LONDON (TIP): Bayern Munich are in pole position to reach the Champions League quarterfinals after a sublime strike from Toni Kroos inspired the holders’ 2-0 win against 10- man Arsenal on February 19. Pep Guardiola’s side rode their luck in a dramatic last 16 first leg clash at the Emirates Stadium, but their class eventually told as Kroos produced his moment of magic and Thomas Mueller bagged the killer second goal in the closing stages.
Bayern survived an early penalty miss from Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil and a squandered spotkick of their own by David Alaba. But Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny had been sent off in the incident that led to Bayern’s penalty and the visitors eventually capitalised on their numerical superiority through Germany midfielders Kroos and Muller. Bayern will be expected to finish the job in the second leg on March 11, but Arsenal can take heart from their 2-0 win in Munich at the same stage last season, even if that result wasn’t enough to stop Arsene Wenger’s team bowing out on away goals.
Wenger, who sprang a selection shock when he opted to pick raw French striker Yaya Sanogo ahead of experienced France international Olivier Giroud, was left to curse his misfortune as Arsenal’s promising start fizzled out. Bayern, treble winners last season, swaggered into north London widely acclaimed as firm favourites to win both the tie and eventually the competition itself to cap another majestic campaign.