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Bayern Munich vs Arsenal: Preview, Predicted Line-Up and Team News

Arsenal looks to book a place in the UCL semi-final for the first time in 14 years but will Bayern Munich roll over and let them?!

Two wounded animals are set to battle it out for a place in the Champions League semi-finals as Arsenal and Bayern Munich come head to head for their much-anticipated clash at Allianz Arena. Sandwiched between their 2-2 draw at the Emirates Stadium in the first leg, the Gunners have suffered a title blow by losing to Aston Villa at home and Bayern Munich have seen their 12 years of consecutive league titles come to an end. 

Both sides are primed to erase that hurt with a Champions League semi-final appearance but will Arsenal’s youth and vigor prevail or is it the hardy experienced Bavarians that will come on top?

Arsenal vs Bayern Munich: How the First Leg Went?

With the Gunners flying high in the Premier League, many suspected that Arteta’s men would get the job done quickly against a weakened Bayern Munich side that have suffered several defeats in 2024. At first, the match seemed to be like that, with Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka scoring in the 12th minute from a familiar Arsenal move on the right flank. But Tuchel and his side had a lot to say in response to that goal.

Targeting Arsenal’s weaker left wing, Sane and Goretzka wreaked havoc on the Arsenal defense, something that is rarely seen lately, as Gnabry scored a leveler and Sane drew a penalty from William Saliba. A penalty that Arsenal’s familiar enemy Harry Kane easily put past David Raya in the first half, sending Arteta’s men to the changing room with a defeat.

Photo via Bayernmunich.com

But if Tuchel can adapt to the opposition’s tactics on the fly, Arteta can too. The Spaniard made a couple of vital changes, bringing in Zinchenko, Trossard, and Gabriel Jesus, unlocking Arsenal’s left flank and mobility. It paid dividends by the end as Jesus and Trossard combined to score Arsenal’s equalizer, giving the Gunners a decent hope going into the second leg.

Both teams had legitimate shouts for penalties, both of which were not given, and the controversy around these was much discussed at the end of the first leg.

Of course what came after the game on the weekend should also be mentioned as Arsenal suffered a humiliating draw at home against Unai Emery’s Aston Villa, losing the perfect opportunity to go on top of the Premier League table, creating a 3-point gap between them and Liverpool. Similarly, Bayern saw the Invincible Bayer Leverkusen win its first-ever Bundesliga title in style, ending Bayern’s 12-season reign over the competition.

Bayern Munich vs Arsenal: Second-Leg Preview

Thomas Tuchel’s success at the top level has come primarily with him being a reactive coach when he gets to the latter stages of the competition. The German likes to target the opposition’s weaknesses and let them play exactly the way they want, hitting them on the counter and on their weak points. It’s how he won a Champions League title with a significantly weaker Chelsea side against Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City and it’s exactly how he neutralized Arsenal in the first leg…for the most part.

However, playing on home turf, Bayern are now pressured to play to their strength rather than react to the opposition’s style, which could be more in Arsenal’s favor. This would make the game a more open-season affair as both sides go out guns blazing in a one-off match for the UCL semi-final spot. Although, Bayern are slightly the favorites just because of their history and home turf advantage.

The first game saw Konrad Laimer and Goretzka locking Arsena’s 8s, Odegaard and Declan Rice, essentially paralyzing their playmaking abilities. Although countered that with the introduction of Zinchenco. Tuchel will likely deploy the same pivot. But Thomas Muller may come into the starting line-up replacing Gnabry but playing more centrally, pushing Musiala onto the left flank, acting as a playmaker alongside Kane. Bayern’s defense would stay the same as the first leg, with the exception of Mazraoui coming in for the suspended Alphonso Davies.

Arteta’s Counter Tactics

Photo via CNN.com

All these changes could be met gladly by Arsenal as it could help them open up Bayern’s weak defense. However, the Gunners have looked uncharacteristically shaky at the back recently and Arteta might start the stout Takehiro Tomiyasu as his left back, countering the Sane threat.

Martinelli has been a shadow of himself. So Arteta might toss a coin between Jesus and Trossard, starting them in his stead but the rest of Arsenal’s starting eleven would remain the same if Odegaard and Saka could make it to the match.

The question remains could Bayern’s 4-2-3-1 halt Arsenal’s impressive 4-3-3 once again? The Opta supercomputer predicted a close affair between the two sides with Bayern edging with a 40.9% win probability against Arsenal’s 33.2%. If the two sides cancel each other out the game might go to extra time and penalties but one thing is for sure: It will be a close affair.

Team News and Injuries

Bayern Munich will be missing key players like Serge Gnabry and Kingsley Coman with an injury while Leroy Sane is a doubt since he didn’t play in the weekend. As mentioned, Alphonso Davies is also suspended for FC Holywood.

Arsenal won’t have any notable players missing, except for Jurien Timber. Martin Odegaard is also reported to be fit for the game.

Predicted Line-Up

Bayern Munich (4-2-3-1): Neuer; Kimmich, De Ligt, Dier, Mazraoui; Laimer, Goretzka; Sane, Muller, Musiala; Kane.

Arsenal (4-3-3): Raya; White, Saliba, Gabriel, Tomiyasu; Jorginho, Rice, Odegaard; Saka, Havertz, Jesus.

Prediction

No matter the winner, this game won’t be a dull affair. There would be no time-wasting shenanigans from Bayern like the first leg and Arsenal will look to make history, making it really tough to predict.

In fact, the game has all the makings of a match that goes to penalties and that is exactly what we think will happen on Wednesday night. Arteta’s men were really up for it against Porto, so if the match is decided on the penalties, the Gunners are the favorites.

Prediction: Bayern Munich 1-1 Arsenal (Arsenal through on penalties)

Ethan Dempsey
Ethan Dempsey
Ethan is a lifelong football fan. When he is not obsessing over the Premier League games, Ethan likes to read fantasy tomes, watch football documentaries and waste hours upon hours on video games.
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