Per Mertesacker says Arsenal must “destroy” Bayern Munich’s possession-based game if they are to beat them on Wednesday night.
The German side have been in imperious form in the Bundesliga under new manager Pep Guardiola, and are unbeaten in 21 domestic games.
Mertesacker believes Bayern are even stronger than last season, when they won the Champions League, but he says Arsenal will be ready for them.
"They don’t just have 11 players, they have nearly two teams who can compete on a Champions League level, so they are the toughest opponent you can get in Europe"
“Bayern were very strong last year, they achieved everything, they got the treble and were very sharp and almost the perfect team,” Mertesacker told Arsenal Player.
“But with Guardiola in charge, they look even sharper. They look to get even more possession, which is nearly impossible but he has put something in, that Barca style. I think they have improved this season on what they are doing so it will be a really tough one and demands a lot from our side - mainly defensively.
“Can we cope with that possession, can we cope with their qualities? They don’t just have 11 players, they have nearly two teams who can compete on a Champions League level, so they are the toughest opponent you can get in Europe.
“We know their players quite well so that will be interesting for us. We know each other but we need to think about our team shape and how we can destroy their possession.”
Mertesacker says the Gunners will take confidence from last year’s second leg against Bayern, when goals from Olivier Giroud and Laurent Koscielny secured a 2-0 victory.
“In the first game we looked a bit timid, a bit frightened and had too much respect,” he said. “We were a bit frightened to play our game. We realised that in the second half when we scored, and had a decent chance to level, but the main trust and belief in ourselves has to come out of the second game.
“We took advantage that they maybe underestimated us a little bit and went through that game and thought, ‘We are strong enough to beat the best team in Europe’. That gave us a massive lift in the last 10 games of the Premier League, when we didn’t lose.”
Copyright 2018 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.