The Arsenal manager ranks the Liga club as “the best team I’ve played against” in recent years, but suggested another quadruple at the Allianz Arena could prompt a change of heart
Arsene Wenger believes Bayern Munich are still no match for Pep Guardiola’s double Champions League-winning Barcelona outfit.
Arsenal host European champions Bayern on Wednesday in the first leg of their last-16 clash, having been knocked out by the German side last season and Guardiola’s Barcelona in 2010 and 2011.
With the Spaniard now in charge at the Allianz Arena, however, Wenger still classes the Catalans as his toughest opponents but admits a repetition of Bayern’s quadruple success of 2013 could see a shift at the top.
“I was most impressed by the Barcelona team at the peak, through the speed of their passing and the speed of their game,” he told the club’s official website. “Hopefully I will not have the same impression [on Wednesday night].
“Until now, in my life, it’s the best team I’ve played against. Barcelona are not finished. They still won the championship in Spain.
“They have still Neymar, [Lionel] Messi, [Andres] Iniesta, [Cesc] Fabregas. They are not average players. They are top-class players. They can surprise everybody again this season.
“I don’t know [if Bayern are better]. Last year they won the German league, the German Cup, the Champions League and the World Club Cup.
“Maybe in the style there is always room for improvement but if they just do the same achievements this season they can say they have improved because it’s more difficult to do it again.”
Wenger also hailed the talent coming through the ranks in Germany, with Mesut Ozil, Lukas Podolski and youngster Serge Gnabry all brought to the Emirates Stadium in recent years.
He continued: “I just buy good players – they adapt easily to England. If you look at the number of French people in London you can’t say they don’t like England and don’t adapt. But it’s just a coincidence.
“Germany first of all is 80 million people, they have created many academies of quality and they are now maybe producing more players than France.
“The structure in Germany [means that] in every single village you have a football club. The life of the village revolves around the club and everybody plays football in Germany.
“For me, it’s the most similar country to England because if you watch any single game it’s sold out. Football is very strong culturally in Germany, stronger than anywhere else and similar to England.”