Champions League

Mertesacker not fazed by draw

2013-12-12 20:21
Per Mertesacker (AFP)

London - Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker insists his side have nothing to fear if they are drawn against one of Europe's superpowers in the Champions League.

Arsene Wenger's team will face either Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid or Paris Saint Germain when the last 16 draw is made in Switzerland on Monday.

The Gunners needed only a point against Napoli on Wednesday to be sure of winning Group F, which would have given them an easier draw in the knockout stages.

But a 2-0 defeat in Italy, combined with Borussia Dortmund's victory in Marseille, left the Premier League leaders in second place and likely to face one of Europe's leading teams in the next round.

However, Germany centre-back Mertesacker sees no reason why Arsenal cannot raise their own performance levels once more, as they did with superb away wins over both Bayern last season and at Dortmund earlier this term.

"We got Bayern Munich last year and nearly went through.

"If you want to achieve something in the Champions League, you have to take every opponent seriously and I think it is better for us when we have a good lot, when there is a draw that we can concentrate on," Mertesacker said.

"When you look at the teams that finished top, if you pick one out, for me, I don't mind.

"You never know what can happen with a good draw and a serious opponent, you can get so much out of a defeat or a disappointment.

"I hope that we learn a lot from Naples and we are aware of the next opponent."

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