MUNICH (AFP) – Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has dubbed Tuesday’s Champions League last 16, second-leg clash at holders Bayern Munich as “Mission Possible” as they attempt to over-turn a two-goal deficit.
The Gunners need to overcome Bayern’s 2-0 first-leg victory at the Emirates Stadium three weeks ago.
Arsenal bowed out of Europe to the same opponents at the same stage last season on away goals, but not before pulling off a shock 2-0 win in Munich after losing 3-1 at home to Bayern.
Wenger said lightning can strike twice.
“It is a possible task and that is the most important thing for us, we have the belief, quality and ambition,” he said.
“Our way of doing it is to produce a top-level performance and we know we can do it because we have done it before.
“History is important, we have done it before, so we know we can do it again.”
Arsenal travelled to Germany on the back of Saturday’s 4-1 FA Cup quarter-final win over Everton while Bayern enjoyed a record 16th-straight league win with a 6-1 rout of Wolfsburg.
Wenger admits another 2-0 win, or better, in Munich would rank alongside their stunning 5-1 group stage win at Inter Milan in 2003.
But no team has ever progressed from the last 16 after a 2-0 first-leg home defeat.
“The statistics are against us, but we have won 5-1 at Inter Milan. We have won everywhere in Europe,” he said.
“An early goal would make the result absolutely possible, which is what we will try to do.
“We scored two goals in the last five minutes against Everton, so we don’t need to be nervous and impatient.”
- ‘Very suspicious circumstances’ -
Wenger has also backed Germany midfielder Mesut Ozil to put behind him his first-leg penalty miss which would have put Arsenal ahead — his tame effort was saved by childhood friend Manuel Neuer.
Ozil later apologised for his performance via Facebook, but Wenger says the 25-year-old has recovered.
“I believe he was effected by his performance, he started well in the first game, but he was effected by missing the penalty,” said Wenger.
“He felt he let the team down, but he has recovered, he played well on Saturday and I am confident he will have a good game.”
Wenger said he hopes Norwegian referee Svein Oddvar Moena allows his team to finish with all 11 players on the pitch as once again he saw a player sent off in the first leg in Polish goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny.
The Frenchman pointed to a number of key decisions against the Gunners in European knock-out matches when they finished with ten men.
In March 2011, then Arsenal striker Robin van Persie was sent off at Barcelona in a 3-1 defeat that sent the Gunners tumbling out 4-3 on aggregate.
In the 2006 Champions League final, goalkeeper Jens Lehmann was sent off early on as Arsenal went on to lose 2-1 to Barcelona.
“We have played a few times with ten men in Europe, always under very suspicious circumstances,” said Wenger.
“In the Champions League final and now against Bayern.
“Van Persie was also sent off for a second yellow at Barcelona, so I hope tomorrow we get a fair chance to finish with 11 men.”