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Champions League | Quarter-Finals | 2nd Leg
Apr 17, 2024 at 8pm UK
Allianz Arena
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Arsenal receive double injury boost ahead of Bayern Munich second leg

Arsenal receive double injury boost ahead of Bayern second leg
© Reuters
Arsenal duo Bukayo Saka and Martin Odegaard are both fit to train ahead of the Gunners' Champions League quarter-final second leg with Bayern Munich on Wednesday.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has received a significant double injury boost ahead of Wednesday's Champions League quarter-final second leg with Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena.

The Gunners board the plane to Germany on the back of an engrossing 2-2 draw with Thomas Tuchel's men in the first leg, ending a three-game run of 5-1 defeats against the Bavarians.

Bukayo Saka's early strike gave Arsenal the lead, but Serge Gnabry and Harry Kane - two men who spent time in the Gunners academy setup - turned the tie around thanks to defensive calamities from Arteta's troops.

However, smart work from Gabriel Jesus saw the Brazilian tee up Leandro Trossard for a second-half leveller, leaving the tie on a knife-edge ahead of this week's eagerly-awaited second leg.

Both European behemoths reunite on the back of painful domestic experiences, though, as Bayern's 11-year reign of Bundesliga supremacy was officially ended by Bayer Leverkusen, while the Premier League title is out of Arsenal's hands owing to a 2-0 loss to Aston Villa.

Martin Odegaard, Bukayo Saka involved in full training

During the defeat to Unai Emery's side, Arteta was forced to bring captain Martin Odegaard off in the second period, explaining that the Gunners captain felt something and could not continue in the dying embers.

Meanwhile, Saka - who has constantly been in the wars this season - was also seen hobbling towards the end of the match, sparking familiar fears about the 22-year-old's physical condition as well.

However, both of Arteta's key cogs were seen in training with the rest of the team on Tuesday lunchtime, suggesting that the pair will be fine to line up from the first whistle at the Allianz Arena.

With 28 goals and 20 assists between them in all competitions during the 2023-24 campaign, Saka and Odegaard's returns to fitness will come as a major relief to Arteta, who should therefore only have Jurrien Timber absent from the second leg.

The Dutchman is training with his teammates after passing the eight-month mark since suffering his ACL injury, but he will take part in at least one Under-21s match before he is considered for first-team selection.

Changes in order for second leg?

Oleksandr Zinchenko in action for Arsenal in February 2023© Reuters

Despite Timber's absence, Arteta will certainly ponder at least one defensive alteration for the second leg, as neither Jakub Kiwior nor Oleksandr Zinchenko have covered themselves in glory over the past week.

The former struggled to cope with the threat of Leroy Sane in the first leg - being taken off for Zinchenko at half time - and the Ukrainian was given the nod from the off during the visit of Villa in the Premier League.

However, a shoddy showing saw Zinchenko play Lucas Digne onside for the Lions' first goal - where he was also out of position and allowed Leon Bailey to tap in unmarked at the back stick - prior to which he cheaply conceded possession to Youri Tielemans and gratefully witnessed the Belgian's curling strike smack the crossbar and post before bouncing out.

While Zinchenko offers unparalleled line-breaking qualities when inverting from his left-back position, his recent shortcomings defensively could tempt Arteta into bringing in Takehiro Tomiyasu - a transfer target for Bayern before signing his new Arsenal deal - for the second leg.

Further up the field, Jorginho and Thomas Partey could offer more control in the middle of the park, while Gabriel Martinelli is fighting to regain his rightful place on the left flank.

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