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Arsenal v Bayern Munich: Lahm wary of slow-starting Gunners

Bayern Munich defender Philipp Lahm says Arsenal are a better side than their opening two Champions League defeats suggest ahead of the teams’ meeting at the Emirates Stadium on Tuesday.

The Gunners go into the match under big pressure to pick up a result if they are to stand a realistic chances of reaching the last 16, having lost to Dinamo Zagreb and Olympiakos in their opening two matches.

Bayern, by contrast, have beaten the same two opponents and scored eight goals without conceding, meaning they comfortably sit at the top of Group F.

“Anybody who knows about football also knows that Arsenal are better than the way they have started this season in Europe, with two defeats,” Lahm told the Bundesliga’s official website.

“They have got some very, very dangerous individuals and certainly it is not going to be easy, but we are ready. We take all of our opponents seriously, otherwise you don’t win nine games in a row in the Bundesliga.

“We are going to London two days before the game because you always have a lot of travelling to do in London and you often spend a lot of time in traffic and it takes more than an hour to get to training.

“It is not the first time we are travelling two days in advance. It is just the way it is, even if we would prefer to stay at home. We always prepare ourselves professionally.”

Arsenal and Bayern are familiar opponents, with this clash to be their third double-header in the last four seasons. The 2013 and 2014 meetings were in the last-16 stage, with Pep Guardiola’s side progressing on both occasions, winning the leg which took place at the Emirates on each occasion.

Arsene Wenger’s men are in uncharted territory – they have never lost their opening two group-stage fixtures before. The Gunners are also yet to experience three Champions League group-stage defeats, a record which is under threat against Bayern.

Arsenal have made the knockout stages for 12 straight years but are aware that run is in serious danger, with Theo Walcott emphasising the importance of winning the clash against a side who have reached the semi-finals in five of the previous six editions of the competitions.

“Playing against Bayern and their quality is of course going to be a challenge for us, but we are at home with our support and we need a similar sort of performance like we had against Manchester United,” said the England striker.

“We know we can beat anyone and we are going to be completely ready for this one. We need to move on from the first couple of results in the Champions League.

“We know we are capable of getting results against Bayern and we want to put things right. Looking at our last Premier League home match against United, the intensity of our game was different to what it was like against Olympiakos in the Champions League.”

Arsenal warmed up for the crucial tie with an impressive 3-0 victory away to Watford, while Bayern won 1-0 at Werder Bremen to make it nine successive wins to open the Bundesliga season.

Sun 18 Oct, 2015
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