Bayern Munich have booked themselves a place in the Champions League quarterfinals, drawing 1-1 with Arsenal on the night. The result means the Bavarians go through to the next stage 3-1 on aggregate.
If Bayern were worried about Arsenal, and a repeat of last year’s tricky two legs against the Londoners, they didn’t let it show too much.
Bayern only progressed last year on away goals, having lost their home leg against the Gunners 2-0. Any repeat of that would have sent the match to penalties this time around.
True, it started cautiously enough at the Allianz Arena, but not for long as Bastian Schweinsteiger blasted in an effort from 25 yards out - albeit straight at Arsenal keeper Lukasz Fabianski.
After spending the day in court on tax evasion charges, Bayern President Hoeness likely had other things on his mind during the match
Bayern looked by far the more confident side, and Arsenal appeared increasingly unlikely to overturn Bayern on their own patch once again. A particularly bright Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain made for an exceptional moment though, cutting inside and leaving Bayern looking exposed for a rare moment. A botched challenge from Dante put an end to that, and the Brazilian's yellow card means he misses Bayern’s quarterfinal.
Pep Guardiola's men came close to undoing Arsenal’s hopes twice in swift succession soon after, as David Alaba put in a dangerous cross that Per Mertesacker was able to clear. Moments later it was Phillip Lahm who burst into the box – but the Bayern captain was just ruled offside.
Little to celebrate for Londoners
For a moment, 26 minutes in, Bayern looked to have taken a step closer as Javi Martinez drove home a side-footed volley from a Thiago free kick. The goal, though, was judged offside.
That goal being disallowed was perhaps the best moment of the first half for Arsenal. Bayern meanwhile, proved resilient, constantly winning the ball back but somehow failing to test Fabianski.
For Germany’s Mesut Özil, it was an unhappy trip home. Looking ineffective throughout the first half, he was substituted at the break for Thomas Rosicky.
Arsenal continued to look unconvincing as the second half opened, with Bayern soon to make their dominance truly count.
They did that on 55 minutes, as Franck Ribery ran at Bacary Sagna, finding himself with plenty of space to pass to Bastian Schweinsteiger - who clipped in coolly over the keeper from seven yards out.
Gunners strike back
Next came a moment to perfectly illustrate the maxim that a team is at its most vulnerable when it’s just scored. Former Bayern boy Lukas Podolski robbed the ball from Lahm and lashed it into the roof of the net from a tight angle on the left. The manner of Podolski’s slight brush with Lahm caused some consternation in Bavarian circles, but the goal stood.
Arsenal looked to have got the bit between the teeth in the minutes that followed, with Oxlade-Chamberlain almost adding a second, but Manuel Neuer gathered it up.
After that though, Bayern snuffed out much of the residual threat by simply denying Arsenal the ball.
There was a late moment of drama as late sub Thomas Müller took a penalty, awarded for Laurent Koscielny’s foul on Arjen Robben. The ball was stopped by Fabianski, but retained enough energy to spin - on the line - for a slow, tense few seconds. Both teams in the end, marched back into the dressing room level, but with Bayern the overall victors.
"We put in a very, very good first-half and controlled the game by giving away no goal chances," said Lahm. "But we made a few too many mistakes in the second-half."