Belfast Telegraph

Brilliant Bayern Munich leave Arsenal with mountain to climb to stay in Champions League

Bayern Munich 5 - Arsenal 1

By Mark Bryans

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger maintains his side still have "a small chance" of reaching the knock-out stages of the Champions League despite a 5-1 himiliation against Bayern Munich.

The Gunners must win their last two games, hope Olympiakos lose their next game - at Bayern - then beat the Greeks by two clear goals in Athens.

"We have a small chance, our chances are minimal," said Wenger.

"We will give it our all to the chance to qualify."

Reflecting on last night's match, he added: "Our performance was not good enough. You have to face reality.

"You have to give credit to Bayern for their quality but we made things easy for them.

"We were extremely poor defensively."

Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker was remaining upbeat.

"We have to win both games and get two goals on Olympiakos, but it's not over and that's how we have to approach it," he said.

"We need to bounce back and put away negative energy."

"They scored too early for us and got into their rhythm - that was too difficult for us to go again."

The Gunners arrived in Germany full of confidence and with history on their side having never lost at the Allianz Arena.

But they were second-best throughout as Bayern showed that defeat at the Emirates Stadium a fortnight ago was the merest blip in their superb start to the season.

Robert Lewandowski put the hosts ahead early on as he sprung the rustiest of offside traps before a Thomas Muller brace as well as goals from David Alaba and substitute Arjen Robben did further damage - with Olivier Giroud scoring a scant consolation.

This galling defeat is the third in four Group F games and Wenger's side are now six points off second spot with two games remaining.

Mesut Ozil thought he had levelled for the visitors but was instead cautioned for handball as he turned home a Nacho Monreal cross almost straight after Bayern has gone in front.

Just 10 minutes in and Arsenal afforded Thiago the freedom of Munich as the Spain international delivered a sumptuous cross to Lewandowski, who headed home his 18th goal of the season as Gabriel played him onside.

The Brazilian, playing as Laurent Koscielny sat on the bench as a precaution due to a hip problem, had dropped deeper than his fellow defenders to play Lewandowski onside and then stepping up too late.

The second goal followed soon after, Muller on hand to turn past Petr Cech with the help of a deflection off Mertesacker's shin.

Alaba lashed home the third just before half-time.

Robben needed just one touch to add the fourth having come on for the impressive Coman nine minutes after the break.

Giroud volleyed a consolation for Arsenal.

Muller made no mistake in slotting home his second of the evening in the dying minutes to make this Arsenal's worst-ever Champions League defeat.

The Gunners are certainly in the last chance saloon.

B MUNICH: Neuer, Lahm, Boateng (Benatia 68), Javi Martínez, Alaba, Alonso, Coman (Robben 55), Müller, Thiago, Douglas Costa, Lewandowski (Vidal 71).

Goals: Lewandowski 10, Muller 29, 89, Alaba 44, Robben 55

Subs not used: Rafinha, Ulreich, Badstuber, Kimmich.

ARSENAL: Cech, Debuchy, Mertesacker, Gabriel, Monreal, Coquelin, Cazorla (Chambers 87), Campbell (Gibbs 59), Özil, Sánchez, Giroud (Iwobi 85).

Goal: Giroud 69

Subs not used: Koscielny, Flamini, Macey, Reine Adelaide.

Man of the match: Muller

Match rating: 8/10

Referee: Gianluca Rocchi (Italy).

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