MUNICH (AP) Thomas Mueller scored two goals as Bayern Munich hammered Arsenal 5-1 on Wednesday to close in on a place in the knockout stage of the Champions League.
Bayern lost to Arsenal 2-0 in London but the five-time champion dominated the return fixture from start to finish, giving Arsene Wenger’s team no chance.
Robert Lewandowski opened the scoring in the 10th minute, Mueller doubled the lead in the 29th, David Alaba made it 3-0 in the 44th. Arjen Robben scored with his first touch of the ball in the 55th, less than a minute after coming off the bench. Mueller added his second in the 89th.
Article continues below ...
Olivier Giroud pulled one back for Arsenal in the 69th.
The victory gave Bayern nine points atop Group F, while Arsenal has three. Olympiakos also has nine after edging 10-man Dinamo Zagreb 2-1, which also has three points.
”It was a key match for us that we wanted to win,” Mueller said. ”We played a serious match. We slowed down a bit in the second half and made some mistakes in the defense, but they (Arsenal) didn’t do much.”
Weakened by injuries, Arsenal defended for most of the game and hardly challenged, even with Bayern up by three goals. Bayern was allowed to pass the ball around at will and used its possession to attack down the flanks and to score with ease.
Wenger was clearly not impressed with his side’s performance at the back.
”I believe first you have to give credit to Bayern for their quality and on top of that we made things quite easy for them with our defensive performance,” the Arsenal manager said.
”We were extremely poor defensively and were not at the races. The funny thing was that when we went forward every time we looked like we could create chances but with a defensive performance like that you are going nowhere.”
Thiago Alcantara set up Lewandowski for the first goal, floating a cross from the left behind Arsenal’s defense and the striker rushed forward to head in unchallenged past Petr Cech.
Arsenal replied immediately and had the ball in the Bayern net but the assistant referee behind the goal signaled that Mesut Ozil had used his arm to score.
Bayern doubled the lead when Mueller’s shot deflected off Per Mertesacker and crept inside the post with Cech wrongfooted.
Cech did well to tip over Mueller’s attempt, before Bayern made it 3-0. Alaba robbed Santi Cazorla and then fired from outside the box into the roof of the net over Cech.
Robben needed less than a minute to score, picking up a low pass from Alaba to drive into the upper corner with his left foot.
With Pep Guardiola making substitutions, Arsenal got some breathing space and Giroud chested down a cross from Alexis Sanchez to beat Manuel Neuer for a consolation goal.
Robben missed a great opportunity after a through pass from Thiago, but Mathieu Debuchy made a great tackle to save.
Mueller completed the rout by collecting pass Douglas Costa’s through ball and driving low past Cech.
”We played a very good, intense first half. We slowed down after the break, but it’s OK, we are all but qualified,” Guardiola said.
For Arsenal, the knockout stage looks a very long way off with two games to play.
”There is still a chance to qualify,” Wenger said. ”Olympiakos have to lose here, we have to beat Zagreb and then beat Olympiakos in Olympiakos. There is a small chance but it is a real one.”
(This story has been corrected to show that Alaba’s first name is David, not Dabid)