The last 16 of the UEFA Champions League pitted Bayern Munich against Arsenal at the Allianz Arena and it was the German Bundesliga outfit who emerged victorious. The match ended with an emphatic 5-1 scoreline for the German giants thanks to goals from Thiago Alcantara, Robert Lewandowski, Arjen Robben and Thomas Muller.
The result means that the Bavarians hold a commanding advantage ahead of the second leg which will take place at the Emirates Stadium in March.
An enthralling encounter that threw up plenty of goal-mouth action and drama on the night, it was another reminder as to why the UCL is the world’s grandest and most prestigious club competition of them all.
Manuel Neuer: 7/10
Always an outstanding presence in between the posts for Die Roten, Neuer was once again in fine form against the Gunners but will have been disappointed to have seen his side reeled back in following their early 1-0 lead.
His initial save to deny Alexis Sanchez from the penalty spot was typical of the man, but he could do nothing about the well-dispatched rebound. After that, he didn’t have a huge amount to do except watch the opposition net bulge four more times.
Philipp Lahm: 8/10
The image of Lahm marauding down the flank will not be something fans of the beautiful game will ever see again after the summer, but there was plenty of time for them to admire him in full swing. His exceptionally-flighted cross from the right which set up Robert Lewandowski for their second goal of the game. Mr. Reliable, as ever.
Mats Hummels: 7/10
The German defender wasn’t tested at the back, but he controlled the tempo nicely with some assured passing, linked the play well from defence to midfield and played with pride and heart.
Javi Martinez: 7/10
Martinez should have scored past David Ospina, but when one of your defenders is getting among the chances the team has to be doing something right. He was authoritative at the back and looked strong and commanding in possession, even when under pressure in the opening half.
David Alaba: 7/10
The Austrian left back was very active throughout, attempting to conjure a bit of magic with any chance he could eke out for himself, and others, with some fine play down the left-hand channel. His inch-perfect 44th-minute cross to set up Robert Lewandowski was a testament to how dangerous he was on the night.
Xabi Alonso: 8/10
Always a menace from the dead ball, Alonso was in the mood to spice things up with some nicely-executed deliveries. His 45th-minute free kick that Hummels could only nod marginally wide of the mark was typical of how dangerous the Spaniard could be with his whipped deliveries. His probing pass into Lewandowski for Thiago’s first goal epitomised how involved he was.
Arturo Vidal: 7/10
Vidal’s work-rate has always been a joy to watch and while Alonso, Thiago and Lewandoski all produced the flair moving forward, it was the 29-year-old Chilean who propped them up with a solid backbone in the middle of the park.
Arjen Robben: 8/10
The Dutch winger’s early goal left both home and away fans open-mouthed and not many opposing goalkeepers would have had an easy time palming the venomous pile-driver away to safety. He was always keen to link up with Lahm on the right and made life difficult for his marker throughout. He even played a part in their second goal.
Thiago Alcantara: 9/10
The Man of the Match. His goals in the 56th and 63rd minutes were the icing on the cake for Carlo Ancelotti’s men on the night as they ran out convincing 5-1 winners. Alcantara played off the frontman and linked up well with Lewandowski whenever he got the opportunity
Douglas Costa: 7/10
Costa had an average game, and was involved in Robben's incredible goal. He put in teasing crosses for Bayern heads from corners. Costa was substituted in the 84th minute as Joshua Kimmich took his place.
Robert Lewandowski: 8/10
His headed goal in the 53rd minute swung the tie in Bayern’s favour, and epitomised just how much better they were than their opponents in the areas it really mattered – inside the 18-yard box. His tasty back-heel assist also deserves a mention.
Thomas Muller: 7/10
Introduced late on, he had just enough time to rub salt into Arsenal’s wounds with a well-taken late goal.
Joshua Kimmich: N/A
David Ospina: 6/10
Ospina couldn’t do much to stop Robben’s rocket of a strike and could only watch it fly into the top corner, but then again he really wasn’t helped much by his covering defenders. After that, though, he stopped a few efforts, but was helpless to the glut of goals and chances that soon bore down upon him.
Hector Bellerin: 4/10
Arsene Wenger had his men set up in a very defensive shape from the get-go, so the rearguard was always going to be busy and the opening 30 minutes was a particularly hectic spell. Bellerin, like his team-mates, was a bystander for much of the opening half and even when he was asked some real questions in the second half he didn’t have any replies ready.
Shkodran Mustafi: 4/10
Clearly not yet recovered from the runaround he received from Eden Hazard a few weeks back in the Premier League, Mustafi looked lost again. A big disappointment.
Laurent Koscielny: 5/10
The French defender lasted less than five minutes following the restart when he was replaced by Gabriel. In all honesty, the French international was something of a spectator for the key moments of the match, but that being said, he wasn’t at fault for the only goal he was on the pitch for, either.
Kieran Gibbs: 4/10
Produced a lot of hit-and-hope clearances when his side were under pressure early on and that merely managed to alleviate the danger temporarily. It took him some time to get going, but that positivity was short-lived.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain: 4/10
Chamberlain was eager to drive forward with the ball at his feet, but he didn’t have many opportunities after Sanchez’s equaliser. As the match ebbed further and further away from his team, however, it became clear that he was out of his depth. His immaturity to give the ball away softly for Bayern’s fifth goal on the edge of the box said it all.
Granit Xhaka: 4/10
Xhaka was quite anonymous on the night and showed little of the fight that some (few, in truth) of his other team-mates exhibited and that has come to be expected from him. The travelling fans will be disappointed in him.
Francis Coquelin: 3/10
Coquelin was directly at fault for Arjen Robben’s first-half wonder-strike and in truth, it was baffling to see such an enforcer give the Dutch winger so much time and space to breeze by him before smashing the ball into the back of the net. The French midfielder should have displayed more hunger and determination.
Alex Iwobi: 3/10
Iwobi offered nothing moving forward and looked reluctant to close down, work hard or play with concentration. Not good enough.
Mesut Ozil: 4/10
Didn’t do a whole lot in the opening half, Ozil was found wanting. The north Londoners could have done with some more decisive passing and some more incisive play all round. In the end, the German international was just another lost leader, wandering around aimlessly.
Alexis Sanchez: 6/10
Sanchez was the spark the Gunners needed to give their gunpower a real bang as he instigated a fight-back against the German hosts. He wasn’t very accurate with his first effort from the spot kick but he did well to turn home the rebound to give his side an away-day goal. Didn’t have enough to carry the team on his own and he eventually fizzled out of energy.
Gabriel was introduced for Koscielny in the 49th minute after the French defender’s injury. He made a few challenges but couldn’t help keep out the goals after his introduction.
Theo Walcott: 4/10
Walcott came on in the 66th minute for Iwobi and didn’t do much on the pitch for the Gunners.