Bayern Munich midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger has rated his Germany teammate, Arsenal’s Per Mertesacker, as one of the best defenders in Europe, according to the Daily Mail.
Mertesacker has this season impressed as a regular in the Gunners’ back four this season after a period of adjustment and prior to the meeting between Bayern and Arsenal in the last 16 of the Champions League, Schweinsteiger has publically praised his compatriot.
“Per has made them one of the most defensively solid teams in England – and they look to have addressed their problems,” he said.
“It was always going to take Per time to adjust to a new league. But now we see him for what he is which is one of the best central defenders in Europe with fantastic positional awareness and real leadership qualities.”
Arsenal and Bayern were drawn against each other in last season’s Champions League with Bayern going on to win the tie and the competition, beating Borussia Dortmund in the final at Wembley.
Then managed by Jupp Heynckes, Bayern beat Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium before losing the return leg at the Allianz Arena, but still qualified for the next round.
The sides meet again at the Emirates on Wednesday and Schweinsteiger added that Bayern were fully aware of the challenge posed by Arsene Wenger’s team.
“Arsenal have led the Premier League in England for a lot of this season – so we are aware it will be a very big test,” he said.
“We got a very good result in London last season but I think Arsenal are much improved now. We want to retain the Champions League and believe that another positive result in London is very possible if we play at the level we are capable of.”
Now under Pep Guardiola, Bayern have a 16 point lead at the top of the Bundesliga, with Bayer Leverkusen second. Arsenal, meanwhile, are second in the Premier League, a point behind Chelsea.
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