Bayern Munich were 60% sure they had sealed themselves a spot in the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals after a good night at the Emirates Stadium. Given Bayern Munich’s home form this season, an Arsenal comeback was only about 40% sure. This didn’t mean that the London club would just give up without a fight, however; that’s definitely not the way of the Wenger! Especially not when his side has got nothing to lose!
Arsenal needed to score at least 3 goals to ensure they progressed in the competition, and knowing how hard this mission would be, Arsene Wenger, like his counterpart Jupp Heynckes, brought out a strong side. It might not have been their strongest, but it was by no means a weak one.
Arsenal started the first half with one mission: to score as many goals as possible while the home side were still getting settled. With the pace at which they started their game, they managed to accomplish phase one of this mission thanks to an early goal by Olivier Giroud, assisted by Theo Walcott and facilitated by a David Alaba mistake. Manuel Neuer had no chance as Giroud shot the ball into the roof of the net. Arsenal were looking even more confident now!
The home side were determined to clear their mistake by also scoring a goal immediately when Toni Kroos had a decent attempt, but Łukasz Fabiański was determined to keep a clean sheet. Bayern Munich now looked to have settled sufficiently as they kept threatening near the Arsenal goal for the next 35 to 40 minutes, but Arsenal’s defense was nothing like it had been for the first leg of this game. At the end of the first half, the home side had been better in trying to get an equalizer, but the away side had been very strong. Santi Cazorla and Theo Walcott had been very good for their side. Jupp Heynckes now had to decide what his message to the team would be between settling for what they had or being more attacking in the second half. We all know what Arsene Wenger’s message would be, though!
The second half started much better for the home side as they continued where they’d left the game at. It was an all Bayern game at the start. Inside just 3 minutes of the second half, Arjen Robben and Toni Kroos each had a chance to make Arsenal’s life even harder, but were both unsuccessful. 10 minutes later, however, the whole game changed and Arsenal seemed to all of a sudden become the strong team they’re known to be as they looked for a comeback.
Olivier Giroud had a chance to make it a brace, but poorly missed the target. Santi Cazorla was gifted a good opportunity to get one just at the hour mark after having been awarded a free-kick from a good spot, but the red wall of Bayern Munich ensured it wasn’t going to happen. Bayern Munich kept their attempts coming, with a lot of decisions going for them, but none of them bore goals.
The first changes from both managers started coming after 70 minutes, with Wenger acting first. Wenger’s was a double-substitution (Gervinho and Olade-Chamberlain in for Ramsey and Walcott respectively), while Heynckes was to introduce Mario Gomez for Manzukic. One of the Arsenal substitutions almost paid off when Gervinho was presented with a great chance, but he somehow just managed to miss the target. Manuel Neuer had been defeated for this one, but it seemingly wasn’t Arsenal’s night!
Tymoshchuk was introduced for Toni Kroos, Heynckes seemingly still looking to get an equalizer. Again, Łukasz Fabiański, who had been clearly written off by so many people, came through for his side after Muller had a decent attempt, making a wonderful save to keep his side alive.
The visitors were hoping even more, after Laurent Koscielny converted a Santi Cazorla corner into the net at just 4 minutes to full time. 2-0 to Arsenal and 3-3 on aggregate! Arsenal were playing with even more urgency as they realized a comeback was still very possible, making the home side uncomfortable and defensive all of a sudden. 3 minutes were added on at the end of the 2nd half and the home side couldn’t have been more relieved that they were through even despite their embarrassing loss! Arsenal had given a good account of themselves at the Allianz Arena.
Statistic-wise, Bayern Munich had a total of 21 attempts against only 5 for Arsenal, who were undoubtedly more successful in front of goal despite their hosts having had better chances. Only 8 of Bayern’s 21 attempts were on target, however, whereas only 2 were off-target for their English visitors. Łukasz Fabiański had to make more saves than Manuel Neuer, although the latter was more vulnerable. Bayern Munich had 56% possession; Arsenal 46%. 9 players went into Pavel Kralovec’s book on the night; 6 being Arsenal players, and 3 Bayern. No players were sent off during this match.
Jupp Heynckes and Arsene Wenger lined up the following squads:
Bayern Munich Starting XI
Neuer, Dante, Van Buyten, Lahm, Javi Martínez, Robben, Müller, Alaba, Luiz Gustavo, Kroos, Mandžukić
Subs: Starke, Rafinha, Contento, Shaqiri, Tymoshchuk, Pizarro, Gomez
Arsenal Starting XI
Fabiański, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Jenkinson, Gibbs, Rosický, Arteta, Walcott, Ramsey, Santi Cazorla, Giroud
Subs: Mannone, Vermaelen, Diaby, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Coquelin, Arshavin, and GervinhoFinal Score
Bayern Munich 0-2 Arsenal (Agg: 3-3)
Giroud 3′, Koscielny 86′
Having eliminated Arsenal, Bayern Munich are through to the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League. They will face Juventus in the quarter-finals, as announced in the draw this past Friday.
Written by Ange Marline