Munich - Reigning European champions FC Bayern München booked their place in the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League courtesy of a keenly-contested 1-1 draw on home soil in their last-16 second leg against Arsenal FC on Tuesday night.

Boasting a two-goal aggregate lead coming into the encounter, Bayern had to wait until the 55th minute for Bastian Schweinsteiger to break the deadlock. Lukas Podolski levelled the scores shortly afterwards and, though Thomas Müller missed a late penalty, the result saw the German record title-holders move a step closer to becoming the first-ever side to retain the Champions League title.

Happy hosts


With memories of last season’s 2-0 loss far from forgotten, it was the hosts, buoyed by a raucous home crowd, who got themselves on the front foot during the opening exchanges. Schweinsteiger warmed the palms of Lukasz Fabianski with an early effort from range, while only a last-ditch Per Mertesacker clearance prevented Mario Götze from giving Bayern the lead.

Pinned inside their own half, whilst being restricted to creating chances from set-pieces and half-hearted counter attacks, Arsenal were struggling to cope with the hosts’ unerring dominance. Boasting the lion’s share of possession, Bayern began probing Arsenal’s backline and almost produced a breakthrough just before the half-hour mark, only for the linesman’s raised flag to cut short Javi Martinez’s celebrations.

Schweinsteiger steps up


Clear-cut goalscoring chances remained at a premium for both sides, but that didn’t stop Olivier Giroud rising highest to meet Mesut Özil’s corner, forcing Manuel Neuer into a sprawling save to maintain parity. The Bavarians responded, with David Alaba and Mario Mandzukic failing to find the target before Götze drew a routine save out of Fabianski, sending the sides in level at the break.

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger attempted to change his side’s fortunes by replacing Özil with Tomas Rosicky at half-time, but it failed to have the desired effect as the hosts finally found the breakthrough their performance had deserved. Götze played in Franck Ribery, who took one touch to skip past his marker before producing an eye-of-the-needle pass for Schweinsteiger to fire home from close range.

Open-ended


The opening goal only served to spark Arsenal into life, however, as the Gunners carved out an equaliser within two minutes of falling behind. Podolski was quick to close down Philipp Lahm and was duly rewarded as he outmuscled the Bayern skipper before beating Neuer at his front post from the tightest of angles to offer the Londoners a glimmer of hope.

Needing two more goals on the night, the Gunners raised the intensity of their pressing game in an attempt to rescue the tie, but couldn’t sustain their efforts. As a result, Bayern, far from being content with a draw, looked to exploit the freedom afforded them in the closing stages. However, Robben’s low effort failed to trouble Fabianski, who then saved substitute Müller’s 91st minute spot-kick to ensure the sides ended the night all square.

Line-ups:

Bayern: Neuer - Lahm, Dante, Martinez, Alaba - Thiago, Schweinsteiger, Götze (Kroos 59') - Robben, Ribery (Müller 85') - Mandzukic

Arsenal: Fabianski - Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Vermaelen - Arteta (Gnabry 77'), Oxlade-Chamberlain (Flamini 85') - Cazorla, Özil (Rosicky 46'), Podolski - Giroud

Goals: 1-0 Schweinsteiger (55'), 1-1 Podolski (57')

James Thorogood reporting from the Allianz Arena