Mertesacker: Arsenal are focused on Blackburn despite Bayern Munich threat

The German defender says the Gunners are concentrating on FA Cup progression on Saturday before hosting the Bundesliga leaders on Tuesday night in the Champions League
Arsenal centre back Per Mertesacker believes he and his team-mates will be able to focus fully on their FA Cup tie with Blackburn Rovers despite their Champions League clash with Bayern Munich taking place just four days later.

The 28-year-old described the continental clash as "a big challenge" but also said that preparations for the visit of the Bundesliga leaders are low-key at the moment with the Blackburn game fast approaching.

15/2 Blackburn are 15/2 with William Hill to beat Arsenal
However, Mertesacker expects their work for the European encounter to become "extreme" once the Gunners have played Michael Appleton's Rovers.

"Bayern are doing superb this year and that is a big challenge for us, but we are looking forward to both legs," said the German defender during an Adidas webchat.

"We still have an important cup game on Saturday [first]. We absolutely want to advance in the FA Cup and that is why the preparations for Bayern are not that intense yet.

"Beginning on Sunday the preparations for Tuesday’s match will be extreme."

Arsenal will be hoping to extend their unbeaten run to six games when they host Blackburn on Saturday, following their 1-0 win over Sunderland last weekend.

Arsene Wenger is likely to rotate his squad ahead of the Bayern game, with Thomas Vermaelen, Jack Wilshere and Laurent Koscielny all doubts.

Meanwhile, Kieran Gibbs remains injured, Andre Santos is on loan at Gremio and Carl Jenkinson is suspended, leaving Wenger with a bit of a crisis at the back.