Arsenal, Liverpool in stand off against Germans
8 March 2005, HAMBURG - Arsenal and Liverpool meet German opposition on Wednesday in the European Champions League round of 16 under very different circumstances. Arsenal face an uphill battle as they aim to overturn a 3-1 first leg deficit against Bundesliga Bayern Munich, who are without star striker Roy Makaay. Liverpool, by contrast, take a 3-1 advantage into their match at Bayer Leverkusen as they aim to avenge their quarterfinal defeat from 2002 against Bayer. The 2004 runners-up Monaco host PSV Eind
8 March 2005
HAMBURG - Arsenal and Liverpool meet German opposition on Wednesday in the European Champions League round of 16 under very different circumstances.
Arsenal face an uphill battle as they aim to overturn a 3-1 first leg deficit against Bundesliga Bayern Munich, who are without star striker Roy Makaay.
Liverpool, by contrast, take a 3-1 advantage into their match at Bayer Leverkusen as they aim to avenge their quarterfinal defeat from 2002 against Bayer.
The 2004 runners-up Monaco host PSV Eindhoven, with the Dutch winning the first leg 1-0.
Like Liverpool, record winners Real Madrid will also have revenge on their mind when they travel to Italian league leaders Juventus. Real have a slim 1-0 cushion as they aim to make up for a semi-final elimination at the Delle Alpi stadium in 2003.
"Despite what a lot of the media say I really believe that we are a better team than two years ago. We were unlucky on that occasion, I am sure the same thing won't happen again," said striker Ronaldo.
Given an eight-point deficit on arch-rivals Barcelona in the league, success in the Champions League is almost a must for Real.
"Whatever happens in Turin will affect the whole season. It will be a failure if we don't advance," said midfielder Jose Maria Gutierrez.
Real are without injured defender Michel Salgado, but Raul Gonzalez and Michael Owen have recovered from a flu and Zinedine Zidane from knee problems.
Juve's influential Pavel Nedved is still recovering from a concussion, but David Trezeguet returns from a flu.
"We can make it if we play up to our abilities," said Juventus forward Alessandro del Piero.
Arsenal have the same in mind against Munich and their morale was considerably boosted by Thierry Henry's hat-trick in a 3-0 league win against Portsmouth.
"I just feel the most important thing on Wednesday night will be to relax, regroup and enjoy it together. We have to show the kind of team determination and team focus we have in the last three games. I'm sure we can do it," said coach Arsene Wenger.
Munich goalkeeper Oliver Kahn expects nothing but "some sort of hell" at Highbury, but the Bavarians have not conceded a goal in seven of the nine competitive games they played in 2005.
"Defence will be the key again on Wednesday," said defender Robert Kovac.
Munich will nonetheless badly miss Makaay, who has scored seven goals so far in the campaign but limped off in the weekend 1-0 league win over champions Werder Bremen with a torn thigh muscle.
Coach Felix Magath named Makaay's absence "a big handicap" and will likely field Claudio Pizarro as the lone forward against an Arsenal defence which looked weak in Munich and is without Sol Campbell and Pascal Cygan on Wednesday.
"It doesn't help us if we score three goals but concede two at the same time," warned Wenger.
Liverpool also face a rough ride despite their 3-1 advantage, as the lost league cup final against Chelsea and a league defeat in Newcastle last Saturday have shattered their confidence.
It also doesn't help their cause that Milan Baros will be the lone striker against a Leverkusen 11 determined to prevail like in 2002.
"We are good enough to score a goal in the first half and to follow it up with another one after the break," said Leverkusen coach Klaus Augenthaler.
Subject: German news