Arsenal had to settle for glorious failure as they beat Bayern Munich 2-0 but saw the Germans go through on away goals
The final whistle goes and in the end, despite a storming fightback in this second leg, it's not to be for Arsenal. Isn't that just the way for Arsenal? They gave themselves a mountain to climb after the first leg and then, against all the odds, they've beaten Bayern Munich on their own patch. So the question is: why can't they do it when it really matters? Almost Football Club, sadly. Bayern's team - and fans - were so flat this evening but they're in the draw for the quarter-finals. They'll have to play better than this if they're going to go any further though, although they seemed to think the job was done. As for Arsenal, it's a battle to get back into this competition next season.
Meanwhile In the other game, Malaga are through after beating Porto 2-0 to win 2-1 on aggregate. Thanks for reading. Night.
90 min+2: A stupid foul by Arteta buys Bayern more time. And then another on Robben down in the right corner. What a clown.
90 min+1: There will be three minutes of added time and I suspect Bayern will spend much of it wasting time. Rosicky loses the ball and Muller finds Robben on the left of the area. He shoots and it's heroically blocked by Mertesacker!
90 min: It's up for grabs now...
89 min: Bayern are panicking now. Gomez concedes a free-kick just inside his own and is booked. Arteta stands over it. Mertesacker and Koscielny go up ... but the free-kick drifts out for a goal-kick. What a waste.
87 min: Bayern deserve this. They've been so sloppy but is there enough time left for Arsenal to make them pay?
86 min: In that brouhaha, Koscielny picked up a booking that earns him a ban.
Unbelievable! Arsenal only need one more goal and they're through! Oxlade-Chamberlain won a corner on the right, his cross deflecting off Alaba. Cazorla whipped it in and Koscielny rose above Martinez to plant a low header into the bottom-left corner. A playground scuffle ensues as both sets of players try to get the ball. It's eventually sorted out.
84 min: Cazorla will also miss Arsenal's next European match after being booked but it might not be until next season.
82 min: Fabianski makes a good save from Muller. The forward made space for the shot on the right of the area but Fabianski beat out his low drive. Shortly afterwards there's a clash in the air between Martinez and Rosicky, which flattens both. The referee has a card in his hand and Rosicky's already been booked - but it's for Martinez. He'll be suspended for the next match.
81 min: Bayern replace Toni Kroos, who had a poor game by his standards, with the more defensive Anatoliy Tymoshchuk.
80 min: Another foul on Robben and a booking for Mertesacker.
79 min: What a chance for Gervinho! He's actually done quite well since coming on. He cuts in from the left and plays a one-two with Cazorla, before a brilliant dragback takes him into a confrontation with Neuer. He's just stretching as he tries to reach the ball and his toepoke with his right slithers past the far post, with Giroud unable to make up the ground. A let-off for Bayern.
78 min: Arsenal have panicked so many times when they've had time on the ball.
76 min: Oxlade-Chamberlain finds Jenkinson on the overlap and his low cross finds Giroud at the far post. He controls it with his back to goal and falls over, but can't manage to turn it to Cazorla who was clear in the middle.
74 min: Giroud is booked for whacking the ball against the advertising hoardings after being penalised for handball. Bayern attack and Robben cuts inside before, yep, hitting a left-footed shot over the bar. "Always found the similarity between Matt Damon and Michael Ballack amusing, and in their younger days if you squinted really hard Damon's bff and fellow chelsea mitfit Ben Affleck and Scotty Parker," says Jack Coleman.
73 min: Bayern bring off Mario Mandzukic and bring on Mario Gomez.
"If Arsenal can beat Reading after being 4-0 down in the League Cup, surely they can wallop this tame Bayern team?" says Russell Child.
72 min: Arsenal make two changes: Gervinho is on for Aaron Ramsey and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is on for Theo Walcott. Assuming Walcott's not picked up an injury, that's a perplexing substitution. He's a goalscorer, one of their few players with pace and Rosicky's not done much.
71 min: Another shot from Kroos, but the ball's bobbling as it comes to him and he slashes his effort way off target.
