Tuchel wants Bayern to inflict pain on 'amazing' Arsenal

AFP , Tuesday 9 Apr 2024

Thomas Tuchel wants Bayern Munich to make "amazing" Arsenal suffer Champions League pain once again as the crisis-torn Bundesliga side try to salvage their season.

Bayern Munich s German head coach Thomas Tuchel speaks during a press conference on the eve of their
Bayern Munich s German head coach Thomas Tuchel speaks during a press conference on the eve of their UEFA Champions League quarter final first leg football match against Arsenal, at the Emirates Stadium, AFP

 

Tuchel's team are on the brink of surrendering the German title for the first time in 12 years after a brutal domestic campaign.

Bayern are 16 points adrift of leaders Bayer Leverkusen following four defeats in their last eight league games, with Tuchel set to leave at the end of the season.

Tuchel knows Bayern can redeem themselves by winning the club's seventh Champions League crown.

The next step on that journey comes at the Emirates Stadium on Tuesday when Bayern face Premier League leaders Arsenal in the quarter-final first leg.

"The season is not lost. The season is over when it's over," Tuchel told reporters.

"We are accepting the criticism, we haven't had the passion and hunger in the Bundesliga that we would expect from ourselves.

"In the Champions League, we've played at a very high level so far. We've reached our minimum goal. A lot of big teams have not reached the quarter-finals.

"Tomorrow we play with a chance to reach the semi-final, we need two great performances and that is where our focus is."

Tuchel was gushing in his praise for the way Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has revitalised a club who last won the Premier League in 2004.

"At the moment, Arsenal are the best team in the Premier League. All the data shows that, they have amazing data in the Champions League as well," Tuchel said.

"They are in great form. It will be a big test for us. They managed all aspects of the game very well.

"How Arteta transformed the side is amazing. He deserves the biggest compliments for it."

But Tuchel hopes Bayern's greater knowledge of the Champions League stage can prove decisive.

- 'We have more experience' -

"We know our own strengths and how we want to cause them pain. The Champions League is a competition where we have more experience over the last few years," he said.

"There is a different type of football and that has an influence. We definitely want to use it to our advantage."

Bayern have won 5-1 in each of their last three matches against Arsenal, eliminating them from the Champions League four times in the last 19 years.

The Bavarians have won the Champions League six times -- most recently in 2020 -- while Arsenal are chasing their first triumph in the tournament.

Tuchel, who won the Champions League as Chelsea boss in 2021, knows Bayern's challenge will be over if they don't contain Arsenal's threat at set-pieces.

"They are the best team in Europe currently in terms of dead-ball situations," he said.

"In every game, that are dominating in the toughest league in the world. That is a sign of their quality.

"We haven't shown that form in the league but tomorrow we aren't playing in the league.

"If we show the best version of ourselves tomorrow then we can compete at the highest level. This is what we have to do."

Arsenal captain Martin Odegaard has been an influential figure in their renaissance under Arteta.

And Tuchel is keen to keep the Norway midfielder under wraps on Tuesday.

"Odegaard is one of the key players. We know very well how he wants to start their attacks and the connections between him and Bukayo Saka," he said.

"I hope that we find the right solutions and the players will find the key to make life difficult for him."

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