Champions League

Bayern cruise past Arsenal

2013-02-20 07:19
Thomas Mueller, right (AFP)

London - Bayern Munich seized on the uncertainty sweeping through Arsenal to claim a 3-1 victory in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 match on Tuesday, enhancing the German side's status as one of the favorites for the title.

Germany internationals Toni Kroos and Thomas Mueller did the early damage with goals in the opening 21 minutes for Bayern - a beaten finalist in two of the last three years - before Mario Mandzukic sealed victory by bundling in a third in the 77th at Emirates Stadium.

VIDEO: Champions League, Arsenal v Bayern Munich highlights

Former Bayern forward Lukas Podolski had given Arsenal hope by making it 2-1 in the 55th but Bayern was well worth the win, and should have scored more in an embarrassingly one-sided first half where the visitors cut through their defensively inept opponents at will.

On current form, perhaps only Barcelona has the beating of Jupp Heynckes' classy team.

"Let's not hide the truth," Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said, "it will be very difficult. We will try to make the impossible possible."

The second leg is in Germany on March 13, when Porto will look to defend a first-leg lead after beating Malaga 1-0 in Portugal on Tuesday thanks to Joao Moutinho's 56th-minute goal.

Bayern has reacted superbly to the trauma of losing last season's final at Chelsea on penalties at its own Allianz Arena, surging into a 15-point lead in the Bundesliga, qualifying easily from its Champions League group and looking strong thanks to the offseason additions of Mandzukic and defensive midfielder Javi Martinez.

By recently labeling his team as the best in Bayern's history, Heynckes is making a big call. But the Bavarians showed just why they are receiving rave reviews across the continent by outclassing an Arsenal side in the midst of the most trying season of Wenger's 17-year reign.

Winning the Champions League - surely beyond the English club after losing so convincingly here is Arsenal's last chance of ending a trophy drought that is set to stretch to eight seasons.

"We are currently in astonishing form," Heynckes said. "Our quality is we can punish even the smallest mistakes of our opponents."

Defensively, Arsenal was a mess, with center backs Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny looking like accidents waiting to happen. The first goal sprung from their lax inter-passing in front of their own penalty box, with Bayern collecting a rushed, errant clearance from Koscielny before Mueller crossed for Kroos to crash home a volley that skidded off the turf and into the net from 18 yards (meters).

Mueller then benefited from more hesitant defending for the second, the lanky forward on hand to poke the ball high into an unguarded net after goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny parried out a header from an unmarked Daniel Van Buyten.

"We didn't start great and that's been a thing for us this season," Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere said. "Maybe it's a bit of nerves or anxiety because we show what we can do when we play."

Bayern sat deeper thereafter, playing within itself in the second half only to break out with a clinical counterattack for Mandzukic's goal. Full back Philipp Lahm provided the overlap and squared a cross for the Croatia striker to score with a fortunate finish that looped up off his heel.

The scruffy strike was hardly in keeping with the visitors' impressive overall display.

"You have to give credit for their class," Wenger said. "In patches in the first half, there was a difference in quality."

With Kroos, Martinez and Bastian Schweinsteiger dominating midfield with their hulking presence and Arsenal's passing awry all over the pitch, the four-time European champions were in cruise control with barely a quarter of the match gone.

Arsenal's players were losing their heads - Bacary Sagna and Mikel Arteta picked up petulant bookings - and they were jeered off at halftime as Bayern supporters belted out another rendition of "Football's Coming Home" in English. Wenger, under serious pressure for perhaps the first time in his tenure, had the look of a beaten man.

Things looked up at the start of the second half, though, and Podolski capped a period of gentle Arsenal pressure by heading into an empty net after Wilshere's inswinging corner evaded a raft of players in the six-yard box - including flapping Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer.

Wilshere was finally making his presence felt and Bayern's early spark faded as Arsenal monopolised possession. Olivier Giroud, on as a 71st-minute substitute, shot straight at Neuer in Arsenal's other good chance.

However, Bayern had the last laugh when Mandzukic finished a sweeping move by bundling in Lahm's low cross at the far post, the ball looping up off the Croatian's heel and beyond Szczesny.

"There's always a chance - we take it to their place, and we need a few goals," Wilshere said. "We have the players to do it, we just have to start better."

Schweinsteiger will miss the second leg after picking up a second-half booking.

Read more on:    bayern munich  |  champions league  |  soccer


Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
  • Blitz
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @00:00
  • SS1
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @01:00
  • SS2
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @02:00
  • SS3
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @03:00
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

25 November 2015
FC Astana v Benfica, Astana Arena 17:00
CSKA Moscow v VfL Wolfsburg, Arena Khimki 19:00
Shakhtar Donetsk v Real Madrid, Arena Lviv 21:45
Borussia Monchengladbach v Sevilla, Borussia-Park 21:45
Juventus v Manchester City, Juventus Stadium 21:45
Manchester United v PSV, Old Trafford 21:45
Malmo FF v Paris Saint-Germain, Swedbank Stadion 21:45
Atletico de Madrid v Galatasaray, Vicente Calderon 21:45
08 December 2015
Benfica v Atletico de Madrid, Estadio da Luz 21:45
Manchester City v Borussia Monchengladbach, Etihad Stadium 21:45
Paris Saint-Germain v Shakhtar Donetsk, Parc des Princes 21:45
PSV v CSKA Moscow, Philips Stadion 21:45
Sevilla v Juventus, Ramon-Sanchez Pizjuan 21:45
Real Madrid v Malmo FF, Santiago Bernabeu 21:45
Galatasaray v FC Astana, Turk Telekom Arena 21:45
VfL Wolfsburg v Manchester United, Volkswagen Arena 21:45
09 December 2015
Bayer 04 Leverkusen v Barcelona, BayArena 21:45
Olympiakos v Arsenal, Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium 21:45
KAA Gent v Zenit St Petersburg, Ghelamco Arena 21:45
Dynamo Kyiv v Maccabi Tel Aviv, Kiev Olympic Stadium 21:45
Dinamo Zagreb v FC Bayern Munchen, Maksimir 21:45
Valencia CF v Lyon, Mestalla 21:45
Roma v BATE Borisov, Olimpico 21:45
Chelsea v FC Porto, Stamford Bridge 21:45
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS

Who will be the 2015/16 Champions League top scorer?

Love 2 Meet
Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter


30 of the world's greatest golfers will be heading to the Gary Player Country Club for this year's Nedbank Golf Challenge - now in its 35th year. For all the latest news, player profiles, hole-by-hole descriptions and past winners, be sure to check out Sport24's dedicated section.

Latest blogs

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.