In Wednesday night’s Champions League match Pep Guardiola’s team were looking for revenge after their 2-0 defeat at the Emirates on the last match day of the Champions League. During the previous match against Arsenal Bayern had a lot of possession, but couldn’t create enough chances to get the job done.
The first few minutes of the match started off with both teams struggling to find their way. Bayern had, as expected, more of the ball than Arsenal, but the Bavarians struggled to break through the defensive set up of the Gunners. Arsenal on the other hand side failed to press forward with enough manpower the first two or three times when a counter attack possibly could have been on.
The Bavarian juggernaut cruises once again
The Reds finally managed to produce a chance in the 10th minute. Coman found Thiago at the edge of the box and the Spaniard spotted Lewandowski’s run towards goal. Arsenal’s Gabriel Paulista had failed to keep the line and the Polish striker was given the chance to head the ball on target from 6 meters. Clinical as ever the 27-year-old didn’t leave Arsenal keeper Petr Cech any chance whatsoever, making it 1-0 with his 4th touch of the ball for the Bavarians.
One minute later Arsenal managed to get the ball over the line, after Arsenal had managed to find their way through Bayern’s defence on the right hand side. At the end of the combination Mesut Özil got the ball over the line, however, Italian referee Gianluca Rocchi spotted the German international’s use of his arm during his finish and annulled the goal, handing out the first yellow card of the match to Arsenal’s playmaker.
As the match progressed Bayern kept Arsenal pinned in their own half, but often times the Arsenal defence managed to get a foot in at the right time before an attack could develop into a chance for the Bavarians. At times Arsenal had to defend with 8 to 9 outfield players in the box, making life hard for Bayern.
In the 16th minute Petr Cech was once again called into action. At first he had to save a shot from Coman, before the Frenchman once again had an effort on target, with the rebound flying towards Robert Lewandowski. The Bundesliga’s current top scorer manage to send off a well placed header towards the goal from 8 meters, but his finish lacked power and Cech managed to pull off a flying save.
13 minutes later Philipp Lahm put a cross into the box after he had been sent on a run down the right hand side. His ball found Coman, who scuffed his shot. However, the ball fell to Thomas Müller who got to the ball before Per Mertesacker. To add insult to injury Mertesacker deflected his former national team colleague’s shot as the ball once again found the way into the net.
Bayern kept their foot on the gas pedal for the rest of the 1st half. Following a long passing sequence it was once again Lahm who managed to bring the ball into the box from the right hand side, where Müller once again had escaped Mertesacker. The 26-year-old’s shot 4 minutes before half time forced Arsenal keeper Cech to pull off an excellent save.
However, 180 seconds later Cech was once again beaten. At first David Alaba had lost the ball, but the Austrian kept hassling Santi Carzola and got the ball back. After he had won the duel he had plenty of space 18 meters in front of goal and decided to for it, finding the top right corner with his shot.
Robben’s remarkable return to the Champions League
The second half started with a more aggressive Arsenal side for the first few moments, but Bayern were soon in control once again. In the 52nd minute Douglas Costa was given the chance to cut in from the right wing and into the box. After leisurely strolling by two defenders the Brazilian went for it once the ball had found his left foot. His shot was deflected and resulted in a corner that didn’t produce any sort of danger.
2 minutes later Pep Guardiola made his first substitution of the day. Frenchman Coman went off after a very decent performance and was replaced by Arjen Robben, who celebrated his first match match in the Champions League since his appearance in Bayern’s 7-0 win over Shaktar back in March.
Only seconds later Douglas Costa sent Alaba on his way into the box and the Austrian found none other than Arjen Robben in front of goal. After being 37 seconds on the pitch Robben scored Bayern’s 4 goal with his first touch of the match.
After Bayern had to put the game to bed the match started winding down with both teams not playing with the same intensity as before. Guardiola took his chance to give Benatia, who has just returned from an upper thigh injury, some valuable playing time.
Only moments after the Moroccan had entered the pitch the Gunners managed to produce their first decent chance of the match. Sanchez wasn’t pressured at all on the left wing and with his cross he managed to pick out Oliver Giroud’s run into the area. The Frenchman took the ball on his chest, before he converted the shot from 8 meters on the half volley. A lovely goal made possible by Javi Martinez being asleep at the back.
Despite Arsenal’s goal, Bayern managed to stay in charge for the rest of the match. Arjen Robben had two good chances to add another goal to his tally in his Champions League comeback. In the 73 Robben had been sent on his way towards goal by Müller, but his shot from short distance was blocked by Petr Cech. 10 minutes later the Dutchman was on his way alone towards goal. He managed to round Arsenal’s keeper, but defender Debuchy managed to put in a last stitch tackle to prevent another goal.
However, shortly before full time Douglas Costa once again was too quick for the opponents. The Brazilian sprinted past three Arsenal players and into the half of the Gunners, where he found Müller at the right time. The 26-year-old German international’s shot found the bottom right corner of Cech’s goal and set a worthy finish to the match.
Bayern: Neuer – Lahm(captain), Javi Martinez, Boateng(Benatia, 68th minute), Alaba – Xabi Alonso – Douglas Costa, Thiago – Müller, Lewandowski(Vidal, 71st minute), Coman(Robben, 54th minute)
Arsenal: Cech – Debuchy, Mertesacker(captain), Gabriel Paulista, Monreal – Coquelin, Santi Carzola(Chambers, 87th minute) – Campall(Gibbs, 59th minute), Özil, Sanchez – Giroud(Iwobi, 85th minute)
Man of the match: David Alaba scored a beautiful goal and was involved in many of Bayern’s attacks down the left wing. His presence upfront was always felt, additionally he provided the assists to Robben’s goal. Having said that, Thomas Müller and Thiago would have also been worthy of the man of the match accolade.
Voices after the match:
Thomas Müller: We have reached our goal to win the game, it was a key game for us. If we hadn’t won we would have had a lot of work in the group. Now we are on 9 points and things are looking good. In the second half we had a few situations where we had to defend deep down the pitch. However, this sort of thing happens if you are up by 3 or 4 goals.
Per Mertesacker: Bayern was dominant as always, but this time they scored an early goal. That released some energy for them, and it forced us to play even deeper down the pitch and we didn’t manage to get out of that.
Philipp Lahm: We knew that if we won here today everything is still down to us. Now it’s up to us to win the last two matches to finish top of the group.
Interviews provided by ZDF’s live coverage.
Header photo CHRISTOF STACHE/AFP/Getty Images.
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