ARSENAL bowed out of the Champions League despite a spirited 1-1 draw against holders Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena.
Scorers: Bayern Munich - Schweinsteiger (55); Arsenal - Podolski (57)
Bayern won 3-1 on aggregate
Referee: S Oddvar Moen (Nor)
It was always going to be a tall order for Arsene Wenger’s men after losing the first leg of their last-16 tie 2-0. And so it proved, despite a resilient effort from the Gunners, who equalised through Lukas Podolski having fallen behind to Bastian Schweinsteiger’s close-range effort early in the second half. There was late drama when Lukasz Fabianski saved a stoppage-time penalty from Thomas Muller.
The contest got off to a low-key start by both sides, which was understandable given the importance of the first goal in the balance of the tie.
The first opening arrived on 20 minutes when David Alaba darted down the left and fed Franck Ribery, whose floated cross towards the back post was blasted down and over the bar by Robben. Bayern thought they had sewn up the tie on 27 minutes when Javi Martinez fired home a chipped free-kick by Thiago, but the offside flag was swiftly raised.
Arsenal came close to snatching a crucial away goal when Olivier Giroud’s header from a corner was plucked out of the air by Manuel Neuer.
Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil, whose early penalty miss in the first leg proved so costly, was replaced at half-time by Tomas Rosicky, understood to be because of a tight hamstring.
Bayern looked to have made the tie safe when Schweinsteiger converted Franck Ribery’s cross on 55 minutes. Arsenal, though, produced a quick response to level when Podolski, the former Bayern striker, crashed the ball in at the near post.
But despite a good spell from the visitors it was not enough and at least Fabianski’s late save avoided what would have been an unjust defeat.
At the start, Bayern, runaway leaders of the Bundesliga, were looking to avoid a repeat defeat by the English side, who won 2-0 here last season to go out on away goals.
They were soon on the offensive, while Arsenal looked to utilise counters through both Santi Cazorla and Ozil.
Schweinsteiger drilled in a 20-yard effort, which was straight at Fabianski, standing in for Wojciech Szczesny, who had been sent off in the last game.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, was revelling in a central role for Arsenal and Schweinsteiger halted a surging run from him as he charged in from the left towards the penalty arc. Cazorla’s free-kick then looped off the wall and behind for a corner, from which Giroud tested Neuer with his bullet header.
Koscielny, who missed the FA Cup quarter-final win over Everton because of a hamstring problem, hacked away Robben’s goalbound effort after more pressure from the hosts and Bayern continued to dominate, with midfielder Thiago at the centre of the action.
Mario Gotze drilled in a low effort from 20 yards which Fabianski held at the second attempt.
Wenger made a change for the start of the second half, as Ozil, who again largely under performed on another big stage, was replaced by Rosicky.
Bayern were ahead on 55 minutes when Ribery got away down the left and cut the ball back into the penalty area, where Schweinsteiger arrived ahead of Cazorla to slot past Fabianski.
The Gunners answer came when Podolski shrugged off Bayern captain and Germany team-mate Philipp Lahm on the right side of the penalty area, before darting goalwards and thumping his shot past Neuer at the near post. That galvanised Arsenal, as Oxlade-Chamberlain and Cazorla continued to see plenty of the ball in the centre.
Wenger went for broke as he sent on 18-year-old German Serge Gnabry, replacing defensive midfielder Mikel Arteta.
Defeat would have been harsh on Arsenal, but it looked to be heading that way when Koscielny was adjudged to have pushed over Robben.
Substitute Muller stepped up to take the spot-kick but Fabianski saved with his legs and then scrambled to push away from the lunging Muller with the ball spinning on the goalline.