Bayern to train at home for Arsenal tie
ESPN FC: Their own worst enemy
Bayern Munich are to hold their final training session ahead of Wednesday’s Champions League last-16 first leg against Arsenal in Munich rather than London.
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In order to continue on their path to become the first-ever team to defend their Champions League crown, Bayern want nothing to get in their way as they prepare for their clash with the Gunners in North London.
“Bayern only fear the London traffic,” Die Welt ran as a headline at the weekend for a longer piece about the club’s dominance in the Bundesliga, and their return to Champions League football.
Instead of training at the Emirates Stadium on Tuesday -- which would usually be the norm -- the European champions will remain in Munich for as long as possible and have their final training session at their Saebener Strasse complex.
“That’s very smart. We’ve had a bad experience in Moscow,” Bayern winger Arjen Robben said at the weekend, referring to the Bavarians' Champions League group game at CSKA Moscow in November, when they got stuck in traffic and were forced to abandon their final training session.
It is not the first time a German team has feared the London traffic. In November, ahead of their friendly against England, the Germany squad took the London Underground to Wembley for their final training session.
While Bayern fear the London traffic, they are also wary of Arsenal, despite extending their run on Saturday to 46 consecutive unbeaten matches with a 4-0 win against Freiburg.
“We must keep it in our heads that we are taking on the best Arsenal in years. Nobody at Bayern is thinking beyond the last 16 right now,” Bayern CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said.
The Bavarians will have to make do without Franck Ribery, though, with the France international having to pull out of the first leg after undergoing buttock surgery earlier this month.
The winger is still hoping to be fit for the return game on March 11, however.
“He makes good progress, I must stop him to build him up step-by-step,” Bayern doctor Hans-Wilhelm Mueller-Wohlfahrt told Abendzeitung. “The goal for Franck is the return leg against Arsenal.”