Arsenal Must Be Ready For Angry Bayern – Mertesacker

ArsenalDefender, Per Mertesacker says Arsenal must be ready for an “angry” Bayern Munich intent on revenge when they meet on Wednesday night.

The Gunners breathed life into their Champions League campaign with a 2-0 victory against the Bundesliga champions in October.

Mertesacker expects a strong response from Bayern at the Allianz Arena, and says Arsène Wenger’s side must be at the top of their game.

“They had a Friday night match (against Eintracht Frankfurt) so they are well prepared for midweek – they are clever, the Germans!” the Arsenal vice-captain said.

“We showed that we can beat them, that is a good sign but it will be a different game at their place. They are outstanding in their league, it will be a good game and both teams have a good chance to go through to the knockout stage.

“They will be angry I guess. We are the first team who really challenged them, so they will be on the ball and try to show that they are back and better than us.

“We need to get something out of this game, there is still a bit of pressure and urgency to perform. We need to perform and defend even better.”

Wenger Hails Joel Campbell’s Arsenal Resurgence

ArsenalArsène Wenger feels that Joel Campbell’s loan spells helped his strength of character.

The Costa Rica international was in fine form in Saturday’s 3-0 win at Swansea and scored his first Arsenal goal with a calm finish.

Wenger believes Campbell’s strike was important for his confidence, having had limited game time since his return to the club.

“I think he wanted to go (in the summer) because he didn’t play, which you can understand and as well because he didn’t play at all,” he said.

“Sometimes people want you to buy more and more players but after a while you have to look at your own players.

“He comes from Costa Rica, to get out of there and to come to (England) and to go to different leagues and survive, you need some character and he has shown that again today. In our job, all you can do is be ready and when you get your chance, take it and I think he did.

“When he came back he was on the waiting list and finally he got the chance and I’m very happy for him.

“I think he worked very hard, defended very well, created chances in the first half – he had that shot that was not that far off. He had another shot and in the second half he scored a goal and on top of that he worked very hard.”

Arsène Wenger added that he always knew that Joel Campbell had the attributes to succeed at Arsenal.

Meanwhile, Campbell has also expressed his joy at scoring his first goal for the club.

“I’m very happy,” he told Arsenal Player. “I had to wait for this moment and now we have to keep working to strengthen our team.

“I’m very happy but the important thing is the team wins. We had a good game so we have to keep going and prepare for the next game against Bayern Munich.

“The fans were incredible. They supported us the whole game and it was very important for us.”

The sweet away victory also saw Olivier Giroud scoring Arsenal’s 2,000th goal under Arsène Wenger.

The striker struck the opener in Saturday’s 3-0 win at Swansea to continue his fine run of six goals in as many games for club and country.

Arsenal now head to Munich on Wednesday to take on the German Champions, Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena in the Champions League.

Arsène Wenger’s side became the first team to beat Bayern Munich since the German Super Cup when winning their Champions League Group F fixture 2-0 at Emirates Stadium recently.

Champions League: Bayern Munich Won’t Give Up – Guardiola

Bayern Munich are not giving up hope as they go into their Champions League semi-final second leg against Barcelona on Tuesday night.

Although they trail the Spanish giants 3-0, they believe it is still only half-time in the clash between two of Europe’s leading clubs. There are still (at least) 90 minutes to play.

“What matters to us is a good result, ideally a win. Let’s wait and see if we can do even better than that,” Bayern Chairman, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, told FCB.tv free Web Radio.

“We’re neither pessimistic nor optimistic – we’re realistic. In other words: we have a small chance, but a small chance is also a chance.”

Pep Guardiola took a similar view. “We won’t give up. We’re 3-0 down to the best European team of the last 15 to 20 years. But we’ll give it a try.

“We need to control the play. They have outstanding counter-attacking players. If we don’t keep our shape, they’ll punish us brutally,” the coach warned.

Guardiola urged his men to take the few chances that come their way. “Obviously we have to attack better than we did in Barcelona, where we weren’t able to create meaningful chances.”

