| Arsenal players, during a training session, in Munich, on Tuesday |
Berlin: Midfielder Jack Wilshere and striker Lukas Podolski are both likely to miss Arsenal’s “mission impossible” Champions League Round of 16 second leg against Bayern Munich, on Wednesday.
Wilshere sprained an ankle during Arsenal’s 2-1 defeat to arch-rivals Tottenham Hotspur in the North London derby on March 3 and has been slow to recover.
Podolski, who has been relegated to the bench for the last six matches, is also suffering with an ankle problem and manager Arsene Wenger is unlikely to field the two as Arsenal attempt to overcome a 3-1 first leg home defeat in Munich.
British newspapers widely reported on Tuesday that neither are now expected to play as Arsenal bid to become only the third team in 21 seasons of the Champions League to advance after losing the first leg at home.
Arsenal will also be without defender Bacary Sagna for the match as he is suffering with knee and leg problems.
Manager Arsene Wenger, talking to the media before leaving for Germany said Arsenal would have to make the “impossible possible” to stay in the competition. “The chance is small,” said Wenger.
“But the chance makes the impossible possible. That would be a great credit for our team if we do it. We have to try to achieve it.”
“We’re chasing the game in a very difficult environment against a team that has no doubts at all,” he said.
“Our mentality is to go there, not resigned, but ambitious and provoke things, not go there and think ‘we will not qualify anyway’.
“No, not at all. We will go to Munich and have to go there and give ourselves a chance to qualify with everybody believing we can do it.”
Wenger’s men must stage one of the most unlikely comebacks if they are to advance at the expense of the hosts. Bayern silenced the Gunners 3-1 in London last month to put themselves in the driving seat for a spot in the quarter finals for the third time in the last four seasons.
Bayern, who have reached the final twice in the last three seasons, will be without injured winger Franck Ribery, enjoying his best season yet at Bayern. He will join suspended defender Jerome Boateng and holding midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger on the sidelines.
Arjen Robben is set to replace Ribery, something the Dutchman has done once already with success this season, scoring the only goal as they eliminated Borussia Dortmund from the German Cup late last month.
Brazilian Luiz Gustavo will come in for Schweinsteiger while Daniel van Buyten is expected to start instead of Boateng in the central defence.
“At the moment everything seems to work perfectly,” said Bayern keeper Manuel Neuer after his team twice came from a goal down to beat Fortuna Dusseldorf 3-2 on Saturday and go 20 points clear at the top of the Bundesliga.