Bay­ern rout leaves Ar­se­nal in big trou­ble

Thi­ago dou­ble helps Mu­nich put one foot in quar­ter-fi­nals

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Bay­ern Mu­nich an­swered its crit­ics with a com­pre­hen­sive 5-1 rout of Ar­se­nal in the first leg of their Cham­pi­ons League clash to put one foot in the quar­ter­fi­nals on Wed­nes­day.

Thi­ago Al­can­tara struck twice in a su­perb per­for­mance, while Ar­jen Robben, Robert Le­wandowski and sub­sti­tute Thomas Muller scored the other goals. Ar­se­nal now faces what seems a near-im­pos­si­ble task in the sec­ond leg of the Round of 16 on March 7, de­spite a first-half equal­izer from Alexis Sanchez.

Bay­ern had been un­con­vinc­ing in its five games since the win­ter break but the home side soon took con­trol of the game.

There was lit­tle Ar­se­nal goal­keeper David Ospina could do to stop Robben from open­ing the scor­ing in the 11th minute. Given too much space, the Dutch­man cut in­side as he’s done so of­ten be­fore and let fly with a shot that went in off the un­der­side of the bar.

Ar­se­nal was given a life­line when Le­wandowski took down Ar­se­nal cap­tain Lau­rent Ko­scielny in the box and the ref­eree awarded the penalty be­fore the half-hour mark.

Amid deaf­en­ing whis­tles from the home fans, Manuel Neuer saved Sanchez’ weak spot kick and Sanchez then missed the re­bound but the Chilean cut the Bay­ern fans’ cheers short when he prod­ded in at the third at­tempt.

Ar­se­nal, which lost cap­tain Lau­rent Ko­scielny to in­jury early in the sec­ond half, ap­pears set to exit in the Round of 16 for the sev­enth sea­son in a row.

But it was all Bay­ern for the sec­ond half as Le­wandowski rose above two de­fend­ers to head into a 2-1 lead on 53 min­utes. The Poland striker pro­duced a bril­liant back-heeled flick to send Thi­ago through to score an­other three min­utes later.

Thi­ago grabbed his sec­ond a few min­utes later, with a de­flected shot af­ter a cor­ner, be­fore Müller com­pleted the rout two min­utes af­ter he came on in the 86th.

Jean Catuffe/Getty Im­aGes

Mu­nich’s Thomas Muller cel­e­brates mak­ing it 5-1 against Ar­se­nal at Al­lianz Arena in Ger­many.

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