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Battered Bayern hope that returning players can help them at Arsenal

Bayern Munich's Harry Kane takes part in a training session at the Saebener Strasse training ground, ahead of Tuesday's UEFA Champions League quarter-final first leg soccer match between FC Arsenal and Bayern Munich. Sven Hoppe/dpa

Bayern Munich hope that the return from injury of players led by goalkeeper Manuel Neuer can give them a much-needed boost for Tuesday's Champions League quarter-final at Arsenal.

Bayern are reeling after back-to-back Bundesliga defeats against Borussia Dortmund and Heidenheim with which they have effectively lost the title race against Bayer Leverkusen.

The Champions League is now their last chance to avoid a first season in a dozen years without any silverware, and while a vastly improved performance is needed at Emirates Stadium the return of the injured quintet was at least some good news in difficult times.

Neuer participated in the final training session on Monday in a comeback from an adductor injury, with forwards Leroy Sané and Kingsley Coman also present again along with full back Noussair Mazraoui and midfielder Aleksandar Pavlovic.

Beleaguered coach Thomas Tuchel has said that Neuer will definitely start against Arsenal if fit, Sané and Coman could boost the forward line, and teenager Pavlovic possibly start as well in the first-leg match, with the second game in Munich next week.

"It is always good if you have Manuel on the pitch as a figurehead," board member for sport Max Eberl said before departure.

Eberl added that Bayern have had an intense review of the Heidenheim debacle and that they were now going to London in the "fighting mode" veteran forward Thomas Müller had first announced.

"High challenge, high hurdle, but nothing is impossible. That is now a different competition," Eberl said, but quickly added that "Arsenal are favourites."

"The quality of the team is there. It is shown it, but there were too many ups and downs."

Bayern have had good results against Arsenal in the past, thrashing them 5-1 in their last three meetings several years ago, and ousting them three times in the last 16 of the elite event between 2013 and 2017.

But the Gunners now sit top of the Premier League in a thrilling title duel with Liverpool and Manchester City, and Eberl had previously said that their domestic crisis leaves not much room for optimism this time around.

Asked after the 3-2 defeat against Heidenheim from two goals up what made him positive for latest meeting, Eberl admitted: "I can't think of much at the moment."

Eberl said he is also not sure whether the European event will lead to an automatic performance boost to avoid a fourth straight quarter-final exit.

"Hoping that this is now Arsenal, this is now the Champions League and we're going to pull together, that's just not going to work," he said.

Müller meanwhile said that "we will give our all" although "we don't have the punch in many moments right now to deliver results. But we still have the Champions League."

The match is a return to London for Tuchel, who coached Chelsea to Champions League glory in 2021, former Arsenal player Serge Gnabry, and for striker Harry Kane who has scored freely in the past against Arsenal while at Tottenham Hotspur.

"It is a do-or-die game. We are normally especially strong in those," Gnabry said.

Tuechel will leave in summer and Eberl all but ruled out that he may be forced into an earlier exit, saying: "I don't know what should happen that he won't be there until the end of the season."

Bayern Munich goalkeeper Manuel Neuer (R) and Munich goalkeeping coach Michael Rechner in action during a training session at the Saebener Strasse training ground, ahead of Tuesday's UEFA Champions League quarter-final first leg soccer match between FC Arsenal and Bayern Munich. Sven Hoppe/dpa
Bayern Munich goalkeeper Manuel Neuer (R) and Munich goalkeeping coach Michael Rechner in action during a training session at the Saebener Strasse training ground, ahead of Tuesday's UEFA Champions League quarter-final first leg soccer match between FC Arsenal and Bayern Munich. Sven Hoppe/dpa
Bayern Munich's Jamal Musiala (L) and Leroy Sane take part in a training session at the Saebener Strasse training ground, ahead of Tuesday's UEFA Champions League quarter-final first leg soccer match between FC Arsenal and Bayern Munich. Sven Hoppe/dpa