LONDON (AP) — Bayern Munich returns to London for the first time since winning its fifth Champions League title at Wembley last May to take on Arsenal in the round-of-16 on Wednesday.
The Champions League victory was the pinnacle of a treble-winning campaign for Bayern, which looks capable of matching last season's achievement under Pep Guardiola. They are unbeaten in the Bundesliga, winning 19 of 21 matches, and are 16 points clear of Bayer Leverkusen in second.
"Bayern were very strong last year, they achieved everything," Arsenal's Germany defender Per Metersacker said. "But with Guardiola in charge, they look even sharper."
Arsenal's confidence has been boosted by taking revenge on Liverpool for a 5-1 thrashing in the Premier League by knocking them out of the FA Cup with a 2-1 win on Sunday. Do the Gunners still have enough to get the better of defending champion Bayern over two games? Here are five things to know about Wednesday's match.
BAYERN LOVES LUCKY LONDON: Bayern is making its fourth visit in a year to England, which holds nothing but fond memories for the German leader. It beat Manchester City 3-1 in the group stage this season, won the league final 2-1 last May against Borussia Dortmund at Wembley, and won 3-1 against Arsenal at the Emirates in the last 16 last season. "It's great to be going back again," said Arjen Robben, who scored the winner against Dortmund. Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said, "We've got terrific memories of playing Arsenal. And the attraction of London is even greater after winning the final against Dortmund."
NO RIBERY, SHAQIRI? NO PROBLEM: Bayern is without attacking midfielders Franck Ribery and Xherdan Shaqiri. Ribery is recovering from surgery on a ruptured buttock muscle, and Shaqiri ruptured a right thigh muscle after scoring a brace in the 4-0 win over Freiburg on Saturday. But Arsenal will still have to nullify the threat of Arjen Robben, Mario Goetze and Thomas Mueller, as well as stopping midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger from dictating play. "They don't just have 11 players, they have nearly two teams who can compete on a Champions League level, so they are the toughest opponent you can get in Europe," Mertersacker said.