In the first meeting, Arsenal had managed to come back from an early Arjen Robben goal and enter the half level at a goal apiece in Munich. But then Laurent Koscielny went off injured. Six minutes later, Bayern were up 2-1. Three minutes after that it was 3-1. Seven more minutes, 4-1. And finally, 5-1.
For all intents and purposes, this tie is over. And with Arsenal losing 3-1 to Liverpool, with Alexis Sanchez coming off the bench (Arsene Wenger claimed it was for tactical reasons, papers claimed it was because of an argument), their battle to even make the Champions League next year has gotten tougher.
Bayern meanwhile, have dismissed RB Leipzig’s title challenge and are relatively easily atop the Bundesliga table, with a seven point gap and 14 goals in their past three matches.
It looks as though Arsenal are certain to go out at the round of 16 for the seventh consecutive season, but surprisingly three sides have managed to overturn a four-goal deficit in the second leg of a UEFA competition (but not since the 80’s). Against Bayern, however, all Arsenal can realistically hope for is to regain a bit of pride.
With Shkodran Mustafi and Lucas Perez coming in to cover long term deficits at center back and forward, Arsene Wenger has no excuses left. While getting out of their group in the Champions League is now routine, the Gunners have exited in the second round for six consecutive years. Much like their EPL title drought, there is a perception that Arsenal are in a rut - incredibly talented, but struggling to reach the heights you’d expect from a squad of their talent. With this being the final year of Wenger’s contract, however, perhaps there will be a sense that being very good is no longer good enough.
Bayern last won the Champions League in 2013 and have since watched the trophy stay in Spain for three straight years, despite Pep leading them to four straight Bundesliga titles and the German national team atop international football. New manager Carlo Ancelotti’s charge is clear - get the Champions League trophy back to Munich. They’re bolstered by the additions of former Dortmund captain Mats Hummels and the Euros’ breakout young star, Renato Sanches. After losing in the semi-finals last year on away goals to Atletico Madrid, the German giants will be motivated to get back on top.
Recorded the second-highest assist tally in EPL history last season with 19.
Mustafi calmly marshaled a German defense that only allowed three goals in six matches at Euro 2016.
Equal parts bruiser and magician, Vidal won Serie A in each of his four seasons at Juventus.
Scored 42 goals in all competitions last season and began the new Bundesliga season with a hat trick.