Beleaguered Arsenal supporters can be forgiven for being absolutely sick of the sight of Bayern Munich. Having previously squared off against them three times in the previous four seasons, Arsene Wenger's stuttering team were recently eviscerated by the reigning Bundesliga champions in an embarrassing two-legged Champions League catastrophe that increased calls for the long-serving Frenchman to finally step aside.
Trailing 5-1 from the first encounter courtesy of an all too predictable second-half collapse in Bavaria, Arsenal lost by the same scoreline on home soil despite taking an early lead through Theo Walcott. Robert Lewandowski, Arjen Robben, Douglas Costa and Arturo Vidal struck five goals in just 30 minutes after the interval to increase the sense of Groundhog Day despair around the Emirates Stadium as the 10-man Gunners were eliminated at the last-16 stage of European football's elite club competition for the seventh successive campaign.
With the dust having yet to settle on that particular humiliation one week on, the Arsenal hierarchy have already lined up their next meeting with Bayern. As confirmed on Tuesday (14 March), the two sides will go head-to-head in Shanghai on 19 July in a preseason friendly that forms part of the 2017 International Champions Cup schedule.
"It will be very special for our Chinese fans to see a game of this stature," Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis told the club's official website. "We have a fantastic following in China and the two games we are playing there this summer will be an exciting part of our build up for the new season."
Arsenal are already slated to take on London rivals and fellow FA Cup semi-finalists Chelsea at Beijing's National Stadium on 22 July. The 13-time English champions, who have not visited mainland China since 2008, will head down under first for back-to-back fixtures against Sydney FC and Sydney Wanderers. As usual, they will also host the annual Emirates Cup tournament later in the summer.
After facing Arsenal, Bayern, as part of their Audi Summer Tour, will play AC Milan in Shenzhen before taking on Chelsea and Inter Milan in Singapore. Gilberto Silva and Hasan Salihamidzic were on hand to represent each club at the 2017 International Champions Cup China official launch.
"The Audi Summer Tour is an integral part of our international strategy, supporting our global brand development," Bayern's head of internationalisation and strategy, Jorg Wacker, said. "There are about 135 million FC Bayern fans in China, and the club is becoming more and more popular in Southeast Asia.
"So I'm glad we'll play in Shanghai and Shenzhen under the motto 'Visiting Friends' and present our team in July. We're equally looking forward to the top-class matches in front of many Bayern fans from the whole of Southeast Asia in Singapore."