Arsenal travel to Munich for the first leg of their UEFA Champions League quarter-final against Bayern at the Allianz Arena. Having been knocked out at this stage by German opposition (Wolfsburg) last year, the Gunners will be keen to go one further and qualify for a first Champions League semi-final since 2012.
They will have their work cut out against a Bayern side who have only conceded four goals in the Frauen Bundesliga this season. However, the Gunners seem to have rediscovered some missing chemistry in attack after some rocky weeks in the aftermath of ACL injuries to Beth Mead and Vivianne Miedema at the back end of 2022.
Jonas Eidevall selected his squad for the knockout rounds and its Brazilian winger Gio who misses out because each team is only allowed to add three new players to the roster in January and Arsenal signed three players and recalled Gio from loan at Everton. Katherine Kuhl, Victoria Pelova and goalkeeper Sabrina D’Angelo have made the cut.
It seems an odd choice given Arsenal already had three goalkeepers to call on in Manu Zinsberger, Kaylan Marckese and Naomi Williams but have lost Beth Mead and Vivianne Miedema since the group stage. Whoever takes to the pitch across these two legs will need to be on their game as Bayern will provide very stern opposition indeed.
Steph Catley (foot) is out of this game, as are Beth Mead and Vivianne Miedema (both ACL injuries). Gio and new signing Jodie Taylor are not registered in the Champions League squad and are ineligible.
GOALKEEPERS: 1.Zinsberger, 14.D’Angelo, 18.Marckese, 40.Williams
DEFENDERS: 2.Rafaelle, 3.Wubben-Moy, 5.Beattie, 6.Williamson, 15.McCabe, 16.Maritz, 26.Wienroither, 62.Reid
MIDFIELDERS: 10.Little, 12.Maanum, 13.Wälti, 21.Pelova, 22.Kuhl, 61.Earl
FORWARDS:, 17.Hurtig, 19.Foord, 25.Blackstenius, 59.Agyemang
A WORD FROM THE BOSS
“We’ve played teams with great home records in Europe this season in the Champions League, Juventus and Lyon have very strong home records. We drew in Turin and won in Lyon. We have respect for that (Bayern’s home record) but we shouldn’t fear it.
“We tried to use it (having last weekend off) in the best way possible, we had a mixture of some time off but also we used the time efficiently to look at things in our game that we think are going to be important for this game and the games ahead of us.
“We are a team that is in a good place at the moment. Recently, I have had a feeling of sharing less information with the players because I am more sure that we know what to do in certain situations and I hope that is a good sign and not a sign of false security.”
LAST TIME OUT
The teams have never met competitively, they played one another in a pre-season friendly at Emirates Stadium in the summer of 2019. Bayern won 1-0 courtesy of a Melanie Leupolz goal.
Bayern currently sit two points behind Wolfsburg at the top of the Frauen Bundesliga and play the league leaders in Munich between these two legs. Under new coach Alexander Straus, Bayern have moved to a more possession based style of play and usually adopt a 4231 system similar to the one Arsenal use under Jonas Eidevall.
Bayern boast a host of star names in their squad, with defenders like Carolin Simon and Giulia Gwinn, a midfield three of Sarah Zadrazil, Georgia Stanway and Lina Magull and a front line that includes Germany stars Klara Buhl and Lea Schueller, Bayern are a very strong team. Jonas Eidevall was in attendance in Cologne on Saturday as they raced into a 5-0 half-time lead away at Koln.
It is Bayern’s sixth quarter-final appearance in the last seven seasons. For further insight on Bayern, you can listen to our preview podcast here with Munich based journalist Alina Ruprecht.
PLAYER TO WATCH
This very much feels like a tie that will be largely decided in midfield, with Arsenal’s trio of Wälti, Little and Maanum up against the formidable Bayern triumvirate of Zadrazil, Stanway and Dallmann. In the biggest games, Arsenal will always cast a glance at captain Kim Little to lead the team and I am certain she will be the first player that Alexander Straus and his staff identify.
Wolfsburg were able to toss a fire blanket over the Gunners midfield in last season’s quarter-final second leg and strangle them into submission. However, Arsenal were without Lia Wälti on that occasion and the Wälti – Little double pivot will be…errr, pivotal in how Eidevall’s side match up against Bayern.
Georgia Stanway will be familiar with this partnership from her time at City and she will look to disrupt with her typical rumbustious style, while Zadrazil is far more of a deep plying playmaker. Linda Dallmann is the link between the Bayern midfield and attack and Wälti and Little will have to control her and control the ball in Germany.
Subs: 3.Wubben-Moy, 5.Beattie, 14.D’Angelo, 17.Hurtig, 18.Marckese, 21.Pelova, 22.Kuhl, 59.Agyemang
HOW TO CATCH THE GAME
The match kicks off at 5.45pm on Tuesday evening at the Allianz Arena and will be streamed live on DAZN’s YouTube channel free of charge and un-geoblocked.
We will have match reaction from Jonas Eidevall and a player on the site after the game on Tuesday evening.