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Arsenal vs Bayern Munich – Combined XI ahead of Champions League clash

Arsenal take on Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals this evening, a huge clash between the in-form Gunners and the reigning German champions.

Bayern have had the better of this rivalry across the past decade, but Arsenal are a team on the up under Mikel Arteta and head into the game as Premier League leaders.

Ahead of an unmissable showdown at the Emirates, we’ve put together our Arsenal and Bayern Munich Combined XI.

Goalkeeper: Manuel Neuer – Bayern Munich

Bayern Munich captain Manuel Neuer is set to be fit for the clash at the Emirates, after missing the club’s last two fixtures. The German great remains an immense presence even as he reaches the twilight of a career that has seen Neuer set standards for his generation of goalkeepers.

The 38-year-old has seen and won it all during a decorated career, including 11 Bundesliga titles, two Champions League trophies and the World Cup. Julian Nagelsmann has confirmed that Neuer will remain Germany’s number one goalkeeper for Euro 2024 this summer, as Die Mannschaft look to win the tournament on home soil.

Right-back: Ben White – Arsenal

Ben White has slotted seamlessly into the right-back role at Arsenal to become an integral part of Mikel Arteta’s team. Crucial to the build-up and tactical flexibility of the side, his ability to overlap, invert into midfield, and tuck into a back three of central defenders has provided Arsenal with options to adapt in game.

Excellent on the ball and incredibly versatile, his decision to make himself unavailable for England is something that should be addressed.

Centre-back: William Saliba – Arsenal

Arsenal’s evolution from top-four contenders to title challengers has coincided with William Saliba’s introduction into the side. The Frenchman has been almost flawless since returning from a loan spell at Marseille, establishing himself as one of European football’s best young defenders across the last two seasons.

The 23-year-old oozes calm in central defence and has shone in adversity this season, earning the man-of-the-match accolades in Arsenal’s trips to title rivals Liverpool and Manchester City. The Rolls-Royce calls are justified.

Centre-back: Gabriel Maghalaes – Arsenal

Saliba’s central defensive partner adds some steel to the silk of his Arsenal teammate, with Gabriel a warrior-like presence for the Gunners. He might not grab the same headlines as his right-hand man, but the big Brazilian has been a pivotal part of the Premier League’s best defence this season.

Arsenal boast the best defensive record in the division and have conceded just four league goals in 11 games since the turn of the new year. Only Juventus have a better Expected Goals Against (xGA) figure than Arsenal across Europe’s top five leagues this season.

Left-back: Alphonso Davies – Bayern Munich

Bayern Munich’s road-runner breaks up an all-Arsenal backline, with Davies one of the most devastating full-backs in Europe when at his best. The Canadian combines lightning pace with forward threat, which is used in a more advanced role for the national team.

It’s the sheer speed that makes Davies such a weapon, however, whether it’s bursting into the final third or surging back to make recovery challenges. He ranks in the 99th percentile of full-backs in Europe’s top five leagues for successful take-ons per game, the 98th for progressive carries and in the highest six per cent for shot-creating actions and pass completion. Elite.

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Midfield: Declan Rice – Arsenal

Arsenal’s decision to smash their transfer record for Declan Rice has proven to be a sensible one, with the England midfielder making an instant impact at the Emirates. Rice has brought a real presence to the Arsenal engine room, with his ball-winning, drive, and leadership already evident.

Should the Gunners go on to land one of the two big trophies in their sights this season, his signing will be viewed as transformative in taking this team to a new level.

Midfield: Joshua Kimmich – Bayern Munich

The general of the German giants, Kimmich has epitomised the Bayern Munich mentality of always striving for better. World-class in multiple roles during a decorated career in Bavaria, it is in central midfield where Kimmich does his best work. Tenacious off the ball and immaculate on it, his timing and range of passes orchestrate games from deep.

The 29-year-old ranks in the very elite brackets (98th+ percentile) of midfielders in Europe’s top five leagues for attempted passes, shot-creating actions and progressive passes per 90 minutes.

Midfield: Martin Odegaard – Arsenal

Martin Odegaard will be aiming to prove he belongs to a world-class status this season as the Norwegian looks to captain Arsenal to European success. So often the hub of Arsenal’s best football, Odegaard comes alive in pockets of space between lines.

There remains a sense that the 25-year-old is yet to reach his ceiling, which bodes well for Arsenal given the level of his performances to date. Inventive and industrious, he sets the standard for Arsenal in terms of quality and work rate.

Right-wing: Bukayo Saka – Arsenal

Bukayo Saka has made the Champions League his playground this season in a debut campaign to remember in Europe’s elite competition. The 22-year-old has seven goals and assists in seven games, taking to the top level with, somewhat predictable, ease.

Saka has appeared a star since his early emergence at Arsenal and has evolved into one of the most effective wide players in world football. His status as an undisputed starter for England, given the quality of Gareth Southgate’s forward options, is evidence of his class.

Left-wing: Jamal Musiala – Bayern Munich

Jamal Musiala can be worth the admission fee alone when at his best in a Bayern shirt, a footballer who makes navigating opposition challenges look balletically easy. Musiala’s fabulous footwork makes him one of the most exciting talents in Europe and, at 21, integral to Germany’s national team and most successful club.

Last season, his last-gasp goal snatched Bayern Munich the title from Borussia Dortmund in the final seconds of the season, the highlight of a career set to contain a catalogue of magic moments.

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Forward: Harry Kane – Bayern Munich

Harry Kane makes his return to north London this evening recognised as arguably the world’s finest forward this season.

Kane has been unstoppable since signing for Bayern Munich from Tottenham last summer, scoring 38 goals in 37 appearances across all competitions. The leader, by a considerable distance, for the European Golden Shoe, he is the first footballer in Europe’s top five leagues to reach 50 goal involvements this season.

Simply, world-class.

Read – Premier League Team of the Week – Matchday 32

See more – The lowest Premier League points totals needed for Champions League qualification

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