Bayern Dealt Ribery Blow, Robben Doubtful too
Bayern Munich winger Franck Ribery has injured his ankle and will not play any part in his club’s upcoming UEFA Champions League clash with Arsenal.
The 29-year-old Frenchman strained a ligament in his left ankle during the Bavarians’ 3-2 defeat of Fortuna Dusseldorf at the weekend. In addition to Ribery, the Germans will also be missing the services of suspended duo Bastian Schweinsteiger and Jerome Boateng in the second leg against the Gunners at Allianz Arena.
Winger Arjen Robben is another one who caused Arsenal plenty of problems in the first leg but is struggling to overcome a calf injury. He hasn’t been ruled out completely though.
Ribery and Robben are Bayern’s primary attacking outlet from the wings and their absence could provide a major boost to the Londoners, who trail 3-1 from the first leg. The Bundesliga leaders’ problems could also provide a bit of hope to the disgruntled Gooners.
February was a month to forget for Arsenal fans as they endured their team’s limp performances in home defeats to Blackburn Rovers and Bayern, before suffering some more with the 2-1 loss at White Hart Lane to bitter rivals Tottenham Hotspur. Facing a Bayern side sans four quality starters makes the equation a lot better for the Gunners, and also allows the supporters to be a bit more optimistic.
Coach Juup Heynckes will likely draft Luiz Gustavo and Xherdan Shaqiri into his starting line-up as replacements for the injured and suspended.
Hoeness Talks about Bayern’s Failed Attempts to Sign Wenger
Bayern Munich President Uli Hoeness has revealed that his club have tried to sign Arsene Wenger for the managerial position at Allianz Arena on several occasions in the past.
Ahead of the Bavarian’s Round of 16 UCL second-leg clash with Arsenal, Hoeness told the press that he has huge respect for the Gunners boss and shared how they failed with their attempts to bring the Frenchman to Germany.
The Sun have quoted him as saying: “We did try to get him at Bayern Munich a few times. Even before he went to Japan (in 1995), Franz Beckenbauer and I went to Nice and discussed with him and everything was clear, but then at the end of the day he decided to go to Japan.
“We were very surprised. From Japan he went to Arsenal and over the years, whenever we were looking for a new coach, Wenger was always one we considered. He’s a very serious person, very strong and has a very good idea about the game.
“There have been a few moments where we have discussed his name over the years. He has always remained loyal to Arsenal which is fantastic behaviour. But it is true we wanted him at Bayern a few times.”
Wenger Urges Gunners to Make ‘Impossible Possible’
Arsene Wenger believes that Arsenal still have a chance of qualifying for the Champions League quarter-final at the expense of Bayern Munich and urged his charges to make ‘impossible possible’ tomorrow night at Allianz Arena.
The Gunners lost the first leg 3-1 and now need to cause a major upset in Germany to keep their European campaign alive. While the task is certainly difficult, the Arsenal manager feels his men can do the job.
In an interview with Arsenal Player, Wenger said: “There have been a few wins by Arsenal in the Champions League that we are all very proud of. We just have to convince ourselves that we can do it in Munich as well. Yes, the chance is small, but the chance makes the impossible possible. That would be a great credit for our team if we do it. We have to try to achieve it.”
Cazorla Loving Life in London
Santi Cazorla has expressed his delight with the way his debut season in the Premier League has gone at a personal level.
The 28-year-old Spaniard has been one of the few bright points of an otherwise disappointing season for the Gunners, and he says that he is satisfied with the start to his Arsenal career.
In an interview with Arsenal.com, Cazorla said: “I think I’ve had a positive seven months personally as I have been able to come to a team like Arsenal and play in a great league like the Premier League. It is a bit different to La Liga in Spain but I’ve adapted very well and I think Arsenal’s style of play has made it a lot easier for me.”
Talking about the team’s collective struggles this season, he added: “On the pitch, we have definitely had our ups and downs, there have been good times and bad times. I think that the team has lacked a bit of consistency and sometimes we have made mistakes that have cost us dearly. Removing these from our game will help us improve in the future.
“But it hasn’t been difficult adapting to Arsenal’s style of play or even to the Premier League. It is a bit different to La Liga in Spain but I’ve adapted very well and I think Arsenal’s style of play has made it a lot easier for me. I was expecting to come into a league that would be a bit more physical, a bit quicker, and had a greater intensity than what I was used to. I was prepared for that, especially the physical side, so I don’t think it was hard for me to adapt.”
Awestruck Jenkinson Wants to Stay Alive In Champions League
Carl Jenkinson has described Champions League as ‘the pinnacle of football’ and vowed to do all he can to keep Arsenal in the competition at the expense of Bayern Munich.
The 21-year-old defender says it was his childhood dream to play in the Champions League, and now that he is doing just that, he doesn’t want to leave the competition.
Ahead of Arsenal’s difficult UCL clash with Bayern Munich in Germany, Jenkinson told Arsenal.com: “I’ve learned and realised that the Champions League is just the pinnacle of football. When I was growing up watching the Champions League, it’s the competition you dream of playing in. The build-up, the song that’s played before the game that sends shivers down your spine, everything about the Champions League is just classy. It’s where you want to be as a footballer.
“I love playing in it. I’ve been lucky enough to play a few games in it, and I’ve enjoyed every minute. I used to go to games when I was younger, and I’d be at school telling my mates I’m going to the Champions League tonight’s. It’s just a big buzz. There’s such an aura about the Champions League. It’s a fantastic tournament and I can’t get enough of it.”
City to Rival Arsenal for Maher’s Signature
Arsenal will face competition from Manchester City in the race to sign AZ Alkmaar starlet Adam Maher, according to a report by Daily Mail.
The Gunners were linked with a move for the exciting 19-year-old midfielder in January but an official bid was never launched. It was believed that the Londoners will try to sign him in the summer but apparently City also want him as a replacement for their out-of-favour playmaker Samir Nasri.
Back in January, Alkmaar boss Gertjan Verbeek had all but pleaded with Arsene Wenger to take Maher off his hands and work his magic on him.
“I think Arsenal is a perfect club for him. With Arsene Wenger, who worked with young talents like him before. He can get the most out of himself at Arsenal. Look at Robin van Persie. He joined Arsenal at a young age, and look at what he achieved,” Verbeek said.