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Bayern 1-0 Arsenal: Schüller header gives Bayern advantage

Lea Schüller headed the first-half winner and cleared a goal-bound effort off the line as Bayern gained a narrow lead over Arsenal in the UEFA Women's Champions League quarter-finals.

Highlights: Bayern 1-0 Arsenal

Lea Schüller's first-half header was enough for Bayern as the hosts produced two clearances off the line and survived Caitlin Foord hitting a post to ensure they will start the second leg of the UEFA Women's Champions quarter-finals with a 1-0 lead against Arsenal.

Key moments

39': Schüller scores opener with powerful header
45': Bayern top scorer shoots narrowly wide
52': Foord curls shot against post
60': Kumagai clears Blackstenius header off line
70': Schüller denies goal-bound Williamson effort
86': Zinsberger keeps out fierce Rall effort

Match in brief: Bayern hold out

Bayern savour their narrow victory
Bayern savour their narrow victoryGetty Images

Bayern started brightly before Arsenal spurned a fine chance, Stina Blackstenius heading a cross over the target following eye-catching work from Caitlin Foord on the left.

Lea Schüller punished the visitors for that miss, expertly demonstrating how to emphatically convert a header by rising to power Maximiliane Rall's cross beyond Manuela Zinsberger's reach.

With Arsenal looking rattled, Schüller almost scored a second on the stroke of half-time when the Germany striker found space between Leah Williamson and Noelle Maritz to lift a shot narrowly wide of a post, with Zinsberger beaten.

Bayern, and most of the 20,000 fans inside Fußball Arena München, endured a far nervier second half, surviving Foord's curling strike hitting a post before Arsenal had two efforts cleared off the line.

Five-time Champions League winner Saki Kumagai had to use all of her alertness and athleticism to prevent Blackstenius' header from dropping in. Schüller then proved the hero at both ends by stopping Williamson's stabbed effort from levelling matters, though the goalscorer later limped off.

As an enthralling game became end-to-end, Bayern had their best chance of the half when Zinsberger produced an excellent stop to beat away Rall's close-range strike. Arsenal will hope her late intervention proves crucial by the end of the tie.

As it happened: Bayern 1-0 Arsenal
Lea Schüller receives her Player of the Match trophy
Lea Schüller receives her Player of the Match trophyUEFA via Getty Images

Visa Player of the Match: Lea Schüller

"She scored the goal that gave Bayern victory and was a persistent threat to Arsenal."
UEFA Technical Observer panel

Anna Sophia Vollmerhausen, Bayern reporter

Schüller headed home what proved to be the winning goal for the hosts just before the break as Bayern managed to defeat Arsenal at home. The visitors emerged from the dressing room revitalised, with wave after wave of red-and-white attacks peppering the Bavarian side's goal. A resolute defensive performance gives Bayern a slim 1-0 advantage heading into next week’s reverse fixture in London after another focused team effort to see tonight's result over the line.

Paul Saffer, Arsenal reporter

The Gunners were not at their best in the first half, save for the thrust of Caitlin Foord down the left, but the arrival of new signing Victoria Pelova in the second half and a tactical reshuffle so nearly changed their fortunes, the Saki Kumagai clearance particularly heartbreaking. Still, they have made sure there is all to play for next Wednesday in north London.

Reaction

Alexander Straus, Bayern coach: "It was an even game and could have ended 1-1. We were the better team in the first half and could have scored a couple of goals in the first 10-15 minutes. Arsenal were pushing us in the second half and we were defending deeper than we wanted to, so credit to them for that.

"Since I came last summer, [Schüller]'s become a different player, a more complete player. She's always been a goalscorer but now she's more involved, has more touches and more aspects to her game than before. Lea has the potential to be one of the best in the world in her position as a No9."

Schüller 'delighted' with Bayern win

Lea Schüller, Bayern goalscorer and Visa Player of the Match: "My foot hurts, but I'm still really pleased. Taking a 1-0 lead into the second leg is great and it's always nice to play here in front of such a fantastic crowd, so I'm very happy.

(On her goal-line clearance) "On the coach before the game, we spoke about which player would go in goal if our goalkeeper got injured and we had no subs left. I would have been the one to go in goal in that case! When you're standing there in that moment, you're only focused on clearing the ball."

Sarah Zadrazil, Bayern midfielder: "That's mentality. We are a team: we stick together, we defend together and today we showed that defence can win games, especially in the second half."

Jonas Eidevall, Arsenal coach: "The fans were brilliant. The players were brilliant and they represented Arsenal in a very good way in the second half. We are disappointed with the result and will do everything in our power to turn it around next week."

Kim Little, Arsenal captain: "I think we probably deserved a goal in the end, and almost had it over the line. We're disappointed with our first-half performance, but in the second half we showed a lot of character to come out the way we did.

"Obviously there's a second leg, which is why this is so exciting and great to be a part of. We need to make sure to take our chances at the [Arsenal Stadium] next week, and I'm sure we'll do that."

Kim Little gives her team-mates a pep talk
Kim Little gives her team-mates a pep talkGetty Images

Key stats

  • Bayern have won 13 of their last 14 Women's Champions League home games.
  • Bayern now have 13 wins in a row in all competitions.
  • Arsenal have now lost three competitive away games in a row for the first time since March 2010, when that run was completed by a quarter-final defeat in Germany at Duisburg.
  • This win continued Bayern's perfect Champions League home record against English opposition, having previously recorded two 2-1 victories against Chelsea (in the round of 32 in October 2017 and the semi-finals in April 2021). However, Bayern did lose both those ties overall.
  • This was their fourth win in five Women's Champions League quarter-final matches in Munich (L1).
  • The Gunners now need to win for the first time in seven quarter-final games in the competition.

Line-ups

Bayern: Grohs; Rall, Kumagai, Viggósdóttir, Hansen; Zadrazil, Stanway (Bragstad 90+1); Magull (Kett 85); Bühl, Schüller (Damnjanović 79), Lohmann

Arsenal: Zinsberger; Wienroither (Pelova 60), Williamson, Rafaelle, Maritz; Little, Maanum, Wälti; McCabe, Blackstenius (Kühl 81), Foord

What's next?

The second leg will be played at Arsenal Stadium on Wednesday 29 March. The winners will face Paris Saint-Germain or Wolfsburg in the semi-finals on 22/23 and 29/30 April.