Bayern Munich secured a narrow 1-0 home win against Arsenal in the first leg of their UEFA Women’s Champions League quarterfinal thanks to Lea Schuller’s first-half header.
In front of a crowd of 20,000 at the Allianz Arena, Schuller’s 39th-minute effort was enough for the side second in the Frauen-Bundesliga to take a lead back to north London for the second leg, despite intense second-half pressure from the Women’s Super League outfit.
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Playing at the Allianz Arena for the second time in the Champions League this season, the hosts started as they did against Barcelona in the group stage, pressing with early intent. Just like against the Catalans, Bayern fashioned a pair of early chances but unlike in that game, they fast began to fall apart under Arsenal’s pressure.
A penalty shout inside of the first 10 minutes was waved away after the ball appeared to strike Bayern centre-back Glodis Viggosdottir on the back of the arm, shortly before the Gunners missed a chance to take the lead when Stina Blackstenius could only nod the ball over.
The next 10 minutes were all Arsenal with Bayern unable to carry out the basics, until the hosts held onto the ball for long enough to get bodies into the box. With plenty to aim for in the penalty area, Maxi Rall’s swinging cross was met in the air by Schuller to nod the ball home, letting it take a layer of paint off of the inside of Manuela Zinsberger’s upright, and give Bayern the lead against the run of play.
Having survived a scare after some miscommunication in the box, the hosts broke well in the last minute of the first half and could have found the cushion of a second goal but Schuller’s flicked effort curled narrowly wide.
Arsenal came out after the break fired up and again had Bayern chasing shadows with Caitlin Foord coming agonisingly close to an equaliser for the visitors twice in quick succession with a pair of vicious curlers.
Still hunting parity, Arsenal twice saw shots cleared off of the line first when Saki Kumagai flew in to deny Blackstenius before Schuller kicked Leah Williamson’s effort clear.
Desperate for an equaliser, the ball refused to drop nicely for the visitors and they will be forced to do the hard work at the Emirates next Wednesday if they’re to progress to the last four.