• Champions League

Bayern criticised for poor display against Arsenal

ESPN staff
March 14, 2013
Despite being on course for the Treble Bayern Munich have been heavily criticised for their performances in recent weeks © PA Photos

Bayern Munich may have reached the quarter-finals of the Champions League, but their 2-0 defeat at home to Arsenal has been roundly criticised by the club's hierarchy.

The Bundesliga leaders won the last-16 tie on away goals courtesy of their 3-1 win at The Emirates three weeks ago, but they were almost on the wrong side of one of the biggest upsets in the competition's history against the Gunners.

Despite topping the German League by 20 points and reaching the semi-finals of the DFB-Pokal as well as the last eight in Europe, fears that complacency is creeping into Jupp Heynckes' side have been fuelled by recent performances - even before Wednesday night's defeat.

The loss - their first in 2013 - left Bayern legend Franz Beckenbauer "bewildered" and club president Uli Hoeness doubting whether they had a future in the competition.

Speaking to Sky after the game, Bayern's honorary president Beckenbauer said the game left him speechless, before managing to say: "I thought Dusseldorf on Saturday [a 3-2 home win] was enough. But today it was topped. They played without effort, without concentration - until the end. You can't play like that.

"It is partly human as they had taken a 3-1 lead at Arsenal. The only good thing tonight is that they advanced. You have to learn from this. You cannot play on like this, or you exit in the next round. No matter who you play."

Hoeness, Beckenbauer's successor as Bayern president, also had harsh words for his team after the match.

"I think this was the final warning for the team after the bad game at Hoffenheim [a 1-0 away win] and the lucky escape against Dusseldorf [courtesy of Jerome Boateng's late winner]," a fuming Hoeness told Sport1 after the game.

"By the skin of our teeth, we managed to make it to the next round with this defeat. I have to say that in all clearness. The team has to get back to the football they played three or four weeks ago… for three weeks now we have been playing rubbish."

Bayern go into Friday's quarter-final draw as one of the favourites to win the competition, having lost the final twice in the past three years. However, Hoeness said that Bayern's biggest opponents to claiming a fifth European Cup were themselves.

"I don't care which team we are drawn to in the next round," he added. "If we play football we can beat every team and if we play like today we will not beat any team that is left in the competition."

Before the match, Bayern skipper Philipp Lahm had vowed they would play like "it was still nil-nil," but speaking to ZDF after the game he admitted that this might not have been the case.

"As we all saw, Arsenal are a good football team, and on top of that we conceded the early goal," he said. "The game meandered on its way after that. Ultimately, we didn't put away our chances, and it was tense in the end. We have to be 100% focused at all times. If we're not, it'll be tight. We have to improve. We know we have to work hard to win. We've done that up to now, but not today."

Bayern winger Arjen Robben, who replaced the injured Franck Ribery, concluded that the defeat might also be positive for Bayern.

"We weren't aggressive enough, especially in the first half," he said. "But at the end of the day, maybe there's a positive aspect, a wake-up call of sorts. We've been praised from all sides, but look what can happen. We have to maintain concentration."

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