Arsenal v Bayern Munich: live Champions League webchat

Raphael Honigstein was online to answer your questions about the Champions League last-16 tie


rationalistx asks:

Last night’s sending off in the Man City v Barcelona game highlights a weakness in the rules of the game, in that it is sometimes advantageous to be sent off rather than concede a certain goal. Winning 1-0 in the last minute of a Cup final and being sent off for deliberately handling the ball on the line to prevent an equaliser, is to your advantage. The answer is simple.Send the guy off and award the goal anyway. That would soon stop the nonsense.
Guardian contributor

last night's game showed the opposite, however. it would have been to City's advantage to concede the goal but continue with 11 men

TylerDurden08 asks:

If Arsenal somehow manage to overcome Bayern over 180 minutes, do you think Guardiola will still be in Munich next year considering that the domestic doule is almost done?

Guardian contributor

The fall-out would be considerable - it always is at Bayem. Heynckes nearly lost his job in 2012 after the final... But no danger to Pep yet

Ripuli asks:

If Mario Götze outshines Mesut Özil tonight, will Özil be in serious danger of losing his place in Germany’s starting eleven at the World Cup to him? Or is Özil protected by the Lex Klose, i.e. the fact that Joachim Löw never benches one of his favourites?

Guardian contributor

no danger yet but fair to say that Özil's position is not a assured as before

cali_lfc asks:

Rafinha is doing pretty well this season. But does he feature in Guardiola’s long-term plans?
Guardian contributor

He's the surprise of the season but still the obvious weak spot. Bayern are one class RB away from having the complete team

smiff21 asks:

I know success breeds confidence (as if this Bayern squad need any more!) and Guardiola will drum it into them not to be but is there even a slight possibility that their complete dominance domestically might lead to them underestimating an Arsenal team who seem to be displaying a bit more bite than last year - Surely Arsenal will give them a sterner test than they have been routinely facing each week?

A worried and slightly deluded Arsenal fan (I think we’ll win 2-0!)

Guardian contributor

A lack of domestic competitiveness can be a problem in Europe but Lahm - in the interview - completely dismissed the idea that this was the case. Bayern did certainly underestimate Arsenal in the second leg last season but I doubt it'll happen again

Cassanata82 asks:

Despite Wenger’s reluctance to use Podolski, (any insight on why that might be Rafa?) I genuinely believe that he could do a job tonight for Arsenal. A front four of Ozil, Rosicky, Podolski and Giroud would give Bayern a lot to think about as they all offer something different going forward. Thoughts?

Guardian contributor

Podolski's directness is good for Arsenal but I feel that Wenger still prefers technique in the wide areas.

Joy Oyovwevotu asks:

As a thought experiment, which would be the stronger side if the managers are switched to work the different group of players?

Guardian contributor

In terms of line-ups and squad depth, Bayern

Kiran Pillai asks:

How do you think Pep would react if Arsenal took the lead in the first few minutes and sat back to defend deep?

Guardian contributor

He'd probably wait to see if Bayern equalised. If they don't, there's an option to play Pizarro as a second striker or even Martinez as a battering ram (worked v Chelsea)

cowleesa asks:

Arsenal seemed to struggle against Liverpool’s pressing style recently. How different is Bayern’s style of pressing and will Arsenal be able to deal with it?

Guardian contributor

Bayern tend to press a little deeper and they're less direct on the break. But I agree with you: Arsenal do look vulnerable when they're put under pressure around the box (most teams do, to be fair)

PtyChi asks:

Do you think Guardiola’s management style is sustainable? His intensity is ferocious and makes me wonder how long he can keep that up for – it seemed that he ran himself into the ground at Barça. Wenger is obviously a workaholic also, but seems to have found a rhythm he can maintain year after year while keeping standards extremely high.

Guardian contributor

Excellent point. The people at Bayern - players and the board - have been surprised just how much work puts into it. He's very intense, and very demanding. I personally think he's likely to be off to another year in New York when is contract's finished

Baccalieri asks:

Does Javi Martinez feature in Guardiola’s long term plans ?
Guardian contributor

excellent question. the experiment with JM in defence seems to have failed, that makes me wonder if he'll ever be a regular. With Lahm in DM, you don't really need JM (unless you're up against Messi, maybe)


bresciaboy asks:

Will Muller start as an out and out striker?
Guardian contributor

Müller, Mandzukic or Götze as a false 9. Considering how well Mandzu played at the Emirated last year, I'd start him but Pep works in mysterious ways...