Bayern Striker, Thomas Müller, also expressed cautious optimism ahead of the game, preferring to depend on the “passion, desire and support from the fans”.

Speaking to the media at the Allianz Arena, he said, “We have nothing to lose and we have to go for it. We’ll give it everything and keep believing until the ref blows the final whistle.”

I Have Nothing To Prove To Chelsea – Drogba

Didier DrogbaDidier Drogba will have to fight hard to control his emotions when he returns to Stamford Bridge for Galatasaray’s Champions League last-16 second leg against Chelsea, the Ivorian said on the eve of Tuesday’s (March 18) match.

The 36-year-old striker ended a glittering eight-year career with the London club by scoring the winning penalty in the 2012 Champions League shootout victory over Bayern Munich in the final at the Allianz Arena.

After a hesitant start to Galatasaray’s pre-match news conference, Drogba had the reporters in stitches.

“I’ll ask myself the first question,” he said. ‘Didier, how do you feel about returning to Stamford Bridge?

“Well, I’m really happy to come back and to see some familiar faces for a big game in a big competition.

“It’s very difficult to play against Chelsea but it’s not going to be difficult for me to put myself in competition with them because now I belong to Galatasaray and I need to be professional,” said Drogba.

“Of course there will be emotion playing against my ex-team mates, like there was in the first leg,” he added in reference to the opening match in Istanbul that ended in a 1-1 draw.

The big, powerful centre forward was once voted the best player in Chelsea’s history and he said he did not know how he would react if he scored a goal on Tuesday.

Drogba said if he scores against the Blues he might not celebrate the goal, adding: “I have nothing to prove to this club everything I had to prove I proved it with Chelsea. Now I come here with another team and I just want to win the game, I just want to qualify, there is nothing personal against Chelsea, there will never be.”

Drogba also won three Premier League titles, four FA Cups and two League Cups at Chelsea, scoring 157 goals in 341 appearances between 2004 and 2012.

Fernando Torres gave Chelsea an early lead in Istanbul but Galatasaray equalised through Aurelien Chedjou to leave the tie delicately balanced in Chelsea’s favour.

Galatasaray Coach, Roberto Mancini used to be in charge at Manchester City and said he had good memories of his time in the English Premier league.

However, turning to the task at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday, the Italian said: “We know it is really difficult because Chelsea is one of the best teams in Europe, but in football, never say never, anything can happen if you believe in yourself and we want to do a good job tomorrow.”

EPL: Tomas Rosicky Determined To Win With Arsenal

Tomas Rosicky celebrates Arsenal's third goal with the scorer of the first two, Olivier Giroud. Reuters

Tomas Rosicky has pledged his future to Arsenal in the belief that the club has all that they needs to end their lengthy trophy drought.

The Czech playmaker is out of contract at the end of the 2013/14 season, but Arsenal Manager, Arsene Wenger revealed at the weekend that he expects that Rosicky would sign a new deal in the coming weeks.

The 33-year-old, who joined Arsenal from Borussia Dortmund in 2006, impressed when he took the place of Mesut Ozil in the team against Sunderland on Saturday, crowning his performance with a sublime goal.

Rosicky’s time at the club has been hampered by a number of injuries, and he missed the entire 2008-09 season due to a hamstring tendon problem that almost ended his career.

But he is back in Wenger’s plans and remains convinced he is at the right place to win silverware sooner rather than later.

“I always believed in it here at Arsenal and still do. I knew this club was the right place for me and I want to be here for as long as I can,” Rosicky told the official Arsenal magazine.

“It is obviously very difficult to predict how long I can go on for, (but) I feel very good. I don’t feel any different than in the past, I don’t feel any change in myself.

“All I can say is that I still have a big passion to achieve things and that is really important.

“You must have that force, that drive to go on and achieve something and I definitely still have that.

“I was nearly out of the game because of injury, so I have a different approach now because I know it could end at any point. I just want to be successful with Arsenal.

