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Bayern Munich boss Pep Guardiola braced for Arsenal backlash


Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola warned his side to expect to face an Arsenal ‘animal’ fighting for Champions League survival at the Emirates Stadium on Tuesday night.

The German giants arrived in London on the back of a record ninth consecutive Bundesliga victory and are runaway leaders of Group F with maximum points from two European ties, scoring eight goals with no reply.

Arsenal, meanwhile, have slumped to successive Champions League defeats leaving them bottom of the table and facing an uphill battle to qualify for the knockout stages once again.

However, given the Gunners’ impressive domestic form since their shock 3-2 home reverse by Olympiakos on MatchDay Two, Guardiola knows Bayern must be on their guard despite having recorded victories on each of the last visits to Ashburton Grove in successive European campaigns.

“For them, they have an advantage because they have to win, when that happens with these kind of players, and the history of this club, they are going to make the best performance possible,” Guardiola said at the Emirates Stadium on Monday night.

“I don’t expect anything other than a fight for the 90 minutes.

“We have to look for another way to compete against them because of the enthusiasm they will have, so we will have to be intelligent and control our game.”

The former Barcelona coach continued: “Of course I prefer to come here with six points, but I can imagine my team with zero points and playing in Germany against Arsenal.

“I can imagine the mentality of my team – we would be an animal, because it is our last chance, you give everything and that will happen with Arsenal so you have to be prepared.

“We saw what happened with Arsenal against Zagreb and Olympiakos, when no-one expected them (opponents) to win, and it will be the same for us tomorrow.”

Arsenal face back-to-back ties against Bayern.

Guardiola continued: “There are still 12 points up for grabs, we are not qualified yet and have to fight and against one of the best teams in Europe.

“They have great quality and are a very technical team.

“It is very difficult to play against them and find one Arsenal player who does not have quality.”

Former Liverpool midfielder Xavi Alonso also warned against taking Arsenal’s challenge lightly.

“For us it is not as crucial a match as it is for them, Arsenal will have great motivation and are a great team. We will have to be on top of our game to get a result,” said the 33-year-old Spaniard.

“I am sure they were expecting more from the first two (Champions League) games and for Arsenal to have zero points is a surprise.

“However, even with zero points, Arsenal still have great players. If we don’t control our game, we might have problems so we will be prepared.”

Forward Thomas Muller stressed the need for focus.

“Away to Arsenal here, I doubt we are favourites, but of course our statistics of the past few months are great,” said the German, who scored at the Emirates Stadium in both 2013 and 2014.

“However, Arsenal have quality and have shown it in the past few weeks.

“It will not be where one of the opponents park the bus in the goal, both teams will try to play offensively and it will be an open game.”

Bayern will be without Holland winger Arjen Robben, who suffered a thigh injury on international duty.

Midfielders Douglas Costa, Javi Martinez and forward Kingsley Coman have all travelled and will be assessed.

Source: PA





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