Babbel: Arsenal should be no problem for Bayern

Former Bayern Munich and Liverpool defender Markus Babbel has dismissed Arsenal’s chances of causing an upset against the German champions and is convinced the Bavarians will be too strong for Arsene Wenger’s men.

The north London club, who sit second in the Premier League, are one of just three sides, along with Manchester City and Bayer Leverkusen, who have beaten Bayern at the Allianz Arena in the last two seasons.

But, despite almost knocking die Roten out of the Champions League last season, Babbel does not believe Arsenal will be a match for Bayern in their last-16 tie and has criticised the Gunners’ performances against other Premier League title challengers this term.

“They (Arsenal) are not better than last year and have many injuries,” the one-tome Hoffenheim boss told Munchner Merkur.

“If Bayern remain concentrated, Arsenal will not be problem. You see it in the Premier League: against the big teams they often lose.”

Arsenal’s current squad is brimming with German internationals, including former Bayern frontman Lukas Podolski and centre-back Per Mertesacker, and Babbel believes both players have improved since moving to the Emirates Stadium.

“(Podolski) surprises me,” continued the 41-year-old. “I haven’t given him the credit he deserves for the success he’s had in England.

“Honestly, I thought he was too lazy at Bayern Munich and Koln, but he has emerged. When he is on the pitch, he is on fire.

“(Mertesacker) is held in unbelievably high esteem at Arsenal because he fights for his spot in the team.

“At the beginning, his performance were not exactly brilliant. But he never gave up. That impresses British fans. Now he is the captain of the team and should extend his contract. Hats off!”

Club-record signing Mesut Ozil, though, is still adapting to the Premier League according to Babbel, but he has no doubts over the former Real Madrid playmaker’s pedigree.

“He’s had to progress his body tension,” added the former Liverpool defender. “The British fans always want to see full power. In footballing terms he is superb, no doubt.”