Two huge games take place in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday at 2:45 p.m. ET.
Arsenal head to Bayern Munich for the first leg of their Round of 16 clash, with the two teams familiar foes after recent battles.
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Arsene Wenger and Arsenal badly need to advance past the reigning German champs as Wenger’s future, plus the futures of Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil, perhaps depend on a deep run in the UCL this season.
The Gunners have crashed out at this stage in each of the last six seasons.
With Wenger’s contract up in the summer he has yet to announce if he will stay on for another season or two, as the Gunners fight for a top four finish and remain in the UCL and FA Cup. This is a pivotal week for how the rest of Arsenal’s season will pan out, especially with the battle for a top four finish intensifying.
As for Bayern, well, they’re hardly setting the world alight in the Bundesliga but Carlo Ancelotti’s side do lead the way. Bayern have knocked Arsenal out at this stage of the tournament in 2013 and 2014, while the last time these teams met they hammered Arsenal 5-1 in a UCL group game in Bavaria in November 2015.
In the other Round of 16 first leg, reigning European champions Real Madrid will look to put the tie to bed at the Santiago Bernabeu. They host Serie A side Napoli, with the Italians confident of causing an upset following a run of 18 games unbeaten which stretches back to October.
Still, with Cristiano Ronaldo fit to lead Real, the home fans will hope Zinedine Zidane’s boys can rack up a big win to reach the UCL quarterfinals for an seventh-straight season. Not having Gareth Bale fit is a blow for the La Liga leaders but they are still the heavy favorites against a Napoli side who sit third in Serie A.
Click on the link above to follow live commentary on both games, while we will have reaction and analysis on all of the UCL knockout games here at Pro Soccer Talk.
Wednesday’s UCL Round of 16, first legs
Bayern Munich vs. Arsenal – 2:45 p.m. ET
Real Madrid vs. Napoli – 2:45 p.m. ET