Per Mertesacker believes Bayern Munich’s “German efficiency” is what makes them so formidable - but insists Arsenal should play with no fear on Tuesday night.
Jupp Heynckes’ side have only lost once in 22 league games and are 15 points clear at the top of the Bundesliga, while they also reached the final of the Champions League last season.
While Mertesacker admires Munich’s record, he says the Gunners have the quality to record a first-leg victory at Emirates Stadium.
“They always have a strong squad,” the centre back told Arsenal Player. “In the past year, they’ve done quite well. They’ve got good players and have a good coach as well.
“Jupp Heynckes is very experienced and he knows what is needed to cope with different players and good players at a big club. He can cope with every situation. It’s the German efficiency that makes them very strong, especially this season.
“Bayern always play for the first two places in the Bundesliga and always have a strong squad. They are always ahead of the game and it’s very respectful to play against them. But we should not be scared - we have to play with full confidence.”
Having spent the majority of his career in the Bundesliga, Mertesacker has plenty of experience of facing Bayern and he is eagerly anticipating Tuesday night’s match.
“It’s always special to face a German team,” he said. “[Me and Lukas Podolski] are looking forward to it because Bayern Munich are a great team and are so consistent this year. It’s a special game for German players to play against a team from their home country.
“I know their players quite well, so maybe in some situations you can see what your opponent is going to do. Sometimes it can help. I spent a lot of games together with a few players in the national team. It’s good to see them again but that’s it.”
Use our Twitter hashtag to join the match conversation: #AFCvBAY
Arsenal to win @11/4
Copyright 2013 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source
19 Feb 2013