Bayern Munich thrashed London giants Arsenal 5-1 after a dominant second half performance saw them score four goals in the fist leg of their UEFA Champions League round of 16 tie on Wednesday.
Arsenal were able to hold their own in the first half but Bayern turned on the style after the restart to extend their Champions League winning record to 16 consecutive victories on home soil.
The German giants made a bright start in front of 70,000 spectators as former Chelsea winger Arjen Robben broke the deadlock just 11 minutes into the encounter. The Dutchman had all the time and space to cut towards the Arsenal penalty box from the right before unleashing a curling shot into the top corner that gave keeper David Ospina absolutely no chance.
Bayern controlled the proceedings but were unable to double the lead in the first half. In fact it was Arsenal who restored parity out of the blue when Alexis Sanchez smashed home on the third attempt after Manuel Neuer had saved his initial penalty in the 30th minute.
The visitors had an opportunity to grab the lead just before the break but Mesut Oezil failed to beat Bayern goalkeeper Neuer from a tight anle.
After the restart, Carlo Ancelotti’s men increased the pressure and pressed Arsenal in the defence. Crucially for Arsenal, they lost skipper and defensive stalwart Laurent Koscielny to a hamstring injury early in the second period, and that started the rot.
The hosts restored their lead in the 53rd minute as Robert Lewandowski headed home Philipp Lahm’s pinpoint cross across custodian David Ospina.
Bayern gained momentum and established a two-goal lead after Lewandowski’s back-heel through ball found Thiago Alcantara, who smashed home into the bottom corner three minutes later.
The hosts were not done with the scoring as Thiago wrapped up his brace after scoring with a deflected shot from the edge of the box before substitute Thomas Muller rounded off the 5-1 victory two minutes after his introduction in the 88th minute.
“We staged a compact performance and did not give them opportunities to score. The result is the most important thing but we showed our offensive qualities,” Bayern manager Carlo Ancelotti said.
Bayern travel to London for the second leg of the Champions League tie on March 7.