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Feb 19, 2013

Podolski optimistic of progression

Arsenal's Lukas Podolski believes his former side Bayern Munich are among the best teams in Europe but over two legs the Gunners can beat them in their Champions League last 16 tie.

• Palmer: Wenger snaps at media
• Delaney: Battle to contain Bayern
• Blog: Are you sitting comfortably?
• Blog: Heynckes wary of Arsenal

The ex-Bayern player was interviewed by German daily Die Welt and, while praising the runaway Bundesliga leaders, he refused to accept they are certain to reach the Champions League quarter-finals.

"Bayern are favourites, no doubt about that," Podolski said. "In two games we will have our chances to reach the next round. You can be sure, we will not sit and wait to find out what Bayern does. We have the quality to stand our ground against them."

Despite Arsenal's FA Cup exit at the weekend versus Blackburn, Podolski said: "I have a good feeling as it was going pretty well for us over the past few weeks. I am looking forward to those matches against Bayern especially as it is nice to meet up with Uli Hoeness or Jupp Heynckes once again."

Podolski, who left Bayern for his hometown club FC Cologne in 2009, said he had no hard feelings looking back on his three-year stay at Bayern. He said: "Overall, I had a good time in Munich. Good contacts and friendships emerged from that. They are important to me. In life, football is not everything."

The Germany international, who has 107 caps to his name, added: "They [Bayern] are playing a sublime season. They are the clear number one in Germany and also are among the top two, three teams in Europe. It looks like they have decided the championship [in Germany] but they now face us in Champions League."

Podolski also said he did not regret making his switch to Arsenal and that he was happy to work under Arsene Wenger. "To begin with, Arsene Wenger is a great personality," he said. "A fine person. He has got a clear idea of football. He sets great values upon possession of the ball and wants us to quickly get into an attacking position. He does not want us to park the bus.

"Wenger's philosophy is that Arsenal attack. It is understood that this does not always works out. But he has coined this style since his arrival in 1996."

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