70 min: Twenty minutes. It seems increasingly unlikely that Arsenal can get the two goals they need. Apart from the goal, Manuel Neuer hasn't had anything else to do.
68 min: For the first time, Bayern show why they're regarded as one of the tournament favourites. On the right, Robben plays a give-and-go with Mandzukic and hares off in pursuit of the Croatian's lovely flick. He's clean through on goal but Jenkinson gets across to force him to take the shot early and Fabianski pushes his toepoke with his left foot wide. Arsenal clear the resulting corner but only momentarily. The ball pings around their box and Gibbs has to make a last-ditch block as the goal was turned goalwards from close range.
66 min: At some point, Arsenal are going to have to commit more men forward. Bayern don't look to be in any real danger at the moment. Perhaps Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain could make a difference off the bench. They don't want to leave it too late.
65 min: "Speaking of doppelgangers and the Pope, did anyone else think Norris from Coronation Street?" says David Flynn.
64 min: Lahm drills a pass towards the edge of the area for Gustavo, who opens up his body and places a careful shot just wide. Moments later, Robben sets up Kroos on the edge of the area but his effort is awful. Most of Bayern's chances have come from long-range tonight.
63 min: Now Rosicky is booked for a foul on Robben. "I would not be surprised if the earliest picture of a newborn Robben in the arms of his proud parents shows him wearing gloves," says Ian Copestake.
62 min: Arsenal are almost caught out by a ball-boy! A Bayern youngster quickly chucks a ball to Lahm on the right and his speedy throw releases Muller down the inside-channel. He's forced slightly wide though and his cross hits Koscielny and falls kindly for Fabianski.
61 min: Cazorla can hit it straight into the wall. This is, in all honesty, a drab match. It needs another Arsenal goal.
60 min: Rosicky skips away from Gustavo, who brings him down clumsily. Arsenal have a free-kick in a good position, around 25 yards out. What can Cazorla do with it?
59 min: "The Wire’s Marlo Stanfield and Man Utd’s Ashley Young are one and the same person," says Andrew Laws. "He puts Stringer’s copyshop alibi to shame."
58 min: Muller cuts inside from the right, on to his left foot, and hits a low shot from 25 yards out that Fabianski saves well. Once again, the stadium is silent. It's really weird.
57 min: Lahm is booked for bringing down Cazorla. "You know what this game needs?" says Paul Dreyer. "Pine martens."
56 min: Rosicky wins a challenge and hoicks a pass through to Walcott but the flag goes up for offside. A marginal decision. Quite possible a wrong decision. Walcott was clean through. Up the other end, Muller wriggles to the right byline and hammers a low cross into the middle. It slips underneath Fabianski's body but fortunately for Arsenal it took everyone in a Bayern shirt by surprise.
54 min: Arsenal embark on a rare sortie forward. Gibbs pings a pass from left to right for Giroud, who chests it up and then spanks a ludicrous volley over the bar from around 30 yards out. He had three or four team-mates up in support with him. Choices, choices. On the touchline, Arsene Wenger is hopping up and down in annoyance, hot white smoke coming out of his ears. Is there a new pope?
53 min: The frequency with which Ramsey and Rosicky have given the ball away has been unforgivable. "Sam Allardyce has always reminded me of Bea Arthur," says Russell Child.
51 min: "How about Phillipe Mexes and his perpetually strained face who looks the spit of Jeremy Renner," says Scott Langford.
49 min: Robben races through the middle again and feeds Kroos on the right. His cross is turned behind by Koscielny and the resulting corner comes to nothing. Arsenal haven't defended as well as this for a long time but they need to get something going up front at some point. As it is, Bayern are doing all the attacking and Robben drills one well over from distance.
48 min: Arsenal fail to close down Kroos properly and his piledriver from 25 yards out whizzes just wide, hitting the stanchion behind the goal.
"Andres Iniesta is a dead ringer for James Dean Bradfield, lead singer of the Manic Street Preachers," says Robin Hazlehurst. "I can't find any photographic evidenc to prove this, and I can find a lot to contradict it, but it's still true. Every time I see him I'm surprised he is wearing a football shirt and I expect him to burst into 'And if you tolerate this...' at any moment."
