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Soccer Champions League

Bayern Munich Cruise Past Arsenal Into Next Champions League Stage

Arsenal v FC Bayern Muenchen - UEFA Champions League Round of 16

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The odds were stacked against Arsenal heading into the Allianz Arena against Bayern Munich in the second leg of their Champions League tie. The game may have ended level, but the two away goals for Bayern had all but wrapped up a trip to the next round. In the end, the organized midfield of the European champions was too much to overcome for Arsenal, but the storylines turned to two stars on each team.

Bayern played an attacking offense that emphasized passing. They knocked the ball around the midfield with a high line until space opened up on the edge. They had close to 70 percent possession in the first half, and the better chances through the first 45 minutes.

Mario Gotze had the best chance from about 16 yards, but was unable to beat keeper Łukasz Fabiański. Thiago and Bastian Schweinsteiger controlled the midfield. It was Schweinsteiger who would open the scoring on a complete defensive breakdown, allowing him to take a touch, pick a spot and place it into net from six yards out.

For Arsenal, the effort was not enough in the first half. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was the lone attacking option for the Gunners and created the best chance in the opening half. Mesut Ozil returned from criticism over the first leg performance and failed to impress. He completed only 12 of 19 passes with one successful cross and was substituted out at halftime.

Ozil will be the focus of more criticism given how everyone was focused on the midfielder. After the match, there was news of a hamstring injury that could limit some of the harsh words.

Ozil has become a target for Gunners fans in all competitions. While he faces criticism from his own fans, Arjen Robben solidified his role of the villain in soccer lore. Robben drew a penalty late in the game, but with minimal contact. This was after he had gone down easy two other times, which is something he has become known for. The referee was allowing a lot of contact in the match, but Robben was diving. He was told to get up from the first, most egregious fall.

Lukas Podolski did score one for Arsenal on a rocket shot, but they still fell 3-1 on aggregate. Bayern will now move into the round of eight after eliminating Arsenal for the second year running. Bayern completed 648 passes with 64 percent possession as they were organized and controlled. Arsenal now turns its focus to a top-four finish in the Premier League and a possible FA Cup win.

Douglas Smith is a soccer writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @DFresh39, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google

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