By Matt Farr
Arsenal have been handed a major boost ahead of their meeting with Bayern Munich in the Champions League knockout-stages next month, according to a report.
German outlet Kicker reports that international defender Jerome Boateng is set to miss the first meeting between the two sides, and possibly the second too, after undergoing surgery for a damaged chest muscle tendon.
He was initially set to miss just six weeks, but German outlet Kicker understand that Boateng will now be out until the beginning of March, potentially ruling him out of both Arsenal ties.
Bayern Munich host Arsenal at the Allianz Arena on February 15, and Boateng looks certain to sit this one out, but when the Bavarian giants travel to the Emirates on March 7, it will be touch-and-go in regards to his fitness.
Depending on how Boateng’s recovery goes over the next two months, Bayern may be able to call upon him for the second-leg tie, but manager Carlo Ancelotti may look at the bigger picture and avoid any potential fitness gamble.
The 28-year-old has been one of Bayern Munich’s star defenders in recent seasons, helping the club to four consecutive Bundesliga titles, five domestic cup titles, and one Champions League crown.
He has made 218 appearances for Bayern since arriving from Manchester City in 2011, and was named Footballer of the Year in Germany last season.
His absence will give Arsenal increased hope of getting one over the German side in the Champions League knockout-stages, having been beaten by Bayern the last three times they have met at this stage of the competition.
In other Arsenal news, Crystal Palace have emerged as the front-runners to land this Arsenal man.