Pep Guardiola wary of Arsenal threat
Arsene Wenger's team have potential to make Bayern 'suffer' says Germans' boss
Pep Guardiola believes Arsenal have the potential to make his Bayern Munich side “suffer” when the Champions League holders return to the Emirates Stadium for the first leg of their last 16 tie on Wednesday.
It is almost exactly a year since Bayern eliminated Arsenal at the same stage of European club football’s premier competition, helped via a first-leg 3-1 win in north London.
Now they renew rivalries against an Arsenal side bidding for revenge against the tournament favourites, with former Barcelona boss Guardiola believing the Gunners remain a force to be reckoned with.
“Arsenal always have good shape and good movement,” Guardiola told a news conference on Tuesday.
“They are always organised through the ball and if we let them have it we are going to suffer.
“They are going to fight. Arsenal is not a new team to play this competition.
“Always ever year they are there, and I am pretty sure they will play to win the game.
“It’s a good test for us. It will be good to what our level is like in Europe this year.”
Bayern Munich are perceived to be an even stronger animal themselves this year and have been tipped to become the first side to be crowned champions of Europe in successive seasons in the Champions League era.
AC Milan, back in 1989 and 1990, were the last team to complete such a feat, albeit in the old European Cup format, while a celebrated Bayern side featuring such Germany greats as Franz Beckenbauer and Gerd Muller won the competition three times in a row from 1974-1976.
But Guardiola played down the runaway Bundesliga leaders’ chances of making history this time around.
“I think our target is play every week better than the last week,” he said. ”Retaining the title is so difficult. It hasn’t happened for a long time. I am not worried about that.
“I know when we don’t win we are disappointed for the people but I know how difficult it is in sport to win one year and then the year after.”
Bayern Munich can claim to have a hold over English sides in recent times.
As well as travelling to Arsenal, and beating them comfortably last season, they also defeated Manchester City on home soil in the group stages at the end of last year.
However, Arjen Robben, who spent three years with Chelsea before joining Bayern in 2007, believes their recent record on the road will now count for nothing.
“Yes we got a great result in Manchester and a great result last year against Arsenal but it is going to be a totally different game again,” said the Dutch winger.
“We know and have heard they [Arsenal] are also very motivated and they want to beat us.
“There will be two top quality teams and the game will be decided by the small details so we have to be prepared,” Robben added.
Arsenal have not won a trophy in nine years, but Robben has played down their silverware drought under long-serving manager Arsene Wenger.
“I’ve heard some people discussing this, but for me it is not a big thing,” he said. “Yes they haven’t won a title for a few years but for me they are still a very good team.
“Last week they beat Liverpool in the FA Cup, they are up there in the Premier League, and in the Champions League, so I think this year they have a good chance of winning something.”