Bayern look to nail quarters berth

Bayern look to nail quarters berth

Bayern look to nail quarters berth

 Pep Guardiola is well known to be a perfectionist and even Saturday's 6-1 win at VfL Wolfsburg in the Bundesliga has failed to fully satisfy the demanding Bayern Munich manager.

"We scored four or five goals in a 20 minute spell but they were all on the counter-attack," said Guardiola, whose side host Arsenal in Tuesday's second leg with a 2-0 lead from the first match.

"We did not dominate the match in the way we have dominated previous games," he said after Bayern scored five times in the last half hour, having fallen behind in the first half.

"I know Arsenal very well. They are good enough to keep possession for a long time," added the Spaniard.  "We must dominate them with the ball.

"If we have the ball, we will get to the quarter-final. If Arsenal have the ball, they will get to the quarterfinal."

On paper, Arsenal appear to have an almost hopeless task against Bayern, who are threatening to better last season's treble-winning performance when they won the Bundesliga, German Cup and Champions League. The Bavarians have won their last 16 Bundesliga matches and scored 26 goals in their last six.

They have played 39 matches this season, including the German Supercup, European Supercup and Club World Cup, and won 34 of them, losing only twice.

They have even won games such as Saturday's where they were forced to defend for long periods.

"We don't need many chances to score," said winger Thomas Muller. "When we are given space, we use it ruthlessly."

But there are some grounds for Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger to be hopeful as they attempt to avoid a fourth successive round of 16 exit.

Bayern's last three matches against English sides at their Allianz Arena have ended in defeat.

They were beaten on penalties by Chelsea in the 2012 Champions League final after a 1-1 draw, although the stadium was officially classed as a neutral venue for that game.

Bayern lost 2-0 at home to Arsenal at the same stage of the Champions League last season, after they had won the first leg 3-1.

Then, Manchester City came from two goals behind to win 3-2 at the Allianz Arena in this season's group stage.

Arsenal's 4-1 win over Everton in the FA Cup on Saturday, and a goal from German midfielder Mesut Ozil, has given Wenger renewed optimism.

"It was important for us to win, to put us in a good mind on the psychological front," said Wenger, whose side lost at home and won away against Borussia Dortmund in the group stage. "We can be inspired by our focus on the day, by our desire and go to Bayern with the same spirit.

"The statistics go against us when we go to Bayern, but let's make sure that the performance goes for us. Then we have a chance."

Atletico favourites

David Villa has been unable to rediscover his consistency since he broke his leg in late 2011 but Spain's record scorer could still be crucial to Atletico Madrid's hopes of Champions League success this season.

The 32-year-old Asturian, who has played second fiddle to Atletico's Brazil-born forward Diego Costa for most of the season, showed with a La Liga double at Celta Vigo on Saturday he still has the positional sense and predatory instinct that helped him score 56 goals in 95 appearances for the world and European champions.
Villa was filling in for the suspended Costa at Celta and represents a potentially lethal backup weapon in coach Diego Simeone's armoury as Atletico seek a place in the last eight of Europe's elite club competition for the first time since 1997 at home to AC Milan on Tuesday.

The Spanish capital's second club lead 1-0 from last month's first leg at the San Siro, when Costa headed the only goal seven minutes from time, and are firm favourites to advance to the quarterfinals given that they have won 15 of their last 16 European home games.

With Costa available again, Villa may not feature at the Calderon but he has experience of scoring against the seven-times European champions and any coach would be delighted to have him in reserve.

"He thrives on goals, he is a specialist," Simeone told a news conference after the win in Vigo. "He has a precision and conviction that have marked out his career," added the former Argentina midfielder, who was playing for Atletico the last time they reached the Champions League quarter-finals 17 years ago.