As we like to do, we chatted with Davis VanOpdorp of Bavarian Football Works to find out a little about tomorrow's Champions League opponent Bayern Munich. He asked me some questions too, and my answers to those are right over here. Away we, as they say, go!
TSF: After seeing how Arsenal defended in the first game, how do you see Bayern attacking the Arsenal defense this time? Will the approach change dramatically from a couple weeks ago?
BFW: In terms of "approach", I don't think Bayern will approach the match any differently; Pep Guardiola has always been big on possession, and his high center backs and a condensed final third has always been the style of his teams. If one player were to approach the match differently it would be Robert Lewandowski, but the attention he draws opens up space for Thomas Müller to make diagonal runs into the penalty area.
What may change is how Bayern defend, Guardiola perhaps taking some numbers in defense in midfield. He may also try to bring on more players who are good in one-on-one situations, even if it means playing five attacking players at once.
TSF: Will Arjen Robben start, and if so, how does his inclusion affect Bayern's lineup and shape? If not, who plays in his stead?
BFW: I personally expect Arjen Robben to play yes, but he has yet to play two matches in a row after returning from his calf injury. If he does play, there is still no reason to bring Douglas Costa off the field since the only person who could hypothetically play in his place is Kingsley Coman.
Douglas-Robben sample size is not big enough to make any tactical declarations, but don't be surprised if Guardiola overloads the right flank; that is a strategy you Arsenal fans may remember from a few years ago, Robben and Franck Ribery playing on the same flank in order to try to exploit the squad selection of Thomas Vermaelen. If Robben does not play, Kingsley Coman is someone Guardiola has a lot of confidence in to start.
TSF: Bayern doesn't lose often. Did the Arsenal loss affect Bayern's approach to the Champions League at all, or was it just "one of those days"?
BFW: Haha Bayern didn't lose at all until their trip to London, but their loss to you Gooners did not surprise me. Arsenal absolutely needed to win that game, and everyone who took the field had a great match. Bayern's approach to the Champions League has always been very strong, but there might be more assertiveness from the players after coming up empty. This is a team who beat Shakhtar Donetsk 7-0 after a 0-0 draw in Kiev, and a team who beat FC Porto 5-1 after an embarrassing 1-3 loss. It will also be a huge relief to be at home after spending four of the last five matches on the road.
Thanks again to Davis and BFW for taking the time to chat.