47 min: Instead it's almost Bayern who get the next goal. Again Ramsey loses possession, this time to Robben inside his own half. Robben charges at the Arsenal defence and then fizzes a low shot just past the far post via a slight deflection off Jenkinson. I'm not sure Fabianski would have got to that.
46 min: Bayern get us going again. They're going to have to be much better in this half, although Arsenal still need two goals. If Arsenal get the next goal, though, this is going to get very interesting indeed.
By the way in the other game Isco's goal for Malaga has drawn them level at 1-1 with Porto on aggregate.
"Berbatov = Andy Garcia," says Kevin Reeve.
"Gerald Johanssen from Nickelodeon's "Hey Arnold!" as Danny
George Costanza Connor Fleming.
"I've said it before (which is why I have a picture ready to go) and I'll say it again: Xavi is a dead ringer for Brad Garrett, formerly of the US sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond," says Sarah Rothwell again.
"Talking of doppelgangers, Giroud looked like a football player for a while in that half," parps Simon McMahon.
"Olivier Giroud has a body double in James Roday who plays Shawn on the show Psych," says Martin Wiele.
And that's the end of a first half, which could hardly have gone much better for Arsenal. They still need two more goals and can't afford to concede but Bayern have been rocked by Olivier Giroud's early goal.
45 min: There will be one additional minute.
44 min: Gibbs is booked for a wild challenge from behind on Robben. He might argue he played the ball but he took Robben out first and the referee couldn't wait to get his cards out. Maybe they're new.
43 min: "I've always thought Vermaelen looks like Jude Law," says Gareth Beale. He looks like someone I play football with. Hi Soosh!
41 min: Giroud is back on, walking a little gingerly. You might have noticed from that jump in time that I'm completely making up the minutes as I go along but it's my minute-by-minute and I'll do what I want.
38 min: Olivier Giroud is down injured after being caught by Van Buyten. It's ok, Arsenal have ... Gervinho on the bench. "If Bayern sub in Mario Gomez it will be a Crispin Glover Doppleganger Showdown™," offers Ty Kreft.
37 min: Bayern have been so disappointing. They don't look much like potential winners playing like this. It's almost as if they're not quite sure how to approach this, as if they don't want to leave themselves open to another sucker-punch from Arsenal.
35 min: In the other match, it's still Malaga 0-0 Porto. Porto lead 1-0 on aggregate. "We all know Philip Lahm's a double for Sean Ingle- how about Manuel Neuer for Tobey Maguire?" says Simon Frank. "Is there a doppleganger XI in the Champions League?"
32 min: There's a suggestion that Gibbs has pulled a muscle. "Is the chap who resembles Crispin Glover in Charlie's Angels wearing the wrong shirt?" says Mark Hammond of Rosicky. "I only ask as he's doing a great job at breaking up Arsenal attacks."
31 min: The Walcott-Giroud combination almost brings a second goal for Arsenal. Walcott ran at Alaba on the right and then drove a magnificent low cross towards the far post and into that area that defenders and goalkeepers hate. Giroud was this far away from making decisive contact with the ball in. Another warning for Bayern. This is far from a done deal.
29 min: Bayern are getting closer and Arsenal are starting to creak. You feel it won't be too long before Bayern make them pay. On the right, Robben arcs a cross into the middle. It's not a particularly dangerous one but Mertesacker hacks his clearance straight to Muller, who drills a shot into the side-netting from a tight angle. There were a few people in the crowd who thought that was in.
28 min: Robben has a dig from the edge of the area but drags his low left-footer a couple of yards wide of the left post. "Are there one or two invisible Arsenal players on the pitch?" says Rob Coughlin. "There have been several passes to no one over the last several minutes."
27 min: After that Bayern move broke down, Arsenal had a counter of their own but it ended with a terrible pass from Walcott. The goal aside, Arsenal have been poor in the final third.
26 min: This is exceptional defending from the promising Carl Jenkinson. From an Arsenal free-kick, Bayern break with Robben steaming forward. He's one-on-one with Jenkinson, the last defender, but the youngster doesn't panic, stands Robben up and then outmuscles him when he tries to beat him for pace and power. Well played.
