Mertesacker considers Bayern “untouchable”

He still hopes that the Gunners can spring an upset when the sides meet tomorrow night

 Arsenal’s Per Mertesacker celebrates after the FA Cup fifth round  match against Liverpool.  Photograph: Gerry Penny/EPA

Arsenal’s Per Mertesacker celebrates after the FA Cup fifth round match against Liverpool. Photograph: Gerry Penny/EPA

Tue, Feb 18, 2014, 12:11

Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker believes Bayern Munich are “untouchable” but is still hoping the Gunners can spring an upset when they meet in the Champions League tomorrow night.

The European champions have suffered just two competitive defeats since losing 2-0 in the last 16 against Arsene Wenger’s men last March, with Borussia Dortmund overcoming them in the German Supercup and Manchester City beating them at home in the group stages of this season’s competition.

Arsenal’s 2-0 victory in Munich came after a 3-1 first-leg defeat at the Emirates Stadium, and Germany international Mertesacker reckons the current Bayern are a better team than the one that triumphed last year in London.

“Bayern are untouchable at the moment, both in the Bundesliga and in Europe. The only thing that makes me positive is that we beat them in Munich last year.

“That allows us to go into the game with a certain degree of faith. We’re going to give it our best.”

Keeping things tight in the first leg will be Arsenal’s key to progressing this time around, although that is easier said than done.

Bayern have scored 57 goals in their 21 Bundesliga matches this season and conceded only nine, to open up a 16-point cushion over Bayer Leverkusen at the top of the table.

“They’re a little bit better in every department under Pep Guardiola,” Mertesacker said. “They’ve set a new benchmark. We’re going to have to get a different result this time because the 3-1 defeat practically decided the tie last year. That was the decisive game.”

Group G

PosNamePldWDLFAPts
1Atlético de Madrid651016
2Zenit Saint Petersburg61326
3FC Porto61235
4FK Austria Wien61235
Full Group G standings

Group H

PosNamePldWDLFAPts
1FC Barcelona641113
2AC Milan62319
3Ajax62228
4Celtic61053
Full Group H standings