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Arsenal exit Champions League after Bayern Munich defeat

Arsenal made a bitterly disappointing exit from the Champions League as they were beaten by Bayern Munich in a euphoric atmosphere at Allianz Arena.

Joshua Kimmich’s powerful 63rd-minute header from Raphael Guerreiro’s cross was enough to send the Germans through to the semi-finals 3-2 on aggregate after the two teams had drawn 2-2 in London in the first leg.

Despite being held at Emirates Stadium, Arsenal were confident of advancing against a Bayern Munich side who had endured a poor domestic season and were without key players Serge Gnabry and Kingsley Coman because of injury.

In a tight and cagey second leg, Gabriel Martinelli had Arsenal’s best chance of the first half but shot straight at Manuel Neuer after Jamal Musiala had forced David Raya into a full-stretch save at the other end.

While Harry Kane had just nine touches in the opening 45 minutes, Neuer was forced into another save by Martin Odegaard’s deflected attempt, which had the long-serving Bayern Munich keeper scrambling across his line.

With so much at stake for both teams, it was perhaps understandable chances were in limited supply but the second half was a livelier affair with Leon Goretzka heading against the post before Guerreiro’s follow up was scrambled away by Raya, via the post.

But Kimmich’s attacking header proved decisive and ensured Arsenal’s wait to win the Champions League for the first time goes on.

Bayern will meet Real Madrid in the semi-finals after the record 14-time winners knocked out Manchester City on penalties.

Damaging week for Arsenal

While Bayern Munich’s players celebrated in front of their jubilant fans at the final whistle, Arsenal’s players looked dispirited after a damaging few days that has hurt their campaign.

READ ALSO: CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: REAL MADRID BEAT MAN CITY ON PENALTIES

There has been much talk about a possible Premier League-Champions League double but with Arsenal now out of Europe, they have to regroup quickly and keep themselves in the hunt for the domestic title.

They are away at Wolves on Saturday and cannot afford to drop any more points after losing their place at the top of the table to Manchester City following defeat at home to Aston Villa.

That result, coupled with Wednesday’s defeat in Germany, will inevitably lead to comparisons with last season, when Arsenal dropped crucial points in the run-in and ended up with nothing after starting April with an eight-point lead at the top.

Arsenal’s season is not over by a long stretch but they must put this disappointing European exit behind them.

This tie was seen as an ideal opportunity for Arteta’s side to reach a Champions League semi-final for the first time for 15 years against a Bayern side who have performed poorly by their high standards this season.

Bayern show grit

With Bayer Leverkusen wrapping up the Bundesliga title with five games to spare at the weekend, Bayern Munich’s season rested on this game.

They were under huge pressure to appease their fans by delivering a Champions League night to remember.

It was far from a vintage performance but Thomas Tuchel’s side dug deep to reach the semi-finals for the first time since 2020.

Bayern have already announced that Tuchel will be leaving the club at the end of the season and a search is on to find his replacement after an underwhelming domestic campaign.

But Tuchel will not be short of offers, having reached the semi-finals of the Champions League with three different clubs – Paris St-Germain (2020, when they were runners-up), Chelsea (2021, when they won it) and now Bayern Munich (2024).

It remains a possibility that Tuchel’s last game in charge could be in the final at Wembley on 1 June.

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