Bayern Munich have one foot through the door to the Champions League quarterfinals after having defeated Arsenal 5-1 in the first leg. But they are anything but overconfident as they approach the second leg in London.
Having defeated Arsenal 5-1 in Munich in the first leg of their round-of-16 tie, Bayern have already gone a long way towards securing a spot in the Champions League quarterfinals. As long as they don't concede four unanswered goals, they will be on their way to the next round.
However, Bayern coach Carlo Ancelotti is well aware of the fact that it is possible to blow large first-leg leads in the Champions League. In the 2003-04 season, when he was coach of AC Milan, his team took a 4-1 lead over Deportivo La Coruna in the first leg of their Champions League quarterfinal - played at home. The Spanish club turned the tie on its head in the second leg in A Coruna, beating Milan 4-0 to advance to the semifinals.
"We are not going on a company outing, this is the Champions League. The door is open, but we must go through it seriously and respectfully," Bayern Chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge told reporters at Munich airport on Monday before the team boarded a charter jet to London.
Jerome Boateng is the only player who will have to miss Bayern's trip to London due to injury as he continues to recover from a shoulder problem. Philipp Lahm will have to sit out too after picking up his third yellow card in the Champions League this season.
Rafinha, who started in Bayern's 3-0 victory over Schalke in their German Cup quarterfinal last week, is expected to step into Lahm's position in defense while Manuel Neuer is to wear the captain's armband.
More stagnation from Arsenal
The Gunners certainly have an uphill road to climb as they seek to turn the tables on Bayern, who have qualified for the Champions League semifinals in each of the last five seasons. Assuming that they fail in their comeback attempt on Tuesday, it will be the seventh straight season in which Arsenal has been eliminated in the round of 16.
Arsene Wenger, who is in his 21st season as Arsenal's manager, has once again come under fire after delivering similar results in recent years. He received a lot of criticism after leaving Alexis Sanchez - who with 17 goals is the team's leading scorer in the Premier League - out of the team in their 3-1 loss to Liverpool on Saturday.
Sanchez, who scored Arsenal's only goal from the penalty spot in the first leg, could be one of the key players for the North London side in their comeback attempt. However, Wenger will not have Mesut Özil at his disposal, after the manager told Monday's press conference that the German internatonal will be forced to sit this one out due to an illness.