Arsenal out of Europe, Ozil out injured and Wenger out of luck

Mar 12, 2014
Jonathan Harwood

Mission impossible turns out to be just that for the Gunners, who suffer yet another injury setback


Bayern Munich 1 Arsenal 1 [Bayern win 3-1 on aggregate]. Arsenal are out of Europe and Mesut Ozil is out of action for "at least a few weeks" as the Gunners' wretched injury woes continue.

No one seriously expected Arsenal to overturn Bayern's two goal advantage from the first leg at the Emirates last month, but few would have believed it possible the English side could suffer yet another injury to a key player.

To the list of Theo Walcott, Jack Wilshere, Kieran Gibbs, Abu Diaby and Aaron Ramsey, the name of Ozil can now be added after the German midfielder suffered a first-half hamstring injury. "He has a hamstring problem that looks quite serious," said Wenger, whose side play Tottenham on Sunday in the Premier League. "We have to make a scan tomorrow to see how bad it is but he is out for at least a few weeks."

The enforced break could be a blessing in disguise for the 25-year-old Ozil, who'll want to erase memories of this Champions League Last 16 double-header as quickly as possible. It was his penalty miss in the first leg that turned the tie in Bayern's favour, the reigning champions went on to win that game 2-0, and they never looked likely to cede their advantage in the Allianz Arena.

Neither side created that many chances in the first-half as Bayern dominated possession against a well-organised Arsenal defence. The Germans - unbeaten in the league for 49 matches - did get the ball in the back of the net once, but Javi Martinez's volley was ruled offside.

But ten minutes into the second-half Bayern took the lead after Franck Ribery jinked inside from the left and found Bastian Schweinsteiger in acres of space in the six-yard box. He had time to look up, pick his spot and score his first goal since October. Though the goal effectively killed off the tie, the Gunners got a goal of their own two minutes later when Lukas Podolski barged Philipp Lahm off the ball and blasted it into the roof of the net.

Bayern appeared rattled for a minute or two, but Arsenal never threatened again and they conceded a penalty late on when Robben was fouled by Laurent Koscielny but Lukasz Fabianski stopped Thomas Muller's spot-kick with a fine double save.

"I have to congratulate the players for the heart and the effort they put in tonight," Wenger said. "They have been absolutely outstanding on that front. We wanted to come out of that tie tonight qualified and with pride. We did the second part, not the first part."

The Arsenal manager also had some harsh words for Arjen Robben, labelling him "a great driver", an accusation that drew a sharp response from the Dutchman: "I always say if you are a big manager then take your loss... if you win be happy, enjoy, but if you lose don't complain about silly things."

Bayern meanwhile have taken another step towards becoming the first club to win back-to-back titles since the European Cup became the Champions League in 1992, and coach Pep Guardiola was pleased with the way his boys eased into the quarter-finals. "The players were very intelligent, the way we played," he said. "We wanted to control the game... we were superior."

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