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15 April 2024

Arsenal's Ozil relishing facing Bayern at Emirates

Mesut Ozil (11) of Arsenal is congratulated by teammate Aaron Ramsey (#16) after scoring the opening goal during UEFA Champions League Group F match against Napoli at Emirates Stadium on October 1, 2013 in London, England. (GETTY)


Arsenal's German star Mesut Ozil has said he is relishing the challenge of facing Champions League holders Bayern Munich in Wednesday's last 16, first leg clash at home.

"I'm a guy who loves these games. I have huge respect for Bayern," the 25-year-old attacking midfielder told German daily Bild.

"They have got even better in comparison with last year, but we won't hide from them.

"Anything is possible over two games."

Having won the treble of Champions League, Bundesliga and German Cup titles last season, Bayern travel to London on the back of a record 46-match unbeaten run in the Bundesliga with the return leg in Munich on March 11.

The Bavarian giants suffered a rare home defeat on their last Champions League outing when they were beaten 3-2 in Munich by Manchester City in last December's final group match.

Ozil, who was born in Gelsenkirchen, west Germany, will be up against several international teammates when Pep Guardiola's Bayern runs out at the Emirates Stadium.

After an impressive start to his Gunners career following his arrival in London from Real Madrid last September, Ozil has been criticised for a recent dip in form, but says he is having to prove his maturity as a player.

"I'm going through a test of character here," he admitted. "I have so much self-confidence as a player that I am ready now to take the next step.

"But first you have to get used to the intensity of the Premier League."

Aside from the Gunners' quest for the Champions League and Premier League title - they are second a point behind Chelsea - Ozil's personal goal is to win June's World Cup in Brazil.

"Anyone who has ever played at Real will always want to win titles," said Ozil.

"When you've prepared so hard and intensively for a World Cup as we have, then your goal isn't to finish second or third."