Bayern Munich 1 Arsenal 0 (agg 3-2): Tame Gunners crash out of Champions League with season rapidly going off the rails


ON a brass-monkeys night in Bavaria, Arsenal froze and exited the Champions League as a deep chill swept through their promising season.

A bullet header from Josh Kimmich was enough to send Harry Kane and his Bayern Munich mates through to the semi-finals at the expense of Mikel Arteta’s side.

GettyArsenal have been dumped out of the Champions League[/caption]

RexHarry Kane’s Bayern Munich have secured their spot in the semis[/caption]

GettyJoshua Kimmich celebrates after breaking the deadlock against Arsenal[/caption]

ReutersHe raced through three Gunners defenders to head home on 63 minutes[/caption]

Sunday’s home defeat by Aston Villa saw the Gunners cede advantage in a gripping Premier League title race and four days later arrived this even more serious blow.

And however much Arteta has transformed this club in the past few seasons, this was as a case of ‘same old Arsenal’. 

It was the fifth time in the club’s last six Champions League campaigns that they have been knocked out by Bayern. 

Here, Arsenal were assured on the ball but lacking in penetration. 

They did not force a single clear scoring opportunity until a vain late rally in the final minutes.   

There will be stronger calls now for an authentic centre-forward to be signed in the summer because this is a team which lacks little else.

Just like Villa, it was another case of Arsenal coming up marginally short against quality opposition. 

It wasn’t a choke, it was a decent effort from a group of players in their first Champions League campaign together.


And this is a competition which demands experience and nous. Clubs normally have to knock on the door for a good few years before they reach a final, let alone lift Old Big Ears.  

Arsenal played in green and, at elite European level, they are green.

For England captain Kane, and his former Tottenham team-mate Eric Dier, this kept alive hopes of silverware in their maiden campaign as Bayern players and also gave their old club’s rivals a welcoming kick in the knackers. 

Yet it didn’t help Tottenham’s chances of reaching the Champions League next season. 

Germany and England have been vying for a fifth entry into a competition which will be revamped next season and the Germans now hold a clear advantage, meaning Spurs will surely need to finish fourth to qualify. 

Bayern deserved their win, though. They shaded last week’s 2-2 draw at the Emirates and they hit the woodwork twice before Kimmich’s winner. 

Kane was quiet, well-shackled by William Saliba, but he can still dream of a place in the Wembley final on June 1

This Arsenal side is so accomplished at rolling over lesser sides in the Premier League. 

But to defeat the very best, they need greater attacking threat. They need a predator to kill off the opposition in tight, tense encounters such as this. 

Arsenal had been gubbed 5-1 on the previous two visits here and many supporters still have nightmares about this intimidating spaceship sponsored by an insurance company.

But that was a different Arsenal, the flimsy Arsenal of Arsene Wenger’s latter years.

The Gooners up in the nosebleed seats were making plenty of racket, fortified against the last icy blasts of Alpine winter by copious local beer.

And if anything there was even more pressure on Bayern than Arsenal. 

While Arteta’s men are still in the Premier League title race, Bayern had conceded the Bundesliga crown to Bayer Leverkusen at the weekend and were staring down the barrel at the unthinkable scenario of a season without a trophy. 

Thomas Tuchel is on his way this summer and a rebuild is in the offing. 

Arteta restored Kai Havertz and Gabriel Martinelli to his forward line-up but neither really bared their teeth, while Bukayo Saka was frustrating and, ultimately, frustrated on the right. 

At kick-off, the Allianz was an assault on the senses – they played through an acrid pyrotechnic fog with Bavarian chanting and drumming clattering at their eardrums. 

It was cagey, respectful, low-tempo stuff with Arsenal unflustered.

ReutersBayern were denied twice by the post in the first half[/caption]


Here’s what Bayern’s English star told TNT Sports afterwards:

“Yeah an unbelievable win. It’s been a tough season for us. We’ve had to fight and grind it out at times.

“We knew we could make the difference with our fans at home. It was a tough game, a tight game. It was a great goal from Josh [Kimmich].

“To reach the semi-finals is a great achievement for us and we can enjoy it.

“I think in these types of games the first half is always a bit cagey. We said at half-time we wanted to up the tempo, be aggressive. We had a couple off the post and could have made it easier for ourselves but these games are always tough and you just have to get through them.

“The expectation here is to try and win the Champions League. We won the league for 11 years in a row so maybe there was a bit of tempo missing. That can’t happen.

“Now we have to enjoy the Champions League and try to get ready for Saturday.”

Occasionally, though Leroy Sane would hare past Tomiyasu and midway through the half, Bayern found some joy on the left, Raphael Guerriero darting through and feeding full-back Noussair Mazraoui, who shot narrowly wide across goal.

Soon, David Raya clawed away a Jamal Musiala shot but Arsenal swiftly tested Bayern’s keeper, Manuel Neuer keeping out a deflected Martin Odegaard effort and a Martinelli shot.

Arsenal were having some success by pressing Bayern, snapping at their ankles as they tried to play out from the back, but when they won possession the final ball was never right. 

Straight after the interval, Bayern were at Arsenal’s throats – striking the woodwork twice.

First Leon Goretzka’s header crashed against the post, then Guerriero’s shot was deflected onto the same upright by Ben White. 

It was a severe warning to Arsenal but they didn’t heed it and, on 63 minutes, the Germans seized the lead. 

AFPIt was a frustrating night for Bukayo Saka and the Gunners[/caption]

GettyMikel Arteta’s men barely laid a glove on the German giants[/caption]

APEx-Spurs star Eric Dier celebrates with Manuel Neuer after the full-time whistle[/caption]

Raya had flapped at a cross from the right and then Guerreiro delivered one from the left with full-back Kimmich escaping the attentions of Martinelli to score with a stooping header. 

Arsenal had conceded twice in quick succession in the home leg, then again against Villa, and they almost did so again. 

Guerreiro, a proper menace, cut back low but Sane blazed his shot miles over when he could have put the tie to bed. 

Arsenal attacked throughout injury-time but they never looked like scoring. 

In truth, they didn’t look like scoring all night. 

They didn’t lack bottle, they simply lacked punch.