Bayern draws with Arsenal to reach CL quarters
MUNICH (AP) — Club president Uli Hoeness’ trial overshadowed a subdued performance as Bayern Munich drew 1-1 with Arsenal to reach the Champions League quarterfinals with a 3-1 aggregate win from the round-of-16 on Tuesday.
With his trial for alleged tax evasion grabbing the headlines in Germany, Hoeness attended the game and was probably glad the spotlight left him, albeit temporarily.
“Good luck to Bayern. They’re a good side but this side is more vulnerable than last year’s,” Arsenal coach Arsene Wenger said.
Bayern captain Philipp Lahm acknowledged Hoeness’ trial was in the players’ minds.
“Of course it’s also an issue within the team,” Lahm said.
Bayern midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger finished coolly from Franck Ribery’s cross to put the defending champion in a commanding position in the 55th minute.
Lukas Podolski responded within two minutes against his former side by dispossessing Philipp Lahm in the penalty area and smashing the ball past Manuel Neuer to the roof of the net from an acute angle.
The goals breathed life into a game that Bayern mostly dominated. Nerves gripped the home side — perhaps as a result of the 2-0 home defeat to Arsenal at the same stage last season — but they didn’t last long.
“We played with a lot of intelligence,” Bayern coach Pep Guardiola said. “We deserved to progress.”
Thomas Mueller had the chance to make it 2-1 after Arjen Robben went down under Laurent Koscielny’s challenge, but Lukasz Fabianski saved his penalty on the line in injury time.
“Progression was never in danger. The way (we did it) will be all the same tomorrow,” Mueller said.
In the night’s other game, Diego Costa scored twice to lead Atletico Madrid to a 4-1 win over visiting AC Milan for a 5-1 aggregate victory. Atletico reached the quarterfinals for the first time since 1997.
Arsenal needed at least two goals but barely threatened in the first half. The home side enjoyed the lion’s share of possession and worked quickly to recover the ball after losing it.
“We played a very, very good first half,” captain Lahm said.
Dante earned a yellow card for taking down Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain on a counterattack in the eighth. The Arsenal midfielder would have been through on goal, and Dante will now miss Bayern’s next match.
Podolski forced a corner on another rare break. It was no trouble for the Bayern defense. The former Bayern forward was later booked for kicking the ball away in frustration.
Javi Martinez thought he scored with a flick on from the resultant free kick but it was ruled offside.
Arsenal was living on scraps. Oliver Giroud came closest with a header from a corner. Neuer caught it easily.
The best chances fell to Arjen Robben at the other end. The Dutchman mishit Franck Ribery’s floated cross and sent the ball over from 10 meters in the 20th, and should have scored again in the 38th, when Laurent Koscielny blocked his shot with the goalkeeper stranded.
Mario Mandzukic headed over shortly afterward, and Mario Goetze tested reserve goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski with a volley from short range before the break. Regular goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny had been sent off in the first leg.
The visitors were dealt a further blow when Mesut Ozil went off at halftime with a hamstring injury.
“It looks quite serious,” Wenger said. “He’ll be out for at least a few weeks. I hope it’s not too bad.”
It seemed just a matter of time before Bayern made the breakthrough. Ribery surged through on the left and found the ideally placed Schweinsteiger to open the scoring.
Podolski gave the visitors some hope but it was always going to be a struggle.
“In the second half the opportunities were there. But over two games I feel the difference was the sending off of our goalkeeper in the first game. It was a huge decision,” Wenger said.