Bayern's form has come to a small halt in recent weeks. The German champions face an Arsenal side, buyoed by their win in England two weeks ago. A win for Leverkusen in Rome would be a giant step towards the Last 16.
After failing to win in the Bundesliga for the first time this season, Bayern Munich are now turning their attentions back on Arsenal, the sidewho dumped the German champions 2-0 in London
a fortnight ago.
Pep Guardiola's side had won 10 from 10 in the Bundesliga before the goalless draw at Eintracht Frankfurt on Friday. Despite the defeat in London, there was little inquest into Bayern's failings. The Germans controlled the match in London for long phases, but couldn't convert their superiority into chances or goals.
When asked about changing his control-oriented approach for such an important encounter, Guardiola responded: "I've never said to my players: play to draw. We have the opportunity to pick up three points. Why should we fight for just one point?"
"It's a very important game for us and for Arsenal. If we lose, we could be in trouble," said Spaniard Javi Martinez who started at center-back in Frankfurt. Bayern recorded six points from six against Olympiacos and Dinamo Zagreb, but the defeat in North London has brought Arsenal back into contention with three matches left in the group.
The Gunners were boosted by the win at the Emirates - their first of the campaign - but suffered an immediate setback in the English League Cup last week at Sheffield Wednesday. Matching the performance levels and the result of two weeks ago will be a serious test of Arsenal's credentials. "I would sign today to take a point," said Arsenal's long-serving coach Arsene Wenger.
"But to sit off Bayern, with their offensive quality, would be difficult to maintain for 90 minutes. We have to relieve the pressure whenever we can and try to score goals. That is our structure of the team, to attack. If you get our players to defend then I do not think we will be so efficient. We have to play every time we can."
Arsenal are unbeaten in their last two visits to the Allianz Arena, but have still suffered elimination in the knockout stages. In March 2013, Olivier Giroud and Lorient Koscielny netted to fire the Gunners to a 2-0 win, while Wenger's men drew 1-1 in the Last 16 in 2014.
The Spirit of Rome
Meanwhile, Bayer Leverkusen and Roma lock horns again in the Champions League, two weeks after the sides played out a thrilling 4-4 draw on matchday three.
Roger Schmidt's men lost a two-goal advantage after Roma's impressive fightback, but eventually turned around a 4-2 deficit to share the spoils with the Italians. The Bundesliga club, who have won once in their last eight visits to Italy, are revisiting the Olympic Stadium after a 1-0 defeat to Lazio in the Champions League qualifiers. "Roma cannot survive all of our attacks," Schmidt noted. Javier Hernandez, who scored in the league on Saturday, put the Germans two-up before Daniele de Rossi and Miralem Pjanic inspired a tremendous recovery.
Down 4-2 to the Italians, former Borussia Dortmund midfielder Kevin Kampl took the game by the scruff of the neck. He scored a brilliant goal on his own before a surging run set up Admir Mehmedi for the equalizer. Following a slow start, Kampl rose to the occasion and rewarded the club for their trust in the player.
"We can play even better than in the home leg," the Slovenian said confidently at the pre-match pess conference. "We have to step up and show courage.
Roma captain De Rossi returns for the matchday four clash having missed the 1-0 defeat to Inter Milan on Saturday, while Francesco Totti is still missing. "We have no choice – we will play to win as always, and we have to win," said Rudi Garcia whose side have yet to win in European competitions this season.