Bayern Munich vs Arsenal Classic Clash: March 14, 2013

Arsenal will face Bayern Munich in a must-win encounter for either side as we take a look at one classic clash between them in March 2013.

In the impasse years, as some Arsenal fans would like to call them, when their club was away from Champions League action, it regressed to the bottom of the pit before it got better and got them the UEFA Champions League date with Bayern Munich. Manoeuvring their way through the second-tier Europa League and fighting to stay relevant as a top-four club had taken a toll on their fanbase.

Under Mikel Arteta, these fans can dream again about bringing some of the glory days back to the club, as Arsenal are indeed fighting on two major fronts. The Gunners might have lost ground in the Premier League title race at the weekend after the loss to Aston Villa. But they are still in with a big chance in the Champions League.

Goals from Leon Bailey and Ollie Watkins sealed the points for Unai Emery’s side upon his first return to the Emirates as a Premier League manager. The result not only dented Arsenal’s title challenge but boosted their own in the context of the top four race.

Back to Arsenal, there are concerns about morale issues after such a defining loss in the league and how they will mentally cope ahead of the Champions League clash with Bayern Munich. The Bavarians are no slouches, as they have the experience to cope with games like this, especially the way they played at the Emirates.

Arsenal were slightly better in the first leg, considering the side that created more chances and in terms of dominating the game. However, Bayern Munich were able to get behind an otherwise formidable Gunners backline and exploit it with their pacey wingers and clinical finishing.

Winning is the only mantra these two teams can adopt when taking on one another at the Allianz Arena. Arsenal is keen to go into the semi-final and eager to forget their loss at the weekend. Bayern Munich, on the other hand, just lost the Bundesliga title to Bayer Leverkusen and will want to get past that heartache with a stellar win on Wednesday.

The game seems poised for an entertaining clash at the Allianz Arena on Wednesday. But before that, we take a look at one of the recent classic clashes between the two teams. We go back to 2013, when Arsenal were coming to Munich after a 3-1 defeat at the Emirates, as we look further into what unfolded in Germany.

Laying the Setting

Ahead of this big clash in Munich, the mood among both fanbases is dramatically low following the weekend’s events. Starting with Arsenal, their supporters barely envisaged a loss to Aston Villa on home soil, which has put a big dent in their title hopes.

With the Premier League race dependent on small margins, the Gunners could have finished the weekend as outright leaders after Liverpool lost ground with a home loss to Crystal Palace. The Gunners had hoped to come away with three points. But an Unai Emery masterclass ruined their weekend.

They might be only two points behind new leaders Manchester City, which one should expect to make the race even tighter. However, it is the psychological advantage Pep Guardiola’s side might have now that worries the Arsenal fanbase.

It is a big worry considering how Manchester City came from nearly eight points from behind to win the Premier League over Arsenal emphatically. Hence, for Arteta, it is imperative that he brings the good feeling back into the side and gets the ball rolling for the remainder of the season. The fanbase could get a lift if Arsenal reach the Champions League semi-finals.

Bayern also have a problem that is more psychological than anything. The Bavarians did get back to winning ways after three games without a win in all competitions and beat Koln with a 2-0 scoreline. However, despite the three points, Bayer Leverkusen clinched the Bundesliga title with a 5-0 win over Werder Bremen.

That is a bitter blow for Bayern Munich and their manager, Thomas Tuchel, regarding dominance in the domestic league. It is nearly more than a decade since any other side won the Bundesliga crown, and now Bayer Leverkusen have managed that feat, their first in their 120-year history.

For Bayern to lose that way is a big statement in itself, and it could have ramifications for how the Bavarians perform for the remainder of the season. The big issue would be to immediately take part in their crunch Champions League encounter against Arsenal. Overall, this game at the Allianz promises an indifferent outcome that many would predict, as these are two teams severely tested over the weekend.

What Happened on March 14, 2013

This is not the first time Bayern Munich and Arsenal have faced off in a crunch encounter of this magnitude, although these teams have never met each other at this stage. Back in the 2012/13 season, these two sides were drawn again in the Round of 16 stage, and Bayern Munich were imperious in the first leg at the Emirates.

The Bavarians were in stunning form that season, and it showed with a 3-1 victory at the Emirates. Back then, away goals were a big currency for teams, and the Bavarians scored three past in North London. On a general note, any team with that many away goals is destined for success in the second leg. But Arsenal had other plans.

The Gunners went to the Allianz and immediately got ahead in the game with an Olivier Giroud opener in the third minute. The Gunners continued to threaten Bayern’s backline, but they could not get past them until very late in the contest.

Laurent Koscielny scored the second in the 86th minute to revitalise the travelling Arsenal supporters into thinking they still had a chance. With the game poised at 3-3 on aggregate, the Gunners were still a bit short in terms of away goals, as Bayern held their nerve until the end.

Despite scoring two goals away at Bayern Munich, the Gunners could not progress. They did not play the kind of easy game that everyone thought they would, which was a big blow to their chances in the Champions League, although Arsene Wenger did get a response from them in the right manner.

The Aftermath

That season, they had contrasting endings for both the clubs and their respective seasons. As for Arsenal, they once again fell short of even trying to challenge for the Premier League title, as Arsene Wenger did some errors in the transfer market that might have cost him.

That was also a controversial season for the Gunners as they had sold star striker Robin van Persie to bitter rivals Manchester United. The Dutchman ended the campaign as the top scorer for consecutive seasons, only this time lifting the Premier League title with Manchester United, his first-ever championship.

Manchester United has not won a title since then, but that one also marked a record 20th title in the English top flight. Arsenal finished the season in fourth, only narrowly ahead of local rivals Tottenham, who did put up a fight for those coveted Champions League places.

Bayern Munich ended the 2012/13 season by winning the ‘Treble’. That win over Arsenal in the Champions League propelled them to turn their season around and win the competition. En route to the final, they beat Arsenal, Juventus, and Barcelona while meeting local rivals in Jurgen Klopp’s Borussia Dortmund.

They also snatched the league title from Borussia Dortmund and won the domestic cup. Overall, it was the best Bayern could have asked for. While they basked in glory, Arsenal only hoped they could reach close to that level.

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