Bayern took an important advantage back to Munich after the Champions League knockout round first leg tie against ten-man Arsenal at Emirates Stadium on Wednesday.
Second-half goals from Toni Kroos and Thomas Muller leave Arsène Wenger’s with a huge turnaround task at the Allianz Arena on March 11.
However the manager can take heart from the way his side matched the holders until the dismissal of Wojciech Szczesny seven minutes before the break for clipping Arjen Robben in the area.
David Alaba missed his spot-kick, as Mesut Ozil had after the German was brought down in ninth minute. However, with a man advantage, Bayern overwhelmed Arsenal after the interval.
The second half was one-way traffic with Bayern concentrating their efforts down the right.
They chiseled out dangerous positions on numerous occasions. Only Arsenal’s organisation, tenacity and guts kept them at bay.
However at 2-0 Wenger's team are still alive in the tie. Remember they won by the same score in Munich last season after trailing 3-1 from the first leg.
And they did not trouble Bayern as much in that game as they did this evening.
This was a match that hung on one key decision. It left Arsenal thinking “what if?” this evening.
But, having disgested the defeat they will be thinking “what’s possible?” on March 11.
SETTING THE SCENE
The inclusion of Yaya Sanogo from the start probably ranks as the surprise selection of the season so far by Wenger.
The young French striker had made an impressive full debut against Liverpool on Sunday but he was expected to drop out.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain had been another stand-out star at the weekend. He retained his place aswell.
Bayern were without Franck Ribery but there was plenty of talent on show from the runaway Bundesliga leaders.
Pre-match, Wenger had suggested they were the best team in the world at the moment.
Few would disagree.
Kroos had given the visitors an early lead in a nightmare opening to this fixture last season.
He would have repeated the trick this evening but Szczesny expertly tipped away his rasping drive from the top corner.
However Arsenal would not be intimidated tonight and they responded in tigerish fashion.
First Sanogo’s prod was saved by the stretching Manuel Neuer then Cazorla raced down the left and fired straight at the keeper. The chances gave Arsenal an impetus and lifted the crowd.
Soon they had something to shout about.
In the ninth minute, Wilshere released Ozil down the left-hand channel. He fooled Jerome Boateng and was crudely brought down.
The German took the penalty himself but Neuer thrust out a hand to parry the ball wide. A superb save.
Ozil punched the air in frustration and his team would lose their early fire as a result of the miss.
Bayern started to mount an ominous pressure but failed to test Szczesny. Even Alaba’s goal-bound effort was blocked by the flying Flamini.
At the other Sanogo and Oxlade-Chamberlain were catching the eye with their energy. Midway through the half the former curled an intelligent ball into the path of the latter, who closed down Neuer only for the keeper to just about clear his lines.
On the half-hour, Gibbs hobbled off to be replaced by Monreal. It was just a little nudge to game that was starting to drift in Bayern’s direction.
Robben swapped passes with Philipp Lahm but his shot was blocked. Then a superb challenge from Laurent Koscielny denied Mario Mandzukic.
Seven minutes from half-time the game changed. Kroos lifted a clever pass over the Arsenal defence for Robben to race through.
Szczesny clipped the Dutchman, whose shot went wide. However it was a penalty and an inevitable red card.
Wenger withdrew Cazorla to put on Fabianski and, though the keeper went the wrong way, Alaba slid his penalty against the base of the post.
The miss re-ignited the atmosphere.
This game was beyond drama now, it was pure emotion.
And we were only at half-time.
At the restart, Guardiola swapped Rafinha for Boateng, who was on a booking. The Spaniard reorganised his side with the intention of flying into Arsenal straight away.
The change of personnel and emphasis pushed the hosts on to the back foot. Fabianski saved from Rafinha and Robben as Bayern pressed.
In the 54th minute they broke through. Lahm fed Kross from the left and the midfielder fired a crisp, first-time effort that beat Fabianski high at the near post.
The goal only pushed Arsenal further into their shell.
The sending-off had changed the game. The home side had showed so much impetuousness in the first half. But Bayern can take apart top sides with 11 men, let alone when they have a numerical advantage.
Fabianski saved Robben’s shot and Mario Gotze headed wide but the seconds ticked away and Arsenal started to look for the whistle.
However Muller headed home from Lahm’s cross five minutes from time to double Bayern’s advantage. A crucial blow
And Kross even hit the post at the death.
At the end, you did not know what feel – pride at the first 30 minutes or disappointment at the final hour.
However the spirit the side displayed will give Bayern problems in Germany.
Very down but very much not out.
- Szczesny Red Card
- Gibbs 31
- Oxlade-Chamberlain 74
- Cazorla 38
- Sanogo Yellow Card
- Fabianski 38
- Monreal 31
- Rosicky 74 Yellow Card
- Boateng 46 Yellow Card
- Thiago 79
- Kroos Goal!
- Mandzukic 64 Yellow Card
- Rafinha 46
- Pizarro 79
- Muller 64 Goal!