Bayern: Arsenal are most difficult draw
Champions League holders Bayern Munich's last-16 draw against Arsenal is described as "the most awkward draw we could get" by club CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.
Bayern will face the Premier League leaders in the first knockout round of this season's competition having beaten them at the same stage last season en route to lifting the trophy for a fifth time last term.
"They are the Premier League leaders. We don’t need to be warned. Some 10 months ago, they beat us 2-0 in the second leg of the last 16," Rummenigge said at UEFA's headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland, after the draw was made.
"That was the most awkward draw we could get. It is not what we would have wished for. Dortmund had more luck getting drawn to Zenit. But it might be a small advantage that we play our first game in London. You can’t change the draw."
Bayern, currently preparing for the Club World Cup in Morocco, have met Arsenal six times in Champions League -- winning three, drawing one and losing two of those fixtures.
"That is the most difficult opponent we could get," Bayern Munich centre-back Jerome Boateng told the club's official website. "They will be highly motivated. Those two games will be very intense."
Bayern captain Philipp Lahm added that "it is a good omen we made it past them last year." However, the 30-year old echoed the sentiment of his colleagues by acknowledging their tie is the worst-case scenario for them.
"That’s not a dream draw," Lahm said. "They are a dangerous opponent. For us it is the most difficult draw from the pot. Arsenal is stronger now, they have made a great reinforcement with [Mesut] Ozil. But our goal is the quarterfinal."
Bayern centre-back Dante warned: "We need to be careful. It will get very, very difficult. Arsenal has world-class players, and are much stronger than last season. There are no favourites in such games."
The German tabloid Bild focused on the Bayern-Arsenal tie in their initial reaction to the draw.
"Hammerdraw! Bayern against Ozil," it headlined its article.
Arsenal midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain believes the clash will bring the best out of Arsene Wenger’s side.
Another meeting with the defending European champions hardly seems like an ideal draw for the Gunners, but the England international told his club’s official website: “We managed to get a good result away at Bayern last season so that brings back good memories.
“If you're going to do well in the competition you've got to beat the best teams. Obviously the big teams create the bigger atmosphere around the stadiums. I remember before I came to Arsenal I was at the Barcelona game at the Emirates and I just remember the atmosphere there was unbelievable, so when the big teams do come into town it does create a massive buzz.
“You see the likes of the Barcelonas and Real Madrids and you always want to play against them and obviously Bayern Munich too.”
Oxlade-Chamberlain should be back in contention to play in the Bayern Munich tie as he battles back from a long-term knee problem.