When Bayern Munich came out of the hat in the Champions League Round of 16, many Arsenal fans will have had that sinking feeling. After all, Die Roten have knocked Arsene Wenger’s men out of the competition twice in the previous four seasons.
However, the Gunners have chalked up a number of impressive victories against German opposition during the Wenger years. Here are five of the best, to get Gooners dreaming of European glory once again…
Werder Bremen 2-4 Arsenal (UEFA Cup: March 23, 2000)
With 32 goals in his 440 appearances for the Gunners, midfielder Ray Parlour was never prolific in front of goal – with the exception of this quite incredible one-man-show at Bremen’s Weserstadion, where the ‘Romford Pelé’ grabbed a stunning hat-trick.
His third – deftly finished past the helpless Frank Rost – sent the Arsenal fans into rapture, and secured a thumping 6-2 aggregate victory against the Bundesliga outfit. In the end, the Gunners made it all the way to the UEFA Cup final, where they were heartbreakingly beaten by Galatasaray.
Arsenal 4-1 Bayer Leverkusen (UCL: Feb 27, 2002)
The Bundesliga outfit may have reached the Champions League final in 2001-02, but they were no match for an inspired Arsenal at Highbury, who were 2-0 up within seven minutes and never looked back.
Robert Pires opened the scoring with an inch-perfect curler, before Thierry Henry put away one of his 32 goals for the season. A Patrick Vieira header continued the scoring, before Dennis Bergkamp scored one of the finest goals of his career, jinking round the Leverkusen defence before making it 4-0. Not too shabby.
Arsenal 3-1 Hamburg (UCL: November 21, 2006)
Rafael van der Vaart – later of rivals Tottenham – gave Der Dino a surprise early lead in this one, but the Gunners roared back to claim a 3-1 convincing victory which helped them qualify as group winners, while the Bundesliga outfit dropped out of the competition.
As so often, Robin van Persie was the man who sparked the north London club’s comeback, netting the leveller in the 52nd minute.
And the pair looked to be heading for a draw, before cult hero Emmanuel Eboue netted his first ever European goal for the club after 82 minutes, and the inconsistent Julio Baptista made it 3-1 just before the end.
Borussia Dortmund 0-1 Arsenal (UCL: November 6, 2013)
It’s not often you see the famous Yellow Wall at Dortmund’s Westfalstadion fall silent, but that’s exactly what happened when Aaron Ramsey stunned the previous season’s finalists with a brave header just beyond the hour-mark, before the visitors defended their lead imperiously.
That was the first shut-out Dortmund had experienced in 29 home games, and it clearly shook the German side, who went on to lose three of their next four home fixtures. Beware, Bayern Munich…
Arsenal 2-0 Bayern Munich (UCL: October 20, 2015)
Bayern may have had the best of it in recent knockout meetings, but it was Gooners who were grinning after the pair’s most recent clash at the Emirates, with Olivier Giroud and German midfielder Mesut Ozil producing a late, great show to deliver a 2-0 win.
Their opener did require a fairly hefty slice of fortune, but Giroud pounced on a freak ricochet to clinically open the scoring, before Mesut Ozil turned in Hector Bellerin’s cross in stoppage time. If nothing else, that should give the Arsenal faithful reason to believe.
Meanwhile, the most optimistic among the Emirates faithful can back Wenger’s men to win their first ever Champions League crown this season at odds of 25/1.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing