Bayern will not underestimate Arsenal again, says Hitzfeld

The current Switzerland boss is optimistic about the Bundesliga leaders’s chances of reaching the Champions League last eight after they almost surrendered victory last season

Former Bayern Munich coach Ottmar Hitzfeld has stressed that the Bundesliga champions will not take the Champions League round of 16 tie against Arsenal lightly.

The Gunners were beaten 3-1 in the home leg in last season’s encounter but came close to stunning the eventual winners when they won 2-0 at the Allianz Arena in the second leg, ultimately losing out to the German champions on away goals.

Hitzfeld has acknowledged the quality at Arsene Wenger’s disposal but believes the Bavarians will have learned from their complacency in the 2012-13 encounter.

“Of course, Arsenal are a top team, but Bayern know them very well. They seemed to underestimate them in last year’s second leg, but that will not happen again,” Hitzfeld told AZ.

“Bayern will have learned from last year’s mistakes.

“Arsenal might have Mesut Ozil, Santi Cazorla, Olivier Giroud and Lukas Podolski, but Bayern will progress.”

Bayern will visit the Emirates Stadium for the first leg on February 18/19 or 25/26 before the return fixture in March.

Bayern Munich-Guangzhou Evergrande Betting Preview: Ruthless Roten to ease to victory

Pep Guardiola is determined to collect his third Club World Cup medal this winter and our tipster expects his team to prove their class against their Chinese opponents in Agadir

Bayern Munich will be looking for their fourth title of 2013 when they travel to Morocco to take on Guangzhou Evergrande in the Club World Cup semi-final on Tuesday.

Having lifted the Champions League, Bundesliga and DFB-Pokal already this year, die Roten are clear 1/8 (1.13) favourites with Paddy Power to make it to another final with victory at the Stade d’Agadir.

The Chinese and Asian champions overcame African champions Al Ahly in Saturday’s quarter-final and are available at a lengthy 14/1 (15.00) to become the first ever team from their continent to reach the final in this competition.

Marcelo Lippi’s men won the Asian Champions League on away goals after recording two draws in the two-legged final against FC Seoul and you can get odds of 15/2 (8.50) on them holding their opponents to a stalemate within 90 minutes this evening.

While this tournament is not always held in the highest esteem by its European participants, Pep Guardiola has left nobody in any doubt that he is determined to collect the title that he won twice while in charge of Barcelona.

In fact, the Catalan criticised his players for already having one eye on their upcoming match in north Africa after Saturday’s league game against Hamburg, a match they still won 3-1 to maintain their unbeaten start to the Bundesliga campaign and extend their domestic winning streak to eight successive matches.

This intense winning mentality will ensure the Germans show their opponents no mercy in their unrelenting hunt for silverware, while the location for this year’s competition should rule out the concerns over jetlag or climate that have plagued European teams in previous editions.

While the Southern China Dragons should not be underestimated after losing just four competitive games all year under the expert stewardship of their veteran Italian coach, their recent friendly results against European opponents paint a bleak picture of the gulf in quality that still exists between the two continents.

Having lost against modest eastern European opposition in FC Krasnodar and Rapid Bucharest this year, it is difficult to see Guangzhou posing too many problems to a team of continental champions that have scored 64 goals and conceded just 15 in 24 competitive games this season, meaning odds of 10/11 (1.91) are surely too good to pass up on Bayern winning by at least three goals.
 


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Al Hain-Cole is an experienced tipster and avid follower of European football. He specialises in accumulators and if you would like to read more from Al you can follow him on Twitter here.

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Lahm: We didn't want Arsenal

Bayern Munich captain says his side were hoping to avoid the Gunners in the Champions League last 16 draw but is still confident of advancing to the next round

Philipp Lahm has admitted that Bayern Munich did not want to face Arsenal in the last 16 of the Champions League.

The reigning European champions overcame the Gunners at this stage of the competition last term en route to the title and were handed a repeat tie against Arsene Wenger’s men.

The north Londoners overcame Bayern last term at the Allianz Arena and also claimed victory against Borussia Dortmund last month in Germany and Lahm believes the draw has been harsh on his side.

“They are the strongest team that we could have drawn, and it’s certainly not what we were hoping for,” Lahm told reporters.

“Arsenal have made some quality new signings and will prove a real challenge for us, but our goal is obviously to reach the next round.”

