Carlo Ancelotti has firmly set the record straight – he will field his strongest team possible against Arsenal tonight.
Bayern’s 5-1 aggregate lead going into the second-leg has prompted suggestions that fringe players will be used. However, the 57-year-old has effectively silenced questions over his team selection.
Jerome Boateng and captain Philipp Lahm (suspension) are the only two players unavailable for selection. Both are key components within the backline but as I wrote, only a miracle will see Arsenal progress into their first quarter-final since the 2009/10 campaign.
Ancelotti said, “I always try and choose the best team. I don’t know if Thomas [Muller] will play, but I do know he will be important for us.”
He also added, “We will play our best team. It is an important game, we have the advantage. We want to show a good game with our qualities.”
Bayern’s timely fitness boost
Ancelotti also confirmed that all first-team players are fit and ready to feature, including Manuel Neuer. Their first-choice goalkeeper has as a “minor back problem” but will start after receiving some medical treatment at their hotel in London.
The imposing 30-year-old has conceded six in seven past meetings with the Gunners, but made crucial saves when called upon. Most notably his last-gasp diving reaction stop to deny Theo Walcott from close-range at the Emirates last season.