1705: Champions League: Bayern Munic
by : Stephen Orford
Question; Who is the only English club to have won away to Bayern Munich in European club compeition? Answer; Norwich City. The Canaries 1993 UEFA Cup victory in the Olympic Stadium remains the only blemish on the Bayern CV against English foes, and the task of bucking that trend falls on Arsenal in Tuesday night’s (February 22) Champions League, second round, first leg tie.
In truth, Arsene’s men might be satisfied to come away from Germany with a draw, or even a narrow defeat provided they can register what would be an all-important away goal. They certainly seem to have the artillery to do just that with the likes of Thierry Henry, Robert Pires, Freddie Ljungerg and Jose Antonio Reyes in their ranks. Ljungberg could make his 50th Champions League appearance for Arsenal, while Henry has scored 35 goals in his Champions League career. Few would bet against him notching another in Arsenal’s bid to reach a third Champions League quarter final.
The Gunners have never been beyond that stage, while their illustrious opponents are old hands at picking up Europe’s most famous pot, having done so on four occasions. This quartet of triumphs includes a now famous hat-trick of wins in the 1970’s when the likes of Beckenbaur and Breitner were the mega-stars of European football. Their last win came in 2001 when they beat Valencia 5-4 on penalties after a 1-1 draw in Milan.
Earlier that season, the only two Champions League encounters between these two sides were played. A 2-2 draw at Highbury was followed by a 1-0 home win for Bayern in what used to be known as the second group stage of the competition. Both teams went through from that group, but the revised format now ensures that one of these two modern footballing giants will eventually crash out at this stage.
If Arsenal are to unlock the defence of the Bundesliga leaders, they will do so without the services of Dennis Bergkamp. Fresh from his red card in the FA Cup against Sheffield United on Saturday (February 19) Bergkamp has again declined to take the trip due to his fear of flying. Ashley Cole is also a doubt at the time of writing (February 21) due to the virus that kept him out of that cup tie, and the league encounter with Crystal Palace at Highbury five days earlier. Sol Campbell also remains absent, causing some alarm for Arsenal defensively. On the plus side, Edu has recovered from a hamstring injury and could partner Patrick Vieira in the centre of midfield.
If Arsenal’s midfield is strengthened by this, Bayern might be a little weaker in that area as they will be without Michael Ballack for the game due to a thigh injury. Ballack missed his side’s 5-0 drubbing of Borussia Dortmund at the weekend with the problem. He could be replaced by England squad dweller Owen Hargreaves, although Martin Demichelis is also an option for coach Felix Magath.
Up front the goalscoring duties will fall on Dutchman Roy Makaay. The former Deportivo La Coruna man has scored 25 goals in the Champions League, with seven coming this season so far. Only Manchester United’s Ruud Van Nistelrooy has scored more in this season’s competition with eight.
Verdict: The Gunners to score an away goal, but an increasingly creaky defence to cost them any chance of ‘doing a Norwich’. 2-1 to Bayern.