And Lahm’s defensive companion Jerome Boateng says he is also expecting a testing encounter.

“Arsenal are the toughest team that we could have drawn. They will be highly motivated after we knocked them out last season and we are expecting two very intense games.”

'PSG have the mental strength to stop Bayern' – Relive our Champions League draw Q n A

Competitions

Schedule

Table

Team P Pts

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Predict & Bet

  • AC Milan – Roma
  • Leicester – Manchester City FC
  • Sunderland – Chelsea FC
  • FC Barcelona – F.C. Cartagena
  • Olympiakos Piraeus – PAS Giannena
Top predictions Odds
MIL 2-1 ROM

10.00

MIL 1-2 ROM

12.00

MIL 0-2 ROM

17.00

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MIL 2-1 ROM

9.50

MIL 1-2 ROM

11.00

MIL 0-2 ROM

15.00

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MIL 2-1 ROM

9.00

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11.00

MIL 0-2 ROM

15.00

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MIL 0-2 ROM
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MIL 2-1 ROM

9.50

MIL 1-2 ROM

11.00

MIL 0-2 ROM

15.00

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MIL 2-1 ROM

8.25

MIL 1-2 ROM

9.25

MIL 0-2 ROM

12.50

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LEI 0-7 MNC
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FCB 5-0 CAR
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Arsenal and Manchester City pay price for not winning their Champions League group

Manuel Pellegrini’s side were paired with Barcelona and Arsene Wenger’s men face Bayern Munich, but both clubs will feel the tough last-16 ties were avoidable

COMMENT
By Kris Voakes | International Football Correspondent

There are major losers in most Champions League draws, but not always do they come from the same part of the world. And while one of them sit top of the Premier League this morning and the other can boast a 6-3 weekend win over the same side, both Arsenal and Manchester City will be thinking about what might have been after the last-16 pairings were unveiled in Nyon on Monday.

Manuel Pellegrini will not be convinced that Barcelona respresent the toughest draw his team could have been handed, but the Manchester City boss will still have a huge job on his hands to ensure that they’re back in Nyon for the quarter-final draw in March.

The Catalan giants are not the frightening proposition they were three seasons ago, with their suspect defence being highlighted widely as the way in for opponents looking for an opening, but they remain a tough prospect for a City side playing in the knockout stages of the Champions League for the first time ever.

ROUND OF 16 DRAW
Manchester City
Olympiakos
Milan
Bayer Leverkusen
Galatasaray
Schalke
Zenit
Arsenal

v
v
v
v
v
v
v
v
Barcelona
Manchester United
Atletico
PSG
Chelsea
Real Madrid
Dortmund
Bayern

Having come within one goal of toppling Bayern Munich to win Group D, the Citizens may be left kicking themselves for their inability to ensure an easier path. The visit of Lionel Messi, Neymar et al will represent the Etihad Stadium’s greatest ever occasion to date, but will also be the biggest test of what this City side is capable of.

Arsenal, meanwhile, got the toughest draw of the lot, with Bayern set to visit the Emirates Stadium just as they did in 2012-13.

Arsene Wenger will tell his side that last season’s second-leg win in Munich proves that they have the measure of the European champions. He’ll also point to FC Hollywood’s loss to Manchester City last week as further evidence that Pep Guardiola’s men can be overturned. But in reality, he would have rather seen any other name come out alongside that of the Gunners.

Like City, the Premier League leaders could have won their group. In fact, they should have won it. Group F may well have been this season’s ‘Group of Death’, but having got themselves into a great position ahead of matchday six, they have ultimately paid the price for not finishing the job off in Naples.

Pep’s Bayern look more likely than any side ever has to becoming the Champions League’s first back-to-back winners. Two meaningless defeats to City and Arsenal, plus a Superpokal loss to Borussia Dortmund, represent their only defeats of 2013. And given the way they are playing under the former Barca boss, there might not be too many more losses on the cards in 2014.

Arsenal’s 6-3 loss at the Etihad on Saturday gave clarity to the argument that Wenger’s side can be overcome by a fast, penetrative opponent who put the emphasis on the Gunners’ defensive third, and Bayern will look to do exactly the same come February.

If only they, like City, had taken the chance they had and topped their group, they might be relishing what lies ahead, instead of looking fearful.

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