Bayern Munich stars wanted to avoid

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Bayern Munich stars wanted to avoid a rematch with Arsenal’s Germans in the Champions League last 16.

Munich knocked out the Gunners on away goals at the same stage last season on their way to winning the trophy.

But Arsenal have since added £42million Mesut Ozil to a squad already including Per Mertesacker and Lukas Podolski – and now top the Premier League.

And Bayern president Uli Hoeness admitted: “It’s what I feared. That’s the strongest team we could have got. We dare not underestimate these opponents.”

The Bundesliga leaders, who lost at home to Manchester City in the group stages, are in Morocco to play the first match in the FIFA World Club Cup against Marcello Lippi’s Guangzhou today.

Defender Dante said: “We’re not all sitting here feeling pleased because we wanted to avoid Arsenal and Milan. Arsenal are much stronger than last season.”

Jerome Boateng added: “They’re the toughest opponents we could have had. They’ll be totally up for it after what happened last year.”

Bayern, who are unbeaten in 41 Bundesliga matches, also accounted for Arsene Wenger’s side in the last 16 in 2004/05.

Captain Philipp Lahm said: “It’s a good omen, but they’re tough opponents, the toughest of the second-place teams.

“We were certainly hoping for someone different. Arsenal have made some good signings and they’re dangerous.”

Arsenal have already faced the other German Champions League finalists in the group stage. They lost 2-1 at home to Borussia Dortmund but won 1-0 away.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain said: “We managed to get a good result at Bayern last season so that brings back good memories. If you’re going to do well in the competition you’ve got to beat the best teams.”

Arsenal secretary David Miles, in Nyon for the draw, admitted Arsenal had suffered for losing their final group game in Napoli.

“It’s going to be a very tough tie,” he said. “We had Bayern last season, Barcelona for two years running so we’ve had the rough end of the draw. We paid the price for finishing second.”

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