Bayern Munich will play Arsenal in UCL 2nd leg

On Wednesday night, Arsenal will play the second leg of their tantalizing quarterfinal matchup with Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena, the site of many a Champions League defeat
MUNICH, GERMANY - MAY 20: Thomas Mueller of FC Bayern Munich looks dejected after the team's defeat in the Bundesliga match between FC Bayern München and RB Leipzig at Allianz Arena on May 20, 2023 in Munich, Germany.

(Football news) The first match of the season at the Emirates last week was undoubtedly exciting, but Mikel Arteta’s team was left to regret uncharacteristic errors in a 2-2 draw with the former Bundesliga champions, who emerged victorious from a hard-fought stalemate despite the lack of an away goal.

Despite not making the cut in Arsenal colors during their time in the Gunners academy, Serge Gnabry and Harry Kane undoubtedly made an impression on Emirates fans during a thrilling four-goal match that was ignited by a superb finish from Bukayo Saka.

However, as the magnitude of the occasion weighed heavily on Arsenal’s inexperienced shoulders, Bayern’s individual quality came to the fore, as Gnabry and Kane both returned to North London with a bang to turn the tide for Thomas Tuchel’s side, who were only denied a pivotal win by super sub Leandro Trossard.

Bayern Munich survived a petrifying heart-in-mouth moment right at the death, though, as Manuel Neuer’s collision with Saka was not deemed penalty worthy – much to the latter’s fury – but the Emirates stalemate certainly benefits Bayern Munich, even with the away goals rule now a thing of the past.

When Bayern Munich took to the North London soil, they retained a weak grasp on their German top-flight title and did all they could to delay Bayer Leverkusen’s coronation with a 2-0 beating of Koln on Saturday, but Die Werkself’s five-star thrashing of Werder Bremen the next day means that the hosts’ 11-year reign of supremacy in the Bundesliga is now history.

The removal of domestic doubt may breathe new life into a Bayern side who now only have European stardom to fight for between now and the end of the season, and the Bavarians have advanced from 17 of their last 18 Champions League knockout ties when avoiding defeat in the first leg, as well as going unbeaten in their last 14 home matches in Europe’s top tournament.

However, Bayern’s sole elimination in that 18-tie sequence came at the hands of English opposition in the 2018-19 season in the shape of Liverpool, whose Premier League slip-up versus Crystal Palace presented Arsenal with a prime opportunity to create some breathing space in the title race.

Expectation quickly became embarrassment for the Gunners faithful, though, as after failing to make their first-half dominance against Aston Villa count, Leon Bailey and Ollie Watkins’s strikes meant that Unai Emery had the last laugh against his erstwhile employers.

A handful of glass-half-empty Arsenal fans have already resigned their side to another title failure as Mikel Arteta’s men trail Manchester City by two points following their first Premier League loss of 2024, one which saw Villa weather a first-half storm before getting their reward for their second-45 dominance.

Though Arsenal’s dismal performance on Sunday will not last long, the away supporters should find solace in the team’s outstanding defensive performance against their rivals, which has seen them allow just one goal in their last six away games and maintain three straight clean sheets.

Though Arsenal comes into Munich fresh off consecutive 5-1 away losses to Bayern Munich in 2015 and 2017, no Gooner needs to be reminded of the visitors’ past humiliations on the Allianz Arena field. Arsenal has only won one of their last six road games against the Bavarians. Even however, Bayern’s 2-0 victory in the second leg of the playoffs in March 2013 was meaningless because of the eliminated away goals rule, which they cannot depend on to achieve

Also read: Manchester City will play Real Madrid in UCL 


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