sport

Vermaelen undaunted by Bayern tie

Arsenal captain Thomas Vermaelen maintains "anything can happen" when the Gunners look to knock Bayern Munich out of the Champions League.

Arsene Wenger's side were today paired with the Bundesliga leaders in the draw for the last 16, with the first leg in London on February 19 and the return at the Allianz Arena in March.

Arsenal may have been inconsistent domestically this season, but qualified through the group stages of Europe's elite club competition for the 13th consecutive season - a record bettered only by Real Madrid.

Belgian defender Vermaelen sees no reason why the Gunners should not be confident when they take on the Germans.

He told Arsenal Player: "Most of the time in the Premier League, the one that is the most consistent wins the league, but the Champions League is a [cup] tournament, so anything can happen

"It is only about two games, one home and one away. You need a bit of luck in the tournament as well, so we will see how far we can get."

Arsenal finished second in their group to Schalke, and as such were not seeded for the knockout stages.

"We knew before that it didn't matter who we drew, it would always be a tough one, especially in the Champions League. You play against the best teams in Europe," Vermaelen said.

"Bayern Munich are doing well in the German league. They are in first spot, so it won't be easy but I am looking forward to the game."

Vermaelen continued: "There is about two months to go until the first game, so a lot of things can happen with the team, positively and negatively.

"We will see at that time how it goes. I am confident we can get the result if we have a good day."

German defender Per Mertesacker believes if Arsenal can build up some momentum, then they can take on Bayern with confidence.

The former Werder Bremen centre-back said: "Maybe it's a good opportunity for us to face them in February because we will be in our rhythm.

"We will hopefully go through the Christmas period in a strong way.

"We have a lot of potential and Bayern know they will face an Arsenal squad that will be strong in February."