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Arsenal 2-2 Bayern Munich: Gunners rescue late draw in home leg

Neither Arsenal nor Bayern Munich will be over the moon, nor will either be downtrodden about their chances in the second leg, after a hugely entertaining 2-2 draw in the first leg in north London on Tuesday.

[ MORE: Arsenal v Bayern Munich stats on ]

It was a dream start for Arsenal, who went ahead through Bukayo Saka in the 12th minute, but Bayern were quickly level after Serge Gnarby scored against his former club in the 18th. Harry Kane, who victimized the Gunners more than any player from either side in the history of the north London derby, was the one to put Thomas Tuchel’s side ahead from the penalty spot in the 32nd minute. The 2-1 scoreline held until the final quarter-hour, when Leandro Trossard rescued the draw and preserved Arsenal’s chances ahead of the return leg next Wednesday.

Bayern’s measured, safe approach pays off

It’s not often that Bayern Munich play on the back foot, defending reactively rather than proactively (or not at all — they average 59.5 percent of possession in the Bundesliga this season), but that’s exactly where they found themselves for long stretches against Arsenal (41.1 percent). Arsenal had 26 touches inside Bayern’s penalty area, but just two inside 12 yards. It’s little wonder that both their goals were scored on pinpoint snap shots from the edge of the box, with precious little time or space to get the ball away. Bayern will be pleased that their change of tactics netted a positive result, now it’s time to see if the young Gunners can do the same away from home next week.

Arsenal vs Bayern Munich highlights, final score: 2-2

Goalscorers: Bukayo Saka (12'), Serge Gnabry (18'), Harry Kane (32' - PK), Leandro Trossard (76')

76th minute - GOAL - Leandro Trossard finishes a smooth move to pull Arsenal level

Gabriel Jesus beat half the black shirts on the field with a pair of quick side-steps at the top of the penalty area before squaring the ball to Trossard, who made the late-arriving run right on time. That’s no easy finish, first-time, through traffic, with a tiny window inside the far post to hit.

32nd minute - GOAL - Harry Kane scores against Arsenal (duh)

From 1-0 down to 2-1 ahead in just 20 minutes, Bayern are ahead after Kane scored yet again (from the penalty spot) against Arsenal. Leroy Sane skated past Gabriel, and William Saliba took the German down with a reaching challenge right in front of the referee. Kane followed up with one of the most casual penalty takes you’ll ever see.

18th minute - GOAL - Serge Gnabry scores against his former club to make it 1-1

Leon Goretzka lifted an inch-perfect ball into the penalty area, and though he was marked quite closely inside the box, Gnabry hooked his right foot around the ball and slotted it home just inside the far post in a much-needed response by Bayern Munich.

12th minute - GOAL - Arsenal carve through Bayern, Bukayo Saka curls home for 1-0

Lots of ball-watching in midfield and the left side of Bayern’s defense, as Arsenal easily play through and Saka bends a bouncing beauty inside the far post. The weight of the world is once again on Thomas Tuchel’s shoulders.

How to watch Arsenal vs Bayern Munich live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 3pm ET, Tuesday (April 9)
How to watch: Paramount+ and TUDN USA

Arsenal starting lineup

Raya — White, Saliba, Gabriel, Kiwior — Jorginho, Rice, Odegaard — Saka, Havertz, Martinelli

Bayern Munich starting lineup

Neuer — Kimmich, Dier, De Ligt, Davies — Laimer, Goretzka, Musiala — Sane, Gnabry, Kane

Odegaard: We should not fear anyone

Speaking to reporters after Arsenal’s impressive 3-0 win at Brighton on Saturday, Gunners captain Martin Odegaard revealed his respect for Kane and Bayern.

“He’s a good player of course. We’ve played against him a few times and we know the quality, especially in the box. He’s also good in the link-up. He is a good player and a good team we are facing on Tuesday,” Odegaard said about Kane. “I think every game we play there are some good challenges. We play in the best league in the world so there are some good challenges there as well. It is a good team. A lot of good attacking players and it is going to be a big night at the Emirates. We are looking forward to it.”

Asked if there is a fear about facing Kane, Odegaard insisted there will be no extra focus on the Tottenham legend who would love to knock Arsenal out of Europe.

“We should of course respect him but I don’t think we should fear anyone,” Odegaard said. “We should focus on ourselves and the quality we have in the team. That is all.”

Asked about Bayern’s quality despite their surprisingly poor form in the Bundesliga this season, Odegaard said that Arsenal will not be underestimating the Bavarians.

“They have had some strange results in the league. We’ve seen that,” Odegaard added. “But if you look at the team you see the quality they have and we know that. We know it is a really strong side with some really good individuals as well. It is going to be a tough battle but we are ready.”

Arsenal team news, focus

The Gunners only have one injury concern and that is long-term absentee Jurrien Timber (ACL) who remains out. Everybody else is fit and Arteta has a tough decision to make with the likes of Leandro Trossard, Jakub Kiwior, Gabriel Martinelli and Thomas Partey eager to start. The only player who may come in is Kiwior who gives a bit of extra defensive cover at left back compared to the attack-minded Oleksandr Zinchenko. Arsenal’s wonderful form in 2024 is built on their solid defensive unit with Declan Rice shielding the duo of Gabriel and William Saliba masterfully. Add in the form of Kai Havertz up top and Ben White and David Raya at the back and there is a real sense of calm and confidence about this Arsenal side as they enter the business end of the season. If they can keep all of Rice, Odegaard and Bukayo Saka fit, they have a serious chance to win the Champions League.

Bayern Munich team news, focus

The German giants have had some big injury problems this season but four stars have returned to training ahead of this game and that will give Tuchel a huge boost. Manuel Neuer, Kingsley Coman, Leroy Sane and Noussair Mazraoui all trained ahead of the game at Arsenal. Obviously Harry Kane is Bayern’s main man but former Gunner Serge Gnabry, legendary forward Thomas Muller and German international midfielder Jamal Musiala are all key players. Bayern are a strange team and have lost twice in a row in the Bundesliga in recent weeks as they keep conceding goals. But at the other end of the pitch they can blow teams away in a 20-minute spell. That is what they’re hoping to do at some point to Arsenal over these two legs.