25 min: Bayern create their best chance of the match and it's because Arsenal aren't treating the ball with enough care. On the right, Lahm pulls the back to Kroos - who's left all alone on the edge of the area, just as he was when he scored at the Emirates - but his low sidefoot is too close to Fabianski.
23 min: If you're having trouble seeing the description of the goal, press F5. For some reason, the autorefresh doesn't work, although I can do
21 min: "Not to nitpick," nitpicks Zach Neeley. "But Arsenal also need Bayern to play like Milan. No biggie."
19 min: Bayern are getting a bit tetchy at a couple of decisions not going their way and the crowd is pretty quiet. There's no real zip about their play at the moment. On the left, Alaba tries to whip in another cross but it's far too close to Fabianski. Still, it's hard to see where another Arsenal goal is coming from at the moment.
16 min: This isn't a great team. Bayern don't seem to be taking Arsenal entirely seriously but the visitors have struggled to muster a notable attack since Giroud's early goal. Perhaps Bayern are missing Schweinsteiger and Ribery more than we thought they would. "It is undeniable that Jupp Heynckes has very important hair," says Ian Copestake. "It seems to be otherworldy and reminds me of this."
15 min: I have absolutely no idea what minute it is by the way. Good old Guardian. Robben clips a pass forward in search of Mandzukic but Mertesacker does well to shepherd it back to Fabianski, who has been assured in everything he's done so far.
14 min: Bayern are starting to work up a head of steam and Arsenal are struggling to get a kick. Both Kroos and Lahm have shots blocked on the edge of the area in quick succession, but the worry for Arsenal is that they keep giving the ball away and inviting Bayern to pour forward.
12 min: Every player is like Bambi on ice out there. The pitch is so slippery. Someone's going to do themselves a mischief!
11 min: A free-kick to Arsenal, around 40 yards from goal. It's too far too shoot and a bit too central for a cross, so Cazorla just drives it forward, hoping against hope. Mertesacker can't reach it.
10 min: Van Buyten pings a pass out to Alaba on the left. He crosses and the ball eventually falls to Muller at the near post. He tries to turn away from Koscielny but he has to settle for a corner, Fabianski unable to stop the ball from going behind. From the resulting corner, Kroos's delivery finds Gustavo at the far post but he volleys over first-time from around 15 yards out.
9 min: All Arsenal need to do now is play like Barcelona. Easy. "The Vermaelen conundrum should come as no surprise for anyone who's been following Arsenal over the years," says Maher Sattar. "Wenger's been going through captains in ways as creative as Henry VIII went through wives. Vieira, Henry, Gallas, Fabregas, Van Persie, now Vermaelen. Divorced, separated, put to sleep; Divorced, agitated, lost his feet."
8 min: Apologies if there any discrepancies with the timings of each entry by the way. I can't see the clock on the screen, so I'm basically making it up as I go along (Bayern are winning 10-0 in reality). "The self-flagellation of Arsenal fans on here is a joy to behold for us neutrals," says Simon McMahon. "And, as is the case with all true pessimists, the start they have made tonight will only make things worse."
7 min: Now the Bayern fans wake up. The worry for Arsenal is that they've gone and made the Germans angry. Arsenal look up for this though. There was an urgency about them from the first whistle.
6 min: Bayern look for an instant response. A loose ball breaks to Kroos in the middle after another slip - this time from Arteta - and he lets fly from 25 yards out. It's a decent effort, hit firmly and with accuracy, but Fabianski dives to his left to hold well. That'll do him some good.
It's on! It is on! This is a quality goal from Arsenal, although the defending from Bayern left much to be desired. A lovely pass from Cazorla set Ramsey off on a run up the left flank. He slipped a pass inside to Rosicky and when Alaba slipped, he was able to feed a pass to the right for Walcott, who was clear in the area. He slammed a cross-shot into the six-yard box and there was Giroud to slam the ball high into the net from two yards out. Well I never. The Allianz Arena is suddenly very quiet.
