Graeme Souness
Football Expert & Columnist

Arsenal v Bayern Munich: Graeme Souness says Germans have much motivation

Bayern v Arsenal: last year's game at Allianz Arena will influence both sides, says Souness

Last season, Bayern Munich were the team to beat in the Champions League. We saw that when they went to the Emirates and won 3-1 very comfortably.

We also saw it in the rounds that followed. I will never forget sitting in the Camp Nou and looking at the figures written at the bottom of the screen and pinching myself because it said: Barcelona 0-7 Bayern Munich.

They were the team to beat back then and, right now, they are the team to beat once again in this competition. Obviously a lot can happen with form and fitness between now and May, but if the final was to be played at the end of this month, then they would be my favourites.

So it is an uphill task for Arsenal to get through, but they will be buoyed by the way they played in the second leg in Munich last season.

I was in the Allianz Arena for that game and Bayern almost appeared to be caught between two stools. They didn't know whether to go and try to score more goals or sit back and see what Arsenal had to offer.

Arsenal started that game very brightly and got an early goal and that put Bayern in a situation where they didn't know whether to stick or twist. On the night, Arsenal played very well and things became very nervy for the Germans when Laurent Koscielny scored late on. In the end Bayern only went through on away goals.

That turned out to be a pivotal moment for Arsenal because they went on to have a very good end to the season and finished in the top four in the Premier League. They have carried on that form this year and can look back on that performance with fond memories as they prepare for this match.

Bayern complacency?

Bayern have the chance to become the first side to go undefeated through a Bundesliga season and common sense might tell you that complacency could sneak in when you are 16 points ahead in the German league.

There's a theory that that complacency could affect their Champions League bid, but I don't see it that way. This is a different competition and the players will all be looking forward to a different challenge.

They will all know that Arsenal did a number on them in their own stadium last year and I would think that would make them double angry, so I don't think complacency will come into it. These players have a gear to step up into and I think you'll see that in the Champions League.

Franck Ribery will miss the game, but Bayern have a big squad and have coped with injuries already this season. The likes of Bastian Schweinsteiger and Javi Martinez were missing a few months ago and yet they have gone from strength to strength.

Arsenal v Bayern Munich – Best of Enemies

There's never a good time to play this team because - and I remember thinking this last year - they are truly a team without a weakness. Of course Ribery will be missed, but they are a very strong group and have players to come in and perform in that position.

A clean sheet is vital for Arsenal on Wednesday night and we've seen that Bayern Munich are a team that can be beaten when they are not bang at it. We saw that against Manchester City earlier this season and we also saw it when Arsenal went there last year.

They are vulnerable when they are not on top of their game - but you can say that about any team. Personally, I think Bayern will be prepared for Arsenal and I'm sure Pep Guardiola will be telling them more than once that this team tripped them up last year and could do so again.

He will use that reminder as a motivation because right now, his number-one priority is to make sure that complacency doesn't set in for this Bayern Munich group.

Arsenal vulnerable

Personally, I think they will go through. Last year's result at the Allianz Arena is a reminder that Arsenal are a good team on their day, but I'm not sure if they are a better team now than they were back then.

They rely heavily on their midfielders to get goals. Olivier Giroud is their only obvious centre-forward and while I suspect Arsene Wenger tried to strengthen that area in the January window, he couldn't get the one he wanted so kept his powder dry.

Redknapp's Champions League Preview

Arsenal have had a very good defensive record this season and are second in our league, but this is a team that have conceded six goals against Manchester City and five goals against Liverpool. Their performances are almost polarised; they can be brilliant against the lesser teams, but have found life difficult against the better ones.

I would question whether a team that can conceded five and six goals in two games can go and win any of the big competitions. I don't see them as first, second or maybe even third favourites in either the Premier League or the Champions League.

Let's see if I'm right or wrong.