Arsenal backed to overturn Bayern deficit in Women’s Champions League

·3-min read
<span>Photograph: Clive Rose/Getty Images</span>
Photograph: Clive Rose/Getty Images

Jonas Eidevall has expressed full confidence Arsenal can overcome a 1-0 first-leg deficit against Bayern Munich and reach their first Women’s Champions League semi-final in 10 years.

By Tuesday lunchtime 19,600 tickets had been sold for the fixture at the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday night. This season’s Continental Cup winners crushed Tottenham 5-1 in a Women’s Super League north London derby on Saturday, ideal preparation for the return leg against the German club.

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“With the squad we have here, we can beat any team – at any time, and that’s such a great feeling to have,” Eidevall said. “It’s going to be determined by small details.”

Lea Schüller’s header separated the teams at the Allianz Arena a week ago in a match where Arsenal had 25 shots against opponents who have conceded only four Frauen-Bundesliga goals this season. Eidevall said Uefa’s 2021 removal of the away goals rule had made his team’s task far simpler.

“With the away goals rule this would have been really complicated,” the manager said. “Now this is not complicated: we have to win the football match, we need to be attacking. We need to do it with balance. Uefa, when they changed the rules, have really made life easier.”

Arsenal remain the only English team to have won the competition, in 2006-07, but Eidevall said the WSL’s strength and greater investment would soon be brought to bear in a tournament he called “the greatest thing you can win in European competition”. Chelsea take a 1-0 lead into their quarter-final second leg at home against Lyon on Thursday.

“More and more are games being played at bigger stadiums, with bigger atmospheres,” Eidevall said. “English clubs are going to be successful with the product we build together, to create a better future. The players want to come to the most competitive league.

“It’s only a matter of time until an English club wins the Champions League. That being said I think both English clubs in the Champions League this year have the potential, so it’s not like it has to be in the distant future but time will definitely be in English clubs’ favour as long as this progression continues.”

Rafaelle Souza, Arsenal’s Brazilian defender, said playing in front of a large Emirates Stadium crowd could inspire the team. “It’s so much better for us to play with this support,” she said. “It’s like one extra player, and I feel like Bayern had this. It’s such a big stage for us and with that extra player we’re going to do it.”

Eidevall’s team will have to complete their season and a chase for a treble without Vivianne Miedema and Beth Mead, who are recovering from anterior cruciate ligament ruptures. On Tuesday the England head coach, Sarina Wiegman, all but ruled Mead out of the World Cup this summer.

“Beth’s rehab is doing very well, she’s working incredibly hard,” Eidevall said. “She’s working with really good professionals but we don’t have any more information on a return date, otherwise it becomes speculation, which is very unnecessary and it doesn’t add anything to her rehab journey.”

Bayern’s journey to London was disrupted by air strikes in Germany, their pre-match training taking place in Munich rather than as scheduled at the Emirates, before a late-afternoon arrival.