Champions League

Mertesacker tips German clubs for success against English rivals

2019-02-12 19:47
Per Mertesacker (File)

Berlin - Per Mertesacker expects at least one Bundesliga club to win from the three England-Germany clashes in the Champions League last 16 and believes the lack of a winter break puts Premier League sides at a disadvantage in Europe.

The 34-year-old helped Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and, after seven years with Arsenal, retired last May and is now head of the Gunners' academy.

Germany's clubs in the knockout stage have all drawn English opposition, with Bundesliga leaders Borussia Dortmund facing Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley in Wednesday's first leg.

Next week, German champions Bayern Munich play Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool at Anfield, the day before strugglers Schalke 04 host Pep Guardiola's mighty Manchester City in what is expected to be a one-sided contest.

"It would be great if two of the three German teams come though," Mertesacker told magazine Kicker.

"That would be like winning the jackpot and I assume one of the teams will make it -- Dortmund or Bayern."

English teams have won only six of their last 12 ties in the last 16 and Mertesacker believes Bayern and Dortmund "have legitimate hopes".

Dortmund and Bayern both hold an advantage as they will host their respective second legs at Signal Iduna Park on March 5 and the Allianz Arena on March 13.

Mertesacker says the Bundesliga's January winter break leaves German teams fresher than their English rivals.

"I have experienced myself what it is like after the intensive month of December, when your body needs a break, then having to be fit for the decisive games in April, May," said Mertesacker.

"That's why the English record in the last 16 is so weak, a factor German clubs must take advantage of and keep up with the pace.

"They should not be intimidated."

Dortmund and Spurs are both missing key players as forwards Marco Reus and Paco Alcacer are injured for the Germans, while England pair Harry Kane and Dele Alli are sidelined for the Londoners.

"At Wembley, it feels like playing a final," said Mertesacker.

"Fernando Llorente, the replacement for Kane is a huge striker and Tottenham will come down the wings, trying to feed him from the flanks, which Dortmund must hinder."

Mertesacker says Bayern will have to stay calm in the face of passionate home support at Anfield.

"It gets very intense, especially from the spectators there," said Mertesacker. "Bayern must stay calm, not stumble when they have the ball and build from a secure defence."

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Fixtures
Tuesday, 01 October 2019
Atalanta v Shakhtar Donetsk, San Siro 18:55
Real Madrid v Club Brugge, Santiago Bernabeu 18:55
Juventus v Bayer Leverkusen, Allianz Stadium 21:00
Manchester City v Dinamo Zagreb, Etihad Stadium 21:00
Lokomotiv Moscow v Atletico Madrid, Lokomotiv Stadium 21:00
Red Star Belgrade v Olympiacos, Stadion Rajko Mitic 21:00
Tottenham Hotspur v Bayern Munchen, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium 21:00
Galatasaray v Paris SG, Turk Telekom Arena 21:00
Wednesday, 02 October 2019
Slavia Prague v Borussia Dortmund, Eden Arena 18:55
Genk v Napoli, Luminus Arena 18:55
Liverpool v Red Bull Salzburg, Anfield 21:00
Barcelona v Inter Milan, Camp Nou 21:00
Valencia v Ajax, Mestalla 21:00
RB Leipzig v Lyon, Red Bull Arena 21:00
Zenit St. Petersburg v Benfica, Saint Petersburg Stadium 21:00
Lille v Chelsea, Stade Pierre-Mauroy 21:00
Tuesday, 22 October 2019
Shakhtar Donetsk v Dinamo Zagreb, Metalist Stadium 18:55
Atletico Madrid v Bayer Leverkusen, Wanda Metropolitano 18:55
Juventus v Lokomotiv Moscow, Allianz Stadium 21:00
Manchester City v Atalanta, Etihad Stadium 21:00
Club Brugge v Paris SG, Jan Breydel Stadion 21:00
Olympiacos v Bayern Munchen, Karaiskakis Stadium 21:00
Tottenham Hotspur v Red Star Belgrade, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium 21:00
Galatasaray v Real Madrid, Turk Telekom Arena 21:00
Wednesday, 23 October 2019
Ajax v Chelsea, Amsterdam ArenA 18:55
RB Leipzig v Zenit St. Petersburg, Red Bull Arena 18:55
Benfica v Lyon, da Luz 21:00
Slavia Prague v Barcelona, Eden Arena 21:00
Genk v Liverpool, Luminus Arena 21:00
Red Bull Salzburg v Napoli, Red Bull Arena 21:00
Inter Milan v Borussia Dortmund, San Siro 21:00
Lille v Valencia, Stade Pierre-Mauroy 21:00
Tuesday, 05 November 2019
Barcelona v Slavia Prague, Camp Nou 19:55
Zenit St. Petersburg v RB Leipzig, Saint Petersburg Stadium 19:55
Liverpool v Genk, Anfield 22:00
Lyon v Benfica, Groupama Stadium 22:00
Valencia v Lille, Mestalla 22:00
Napoli v Red Bull Salzburg, San Paolo 22:00
Borussia Dortmund v Inter Milan, Signal Iduna Park 22:00
Chelsea v Ajax, Stamford Bridge 22:00
Wednesday, 06 November 2019
Bayern Munchen v Olympiacos, Allianz Arena 19:55
Lokomotiv Moscow v Juventus, Lokomotiv Stadium 19:55
Atalanta v Manchester City, Atleti Azzurri d'Italia 22:00
Bayer Leverkusen v Atletico Madrid, BayArena 22:00
Dinamo Zagreb v Shakhtar Donetsk, Maksimir Stadium 22:00
Paris SG v Club Brugge, Parc des Princes 22:00
Real Madrid v Galatasaray, Santiago Bernabeu 22:00
Red Star Belgrade v Tottenham Hotspur, Stadion Rajko Mitic 22:00
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