"Are you watching Queenie?" screamed Bild last night, "Bayern are the Kings of London!". The degree of journalistic license which went into that particular coronation aside – Bayern's dismemberment of Arsenal was clinical, but not majestic – it was a headline to capture the excitmenet with which the German side's first European Cup win in London was greeted. Here was a team not only capable of cruising to the Bundesliga title, but also of doing what they should have done last May, and becoming Champions of Europe.
If they are to attain that mantle, Bayern will have to win in London again. Previously a bogey city for the German Rekordmeister, the lift that such a convincing win in the capital will have on a team already perched happily on cloud nine was not going to be played down, either by the players or the German media. After full time went, the Munich based Sueddeutsche Zeitung declared that this Bayern team had proved themselves "ready to reach the final". An overstatement in one sense, in that Bayern will face harder challenges than last night's before a potential date with Wembley, but accurate in another, in that by dispatching Arsenal so clinically on foreign turf, Bayern confirmed their status as one of the top three or four powers in European football.
A beaming Philipp Lahm declared after the game that "A 3-1 away win at Arsenal is always something special," before warning "we're not through yet. We saw today how strong Arsenal can be in attack, even if their defence still leaves something to be desired."
It was the archetypal FC Bayern attitude. Cool confidence and pride in his side's ability to take on any opposition, while avoiding the trap of arrogant complacency – an accusation often unfairly levelled at the German side. Thomas Mueller was equally pleased – mixing his ostensible contentment with a dry affusiveness: "anyone could have scored from there", he pointed out when asked about Bayern's second goal, "It was a team effort and I just made my contribution."
So convinced, indeed, was everyone of Bayern's superiority, that barely a word was spared on how lacklustre Arsenal appeared to be at times. Der Tagesspiegel wondered aloud whether Wenger's job may now be in even more danger, and Bild were gracious enough to grant Jack Wilshere and Lukas Podolski a strong rating in their analysis of the game. Almost every other Arsenal player, however, was given the lowest mark possible.
The focus, though, was very much on Bayern. And rightly so. Without ever really putting Arsenal to the sword – they sat back far too early in the game to do that – Bayern never looked out of their comfort zone, with the exception of one defensive blackout for Podolski's goal. The Kings of London title may be a little premature, but the praise that is currently being heaped on Jupp Heynckes' side from all sides is certainly well deserved.
Philipp Lahm is probably right to focus more on the result than the performance though. With the DFB Pokal quarter final clash against Dortmund fast approaching, Bayern have a crucial few weeks coming up in their quest to realise the ultimate dream – winning the treble. Last night's result at the Emirates will significantly take the pressure off for the return leg in Munich in three weeks time – even without the now suspended Bastian Schweinsteiger - and Bayern now have license to focus on their two domestic campaigns. Until the second leg rolls around, they can all but forget about Europe, in the knowledge that they now have one foot in the quarter finals, and are one more step towards truly being crowned the Kings of London.Reuse content