozen minutes. Bayern switched off from there and City went on to take the three points. That means English sides have won two straight games at Allianz Arena, so that's something, right?

Since beating Arsenal at the Emirates, Bayern have gone back to thrashing German sides; they've won 4-0 over Hannover, 5-1 over Schalke, and, as mentioned earlier, 6-1 over Wolfsburg. They now sit an astonishing 20 points clear of second place Borussia Dortmund.

Match Facts

I'm not going to talk about Arsenal v. Bayern history here; you can go back and read my first leg preview for that. As I did in this space last season, I will instead talk about Arsenal's history in overcoming first leg deficits. It's not good.

Since 2003/04, when the Champions League switched to the 16-team knockout phase set-up, Arsenal have lost the first match of a two-legged tie seven times, including each of the last three seasons. Among the previous six occurrences, Arsenal came from behind to win the tie only once, against Porto in 2010, thanks to a 5-0 second leg win at the Emirates which included a Nicklas Bendtner hat trick.

Interestingly, Arsenal have gone on to win the second leg match yet not the tie as a whole on three occasions, including each of the last two years (against Bayern and AC Milan) and one other time against Bayern Munich in 2005. In 2007, they drew the second leg against PSV, and in 2009 against Manchester United, well, that didn't go quite as well.

The Referee

The match officials are from Norway; the referee is Svein Oddvar Moen. Arsenal and Bayern had Moen for their first leg encounter at the Emirates last season, which Bayern won 3-1. It is the only time Arsenal have lost with the Norwegian referee; they previously won matches over Shakhtar Donetsk 5-1 and Olympiacos 3-1 with Moen in the middle. It's two wins from two matches for Bayern with Moen, however; they also defeated Marseille 2-0 in the 2012 quarter-final with Moen as the referee.

Moen has already worked two English v. German matches in this year's Champions League, both big wins for the English sides. Chelsea beat Schalke 3-0 on November 6 at Stamford Bridge and Manchester United won 5-0 at Bayer Leverkusen on November 27.

Around Europe
  • Tuesday: Atletico Madrid v. AC Milan; Vicente Calderon Stadium, Madrid
    • Atletico Madrid leads 1-0
  • Wednesday: Barcelona v. Manchester City; Camp Nou, Barcelona
    • Barcelona leads 2-0
  • Wednesday: Paris St. Germain v. Bayer Leverkusen; Parc des Princes, Paris
    • Paris St. Germain leads 4-0
  • Next Tuesday: Chelsea v. Galatasaray; Stamford Bridge, London
    • Tie level, 1-1
  • Next Tuesday: Real Madrid v. Schalke 04; Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid
    • Real Madrid leads 6-1
  • Next Wednesday: Borussia Dortmund v. Zenit St. Petersburg; Signal Iduna Park, Dortmund
    • Borussia Dortmund leads 4-2
  • Next Wednesday: Manchester United v. Olympiacos; Old Trafford, Manchester
    • Olympiacos leads 2-0