OttoMaddox asks:

City lined up very defensively at home last night and ended up creating little of note. How likely is it that Arsenal will put out an attacking line up and try to take Bayern by surprise in the first 15-20 minutes?
Guardian contributor

Arsenal's line-up will be attacking but I think they might use possession as a defensive ploy and hope to tire Bayern out - if Bayern press high, that is. I don't think they can play as deep as City did last night

HannoverTim asks:

Does second-placed Bayer Leverkusen’s thrashing at home last night undermine the significance of Bayern’s domestic dominance? And where do you think Arsenal would be in the Bundesliga?
Guardian contributor

The significance of Bayern's Bundesliga dominance is undermined by the extent of the dominance itself. The better Bayern are, the worse the opposition are rated. There's something uniquely odd about Leverkusen's capitulations in the Champions League, though. Hard to understand why they continue to embarrass themselves at this level

shadylane asks:

Hi Rafa. Mandžukić to Arsenal – is this a more realistic option for the summer rather than Draxler?

Guardian contributor

Draxler, by all accounts, is very keen to come to Arsenal. Mandzukic's future is still unclear. I don't believe it's a given that he'll be sold.

Shrenal asks:

Do Wenger and Guardiola represent two extremes in management style: Wenger letting his players decide the tempo/pace of the match vs. Guardiola who micromanages each and every aspect of the team’s play?

Guardian contributor

I don't think it's that clear cut. Both managers have a clear playing style and both trust their players to implement it. But Guardiola is undoubtedly more of a technocrat

SomeRandomPerson asks:

Doesn’t Guardiola just inherit already brilliant teams – i.e. from Barcelona to Bayern Munich?

Guardian contributor

I don't think so. If you look at Barca, he made some pretty significant changes to mould the team over the first couple of seasons, getting rid of Deco, Eto'o, Ronaldinho, Yaya etc.
It's easier to make that argument with Bayern. But then let's not forget the sense of shock that prevailed when the announcement was made in January 2013. Very few people rated Bayern as the best team in Europe at the time

TheKardinal asks:

Do you think Lahm will be in the holding role tonight, or will Pep be more conservative, and stick him back on the right, perhaps with Thiago in the middle? What do you think is the best option against the Arsenal midfield? And any chance Schweinsteiger will be fit enough to make a cameo?

Guardian contributor

I don't see Lahm reverting back to RB in this game. Pep values his passing and defensive nous in the middle too much. Lahm, Kroos and Thiago, tonight, I think

Rafa is online

eddiebeagle asks:

Morning Rafa. What do you make of the contract situation with Toni Kroos? Do you think he wants to stay? If he doesn’t, is Manchester his likely destination and will he be easily replaced, perhaps internally?

Guardian contributor

I still believe that a contract extension at Bayern is the most likely outcome but Kroos' agent is a shrewd operator and he knows that big money is to be made - perhaps more than in Munich.

Rafa will be here from 10.30am GMT

Good morning. Rafa will be here from 10.30am, but in the meantime here are some of our previews for tonight’s match:

• How can Arsenal’s tactics tame Pep Guardiola’s Bayern Munich?

Perhaps there is some encouragement to be drawn for Arsenal from the fact that last time they played Bayern Munich, they won. Perhaps there is some encouragement to be drawn from the thought that, last season, Bayern only beat them on away goals, that no side came as close to eliminating Bayern from the Champions League as they did. But then you think back to the first leg, to Bayern’s 3-1 win at the Emirates, and the gulf between the sides becomes obvious. Arsenal have improved since then, but so too have Bayern and, under Pep Guardiola, they are as tactically flexible as any side in Europe. Contine reading

• Five things Pep Guardiola has done to improve Bayern Munich

1) He keeps his opponents guessing

2) Continuous innovation through micro-management
3) Shows no fear when mixing-up play
4) Has reshaped the attack to offer three options
5) Makes the most out of weaknesses
Continue reading

• The Big Interview with Philipp Lahm

It’s a little hard to tell from his tone of voice but the words suggest that Philipp Lahm is excited. “We go into the game with tremendous anticipation,” says the Bayern Munich captain of Wednesday’s Champions League meeting at Arsenal. He naturally recalls “happy memories” from their past two trips to London – a 3-1 win at the Emirates in the Champions League at the same last 16 stage exactly a year ago and the Wembley triumph against Bundesliga rivals Borussia Dortmund in May – but the real thrill comes courtesy of a relevance and sense of occasion that has been all but missing in the treble-winner’s season so far. Continue reading

• Bayern are untouchable, says Arsenal’s Per Mertesacker

Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker believes Bayern Munich are “untouchable” but is still hoping the Gunners can spring an upset when they meet in the Champions League on Wednesday night: “Bayern are untouchable at the moment, both in the Bundesliga and in Europe. The only thing that makes me positive is that we beat them in Munich last year. That allows us to go into the game with a certain degree of faith. We’re going to give it our best.” Continue reading

Drop your questions in the comments sections below. Enjoy the webchat.

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