2 min: Arsenal are stroking it about confidently at the back. They've got this one in the bag. "I understand that Valencia and Lille (I don't know anything about Bate Borisov) are not powerhouses but it's rather harsh to rate them as not even "proper sides"," says Gene Salorio. "I suspect there are players starting tonight for Arsenal that wouldn't get into the starting lineup for either team." Come on. Lille.
Peep! And let the Munich Miracle begin, as Arsenal kick off, attacking from left to right. Koscielny hoicks a high ball forward to Giroud. Classic Arsenal. Bayern are soon on the attack but Muller's offside from the pass by Robben. Happily I can't see the clock.
Here come the teams. 3,500 Arsenal fans have been drinking heartily in Munich today. Bayern Munich are in red kit; Arsenal are in their purple and black hoops. Jamie Redknapp says that Arsenal have to hope Bayern Munich are arrogant. Of course they'll be arrogant, says Graeme Souness, but that doesn't mean they won't win.
Some more pre-match emails.
"In horse racing you can be fined for not trying hard enough (related more to the hold betting has over that sport than its ethics)," says Ian Copestake. "Arsenal seem to have avoided that accusation here, but I am still wishing I had the Pope's Bieber-like following so I could ask some questions of the effort put in by Inter Milan against Spurs."
"As one myself, I'd like to ask, are there any Arsenal fans out there who look forward to any Arsenal game with any kind of optimism at all?" says Rohit Kapur. "I can't remember the last time I sat down to watch a game, confident in a victory. The saddest part for me is that I'm most apprehensive when Arsenal are playing newly-promoted/lower-league teams; those are the games I'm most confident Arsenal will lose."
"The Vermaelen situation is an interesting one," says Harry Tuttle. "From the outside looking in, his rise to the captaincy suggested that no-one in a position of power at Arsenal could recognise a dodgy centre-half when they saw one. But that can't be right, surely?"
Mad Jens is being interviewed. Sadly he didn't urinate on the pitch.
Introducing a new Guardian series: DID YOU KNOW?
DID YOU KNOW that the new pope is Argentinian and Lionel Messi and Diego Maradona are also Argentinian? No? Well now YOU KNOW!
"I think it might be interesting to mention that Pavel Kralovec, tonight's referee, has been sidelined by the Referee Comission for three matches in the Czech Republic for wrong calls in last weekend's game between Sparta Prague and Jablonec," informs Pavel Bacovsky. "This decision came in yesterday, so it will be interesting how Kralovec handles the ChL pressure."
On Sky, Arsene Wenger has been talking about some of Arsenal's famous away wins in Europe. His examples? Thierry Henry-inspired victories against Inter in 2003 and Real Madrid in 2006. Don't buy the spin.
"I take your point about Arsenal's line-up against Olympiakos - Squillaci and Chamakh in particular - but as a pessimistic Arsenal fan (is there any other kind at the moment?) it would have only meant at best winning in this round and then drawing someone too good for us in the next one," says Steven Pye. "The extra money would have been nice (we wouldn't have spent it on players come the Summer though), and yes it may have prolonged our season for a few weeks, but the bigger issue to me was dropping Cazorla, Walcott and Wilshere against Blackburn, and throwing away an opportunity in a competition that we actually had a chance of winning. Mind you, playing his best team against Bradford hardly worked though, so what do I know?
Well who's to say that Arsenal couldn't beat, say, Malaga/Porto or Galatasaray on their day?
"One thing I haven't seen any comment on (I may have missed it) is how poor Arsenal's goal-scoring form has been lately," says Richard Arthur. "They had 18 in September, 14 in October, 14 in November, 17 in December, 15 in January, and only 5 in February. Admittedly, they only had 5 games. But only 5 goals? For a team built to attack? Is this form likely to change today? It's a good place to start ..."
They had Robin van Persie there, and now it's Olivier Giroud and Lukas Podolski.
"Yesterday, the conclave called it a night quite early, just in time to see Milan get trashed in Barcelona," says Mikael Andersen. "Tonight, they'll be done just in time for the cardinals and the new pope to see some interesting CL again (off course talking about the Malaga - Porto game, sorry). Coincidence? I guess old men in seriously silly hats can still be football hipsters..."