“I won three titles in the Czech Republic before I left (Sparta Prague), I won the Bundesliga with Dortmund and I still believe I can do it here.

“I wouldn’t stay here if I didn’t believe.

“The idea of winning the (Premier) League and the Champions League really drives me forward, I love it”, Rosicky said.

Champions League: Belief Is The Key For Arsenal – Wenger

Arsenal have the belief to challenge Champions League holders Bayern Munich in the first leg of the last-16 more effectively than they did a year ago, Coach Arsene Wenger said on Tuesday (February 18).

Having met at the same stage of the competition last season, Arsenal will be out to avenge defeat by Bayern as, despite winning the second leg 2-0 at the Allianz Arena, they were eliminated on away goals after losing 3-1 at home.

At the start of February, Wenger identified it as a crucial month for the London side and results so far in the tougher games have been mixed.

They beat Liverpool 2-1 in the FA Cup to avenge a 5-1 drubbing in the Premier League and drew 0-0 with defending champions Manchester United.

At a news conference on Tuesday (February 18), Wenger took heart from the FA Cup wins over Liverpool and over local rivals Tottenham in the previous round as he prepared his side to face champions Bayern.

“We know that we face the favourites of the competition and what we have is belief, because on the opposite we have had only big games in the Champions League and in the FA Cup because we played against Tottenham, we played against Liverpool. Since the start of the season we know that in every single game we have to be 100 percent. We believe we can do it but that is down to the quality of our performance tomorrow,” said the Frenchman.

“It gave us belief to finish well the season last year and from then on I think as well since the start of the season we have done well. We are in a strong position and it’s now down to us how we can from game to game show the same focus as against Liverpool.”

“I think we are in much better mental shape than we were one year ago because we lost against Blackburn (Rovers) at home in the FA Cup and it was a big disappointment for us, this time we won against Liverpool and we are really determined of course to win this game tomorrow.

“We have a strong team spirit that is for sure and a strong desire to do well and a united team. But it’s important as well; I believe we always had these kinds of qualities but not always the belief. Belief is built by the results and on that front we are stronger of course.”

Wenger is expected to ring the changes against a Bayern side that have lost once in 34 games and won 13 straight Bundesliga matches.

Santi Cazorla, Kieran Gibbs, Olivier Giroud, Bacary Sagna and Wojciech Szczcesny are all pushing for starts and with Mikel Arteta suspended, Tomas Rosicky could start in midfield alongside Mathieu Flamini.

Jack Wilshere may also bolster Arsenal’s midfield in view of the difficult task of stifling Bayern’s powerhouse midfield, with Schweinsteiger, Tony Kroos and Javi Martinez supplying balls for Thomas Mueller, Arjen Robben and Mario Mandzukic.

The 20-year-old England international is confident Arsenal can rise to the challenge posed by the German side.

“We’ve spoken about the importance of staying in the game, if it’s 0-0 at home we’ve still got a big chance of qualifying, the away goal is massive in this competition, especially when it comes to these big games.

“That’s what we saw last year, we went out on away goals and this year we’ve got to be a bit more intelligent and stay in the game,” said Wilshere, who has scored two goals in six Champions League appearances this season.

Schweinsteiger apologises to President Gauck for purported snub

Bastian Schweinsteiger, Bayern Munich forward player who missed his penalty the night Chelsea claimed the Champions League final played on Saturday was paralysed with disappointed that he claimed he did not see German President Joachim offer his hand to him.

Schweinsteiger apologised for the incident but said he did not intentionally snub Gauck as the team collected their medals following the penalty shootout defeat by Chelsea.

Schweinsteiger said on Bayern’s website that “It’s a misunderstanding,”.

The Bayern Munich forward man asked that people should place themselves in his shoes and look at the photo taken of him and the German President would see that after such a great disappointment, he was not aware of what was going on around him.

“I was desperate, disappointed, as if I was paralysed. I didn’t see the president’s hand.

“I’m sorry that in that moment I left the wrong impression. I would like to apologise to the president.”