Beating Bayern would be transformative for Arsenal – Arteta

MUNICH — Mikel Arteta believes Arsenal reaching the Champions League semifinals at the expense of Bayern Munich would have a transformative effect on the club.

After a 2-2 draw in the first leg last week, the Gunners face Bayern in Allianz Arena on Wednesday evening aiming to reach the last four for the first time since 2009.

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Arsenal have never won the Champions League and only ended a seven-year absence from the competition this season, during which time Bayern lifted their sixth European Cup.

Asked if victory here in Germany could take Arsenal to the next level, Arteta said: “Absolutely. It would be unbelievable. If we make it happen tomorrow and we’re in the semifinal, we’ll be in a really high emotional state with something that we haven’t achieved in 15 years and that’s the opportunity.”

Bukayo Saka and Martin Ødegaard are expected to be available after picking up knocks in Sunday’s 2-0 home defeat to Aston Villa, a result which leaves Arsenal chasing Manchester City in the Premier League title race with six games to play.

Arteta insisted that defeat would not have any bearing on their European hopes, telling his players: “Throw the game away, the one that we played a few days ago, because regardless of that result, it is going to have no impact on what’s going to happen tomorrow.

“Refocus and start to build the confidence, the trust and understanding the performance that we are going to have to put in tomorrow to beat them and go through in the tie.”

Arteta also urged his team to stay true to themselves in an intimidating arena where Bayern are unbeaten in their last 14 European matches.

“For sure I want my team to be themselves regardless of the stadium,” he added. “Sometimes you want to do certain things and the opponent doesn’t allow you to do it. We are very clear about how we are going to play the game, what we want to do in the game and what gives us the best chance to win it.

“There are lots of things we can do to write our story very differently tomorrow, we know that and it is going to be about putting in a very, very strong performance collectively and individually to earn the right to be in the semifinal.”