The big call that Arsene Wenger has made has been to leave out Wojciech Szczesny and bring in Lukasz Fabianski, who hasn't played for more than a year. In that sense, it's a slightly bizarre decision, although Szczesny has been going through a dodgy patch this season. He's a talented goalkeeper, but he's young and it can't help playing behind that defence. It surely gives David de Gea more confidence knowing that someone with the stature of Nemanja Vidic is in front of him, rather than a collection of bumbling eedjits.
This was the team that Arsenal played at Olympiakos in December. They needed a win to have any chance of winning their group, which would have stopped them playing Bayern. I'll leave you to draw your own conclusions.
Szczesny; Jenkinson, SQUILLACI, Vermaelen, Meade; Ramsey, Rosicky, Coquelin; Gervinho, CHAMAKH, Oxlade-Chamberlain. Subs: Shea, Angha, Hajrovic, Monteiro, Arshavin, Akpom, Ansah.
IT WAS ALL AN ELABORATE BLUFF! MIND GAMES FROM ARSENE WENGER! Is he the new Jose Mourinho? Despite reports saying that Arsenal would field a Representative XI tonight, they've actually picked a fairly strong side and have correctly left out Thomas Vermaelen. Lukas Podolski and Jack Wilshere are still out but Santi Cazorla and Theo Walcott play. One problem: Bayern are at full pelt, give or take a suspended Schweinsteiger and an injured Ribery.
Bayern Munich: Neuer; Lahm, Dante, Van Buyten, Alaba; Martinez, Gustavo; Muller, Kroos, Robben; Mandzukic. Subs: Starke, Rafinha, Contento, Shaqiri, Tymoshchuk, Pizarro, Gomez.
Arsenal: Fabianski; Jenkinson, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs; Arteta, Ramsey; Walcott, Rosicky, Cazorla; Giroud. Subs: Mannone, Arshavin, Vermaelen, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Diaby, Gervinho, Coquelin.
Referee: Pavel Kralovec (Czech Republic).
Good evening. Perhaps this is Arsene Wenger's way of sticking two fingers up at Michel Platini. Arsenal managed to make a game of this tie for all of seven minutes, before Toni Kroos effectively settled it in Bayern Munich's favour, and are approaching tonight's second leg in the manner of a teenager who hasn't bothered revising for an exam in a subject he knows he'll be dropping anyway. Arsenal's plan appears to be to roll over and let Bayern tickle them for 90 minutes, with Wenger reportedly leaving out several of his senior players and picking what is essentially a reserve team instead. Well, they do have a big game away at Swansea on the weekend and if they don't win that, then they won't be able to get another punch in the gob in the Champions League next season.
That quote from Thomas Vermaelen - the captain, remember - about almost beating Milan last season summed it up. Sure, Arsenal were brilliant in that first half against Milan, racing into a 3-0 lead, but when the game was there to be won in the second half, they were nowhere to be seen; it's been similar against the best sides this season, when they've often trailed 2-0, pulled one goal back and then quietly lost anyway. Maybe we're about to witness something sensational tonight, Arsenal taking their lead from Barcelona's return to form against Milan last night, but I'd advise against holding your breath on that front (partly because you'll die, partly because it's not going to happen).
Against Bayern three weeks ago, it was hardly a fair fight, with Arsenal thoroughly outplayed by this outstanding German side. Arsenal may well not be the last side to find themselves on the end of a beating this season from Bayern, who look determined to give Jupp Heynckes the perfect send-off ahead of the arrival of Pep Guardiola. They're 20 points clear at the top of the Bundesliga and are being widely held up as the favourites to win the Champions League. Yet as with Barcelona's apparent demise before last night's match, sometimes it's possible to go overboard about how good Bayern are. After all, with all due respect to Arsenal, we're yet to see how they'll fare against a proper side in Europe this season. Although this is a side who can afford to lose Franck Ribery to an injury and call upon Arjen Robben instead. Fear not, Arsenal, it will all be over soon.