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Arsenal inch closer to Champions League elimination after Munich humiliation

Robert Lewandowski, David Alaba and Arjen Robben also struck for Pep Guardiola’s Bayern side.

Image: Nick Potts/EMPICS Sport

ARSENAL ARE ON the verge of exiting the Champions League after crashing to a record 5-1 defeat at Bayern Munich as Thomas Mueller netted twice.

Goals by Robert Lewandowski, Mueller, David Alaba and Arjen Robben saw Pep Guardiola’s Bayern emphatically avenge their 2-0 defeat at the Emirates Stadium a fortnight ago, their only loss of the season.

France striker Oliver Giroud scored Arsenal’s consolation goal with 20 minutes left, but between them Mueller and Lewandowski have now scored 31 goals for Bayern in all competitions this season.

This was Arsenal’s joint heaviest away defeat in Europe, equalling the 4-0 drubbing at AC Milan in the last 16 in February 2012.

Soccer - UEFA Champions League - Group F - Bayern Munich v Arsenal - Allianz Arena Thomas Muller grabbed a brace for the Bavarians. Source: Nick Potts/EMPICS Sport

With two games left, Arsene Wenger’s side have only a mathematical chance of reaching the knock-out phase after Dinamo Zagreb’s 2-1 defeat at Olympiakos.

The Gunners have three points along with Dinamo, while Olympiakos and Bayern both have nine with the Germans top of Group F on goal difference.

Only seven of the Arsenal side who beat Bayern at the Emirates Stadium started at the Allianz Arena.

The Gunners have a horror injury list with nine of their squad out including the likes of Theo Walcott (calf injury), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (hamstring), Mikel Arteta (ankle), Aaron Ramsey (hamstring), Jack Wilshere (calf), Tomas Rosicky (knee) and Danny Welbeck (knee).

Bayern coach Pep Guardiola had no such injury concerns and opted for fleet-footed wingers Douglas Costa and Kingsley Coman on the flanks with Netherlands captain Robben on the bench.

The hosts got the early lead Guardiola had craved when Thiago floated a cross over the Gunners’ defence and Lewandowski flicked his header into the Gunners’ net on 10 minutes.

The lead looked to have lasted just three minutes when Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil put the ball in the Bayern net with his shoulder, but the Germany midfielder was booked for a handball and the goal was not given.

Bayern doubled their lead with the half hour approaching when Coman fired in a shot, which was blocked and Mueller stabbed home the rebound, which took a deflection off Arsenal centre-back Per Mertesacker.

Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech palmed a Mueller shot over the bar, but Bayern went into the break 3-0 up when left-back Alaba unleashed a fierce left-footed shot which flew past the Gunners shot-stopper.

Robben scored with his first touch, less than a minute after coming off the bench when he flicked Alaba’s pass into the Arsenal net for his first Champions League goal for more than a year on 55 minutes.

Giroud offered Arsenal brief hope by volleying home with 20 minutes left after making the most of an innocuous Alexis Sanchez cross for the Frenchman’s fifth goal in six games.

Mueller grabbed his second and Bayern’s fifth on 89 minutes when he slid his shot under Cech to compound the Gunners’ misery.

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AFP

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