Arsene Wenger: Arsenal mentally stronger for Bayern test

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE LAST 16

  • Venue: Emirates Stadium
  • Date: Wednesday, 19 February
  • Kick-off: 19:45 GMT

Coverage: Live text commentary on the BBC Sport website and commentary on BBC Radio 5 live

Arsene Wenger says his Arsenal side are in "better mental shape" for a repeat of their last-16 Champions League tie against Bayern Munich.

The Gunners were beaten on away goals by the German club at the same stage of the competition last year, losing 3-1 at home before a 2-0 away win.

They meet again on Wednesday, with the first leg of this season's tie again taking place at the Emirates.

"We are in a much better mental shape than one year ago," said Wenger.

"We had lost in FA Cup to Blackburn [last season] and that was a big disappointment for us. This time we beat Liverpool and are really determined to win this game."

Wenger's side were 2-0 down within the first 20 minutes of the home game a year ago and the manager knows his side cannot afford a similar occurrence.

"We went out on away goals last year. That shows you it is important not to concede at home," said the Frenchman.

In-form Bayern

  • Bayern Munich's only defeats this season have come against Borussia Dortmund - in July's curtain-raiser to the German season, the DFB Super Cup - and against Manchester City, in the final round of Champions League group games

"Every minute counts in a game of this stature and we are conscious of that. It is important to start strongly."

Bayern went on to win the Champions League last season, completing a treble after their successes in the German league and Cup under former manager Jupp Heynckes.

Pep Guardiola took over as their coach in the summer and the club currently lead the Bundesliga by 16 points, having managed 19 wins and two draws.

They have lost only once in 34 games going into Wednesday's first leg.

However, Arsenal have the best home defensive record in the Premier League, having conceded just six goals in 26 top-flight matches, and lie a point behind leaders Chelsea.

"We know we face the favourites of the competition," said Wenger, who has replaced suspended midfielder Mikel Arteta with Tomas Rosicky in his squad for the match.

"What we have is the belief because on the opposite [to Bayern] we had only big games in the Champions League and in the FA Cup.

"Since the start of the season we know we have to be 100% in every game.

"We believe we can do it but that is down to the quality of our performance on Wednesday.

"We have built a home strength recently because we don't give goals away and that will be vitally important in this tie."

He added: "We have a strong team spirit, a strong desire to do well and a united team.

"I believe we always had these qualities but not always the belief, which is built by results and on that we are stronger for sure."