Arsenal were drawn against Bayern Munich in today’s Champions League draw for the last 16.
The first leg will be played at the Emirates Stadium on any of the following dates: 12th, 13th, 19th or 20th February 2013. The second leg will be played at Bayern’s Allianz Arena, which hosted the 2012 Champions League Final that Bayern lost to Chelsea. That game will be played on any of these dates: 5th, 6th, 12th or 13th March 2013.
The two clubs have a history. They were drawn together in the 2000/01 second group stage under the competition’s old format. The Gunners took a comfortable 2-0 lead with an early goal from Thierry Henry and a second 9 minutes into the second half by Kanu. However, two minutes later, Michael Tarnat made it 2-1 and Mehmet Scholl equalised for the Germans in the 64th minute. That was how it ended on the night.
In the return fixture, Bayern won 1-0 thanks to a goal from Giovane Elber. Both sides progressed from the group that year. Arsenal went out in the next round (the quarter-finals) on away goals to Valencia, whereas Bayern went on to win the competition on penalties, beating Valencia in the Final.
The two would meet again in the 2004/05 season. Arsenal travelled to Munich first, losing 3-1 on the night. Bayern raced into a 3-0 lead with two goals from Claudio Pizarro followed by Hasan Salihamidzic’s third. Kolo Toure’s late goal gave Arsenal an away goal and a consolation on the night.
Arsenal ideally needed a 2-0 win at Highbury in the return leg and they’d be through on away goals. They only got half the job done though as Thierry Henry’s 66th minute strike wasn’t enough for Arsenal to progress.
So if history tells you anything, back Bayern to go through 3-2 on aggregate, as if it was under the same format in 2001, that would have been the score then as well!.
Also, this could be a tie Lukas Podolski will look forward to. Having started his career at FC Cologne, P0dolski had a great World Cup in 2006 and was targeted by many clubs across Europe. After Cologne’s relegation from the Bundesliga in the 2005/06 season, Podolski decided it was time to leave Cologne. With the likes of Liverpool and Real Madrid interested in him abroad, Podolski opted to stay in Germany. Hamburg, Werder Bremen and Bayern Munich all expressed interest in Podolski and in the summer of 2006 he joined Bayern Munich.
Podolski didn’t have the best of times in Munich and when Luca Toni was signed by Bayern in 2007, Podolski moved down the pecking order at the club. In the summer of 2009, after assurances that a move back to Cologne wouldn’t harm his place in the national team, Podolski re-joined Cologne for about €10m. Cologne reportedly created a website where people were able to buy pixels of an image of Lukas Podolski for €25 per 8×8 pixel square, in order to gather €1 million to reduce the cost of the transfer.
He certainly didn’t have the best of times at Bayern and I’m sure he will be playing well in these two games, with an eye on getting revenge on Bayern.