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Bayern hold out at Highbury

Wednesday, 9 March 2005

By Trevor Haylett at Highbury

[1] FC Bayern München stayed calm and resolute under fierce late pressure from Arsenal FC to book their place in the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League.

Towers of strength

[2] When Thierry Henry scored in the 66th minute, the German side's 3-1 first-leg advantage came under real threat but they held on. Lucio and Robert Kovac were towers of strength in defence for Felix Magath's team and Henry was well marshalled. His goal was a delight but it was not enough and Arsenal's dream of European glory died for another year.

Senderos debut

[3] Chasing the game after losing in Munich two weeks ago, the return of Dennis Bergkamp was welcome for Arsenal, as was Ashley Cole's inclusion at left-back after injury prevented him from making any more than a brief substitute appearance in the first leg. With both Sol Campbell and Pascal Cygan absent, Philippe Senderos was handed his Champions League debut for the London side. For Bayern, Michael Ballack's return offset the loss of Roy Makaay and their other changes showed the inclusion of Sebastian Deisler and José Paolo Guerrero.

Vieira block

[4] After the first leg, the visitors had warned of the big task that still awaited them at Highbury and the early exchanges suggested they were well up for the task. One biting challenge from Bixente Lizarazu put Claudio Pizarro in control and when he laid the ball off to Ballack the shot he unleashed was fierce and true - and might have given Jens Lehmann a problem had Patrick Vieira not got in the way.

Arsenal ruffled

[5] Eager and quick to put their opponents under pressure, Bayern won all the important early tackles and rushed Arsenal out of their normal composed style. Consequently both Bergkamp and Henry were allowed no space in which to work.

Two bookings

[6] The temperature rose and both Bergkamp and Martin Demichelis were cautioned, the latter offence leading to an Arsenal free-kick from which Vieira eventually volleyed wide. Bayern then forced two corners in quick succession, both of which produced efforts on goal after Lehmann lacked distance with his punched clearances.

Kahn rescue

[7] The visitors had clearly decided that attack was the best form of defence and after Willy Sagnol had raided down the right, Deisler tried in vain to lob the goalkeeper. Arsenal then enjoyed a good spell before the break and Oliver Kahn came to his side's rescue with a crucial block when Henry got away down the left.

Keeper assured

[8] Bayern had achieved their first objective, namely to reach half-time with their lead intact. They knew that the second half would see Arsenal attack with even more resolution and it was a comfort to the visitors that Kahn's handling stood up to two early tests. Following a free-kick, Vieira tamed the ball on his chest and then saw his left-foot volley skid beyond the far post.

Sensible defending

[9] Whenever the ball was transferred down the other end of the field, Senderos was distinguishing himself with steady, sensible defending, using his strength to hold off Guerrero as he tried to wriggle clear in the area.

Henry strikes

[10] Just past the hour, Arsenal made a double substitution, bringing on Robert Pires and Cesc Fabregas for José Antonio Reyes and Matthieu Flamini and within two minutes they had scored, Henry bringing a high ball from Cole under control in a flash before dispatching it past a helpless Kahn. But despite the home side's late onslaught, Bayern held on.

Oliver Kahn (left) and Lucio celebrate Bayern's win

Arsenal's Fredrik Ljungberg with Sebastian Deisler of Bayern