Both Barcelona and Bayern Munich will feature in Friday’s Champions League quarter-final draw, but they got there with varying degrees of difficulty.
Aside from a second-half goal from Mohamed Elneny, Arsenal were ultimately always second best against their Spanish rivals with Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar all getting on the scoresheet to seal a 3-1 win on Wednesday night, which in turn saw them prevail 5-1 on aggregate.
The Spanish and European champions will undoubtedly be the favourites for the remainder of the tournament, as although there were some signs of weaknesses that can be exploited, they look a daunting prospect for any side in Europe.
In contrast, Bayern were pushed to their very limit by Juventus on Wednesday night, with the visitors producing a tactical masterclass in the opening 45 minutes to take a 2-0 lead on the night.
Although they will rue their missed opportunities to kill the tie, Juve’s capitulation in extra time was a disappointing way for them to end the night. In contrast, from a Bayern perspective, Pep Guardiola’s side deserve plenty of credit for their fightback.
Nevertheless, it wasn’t a particularly convincing display from the Bavarian giants, with their Spanish coach hoping to leave at the end of the season with the Champions League as a parting gift.
Juve were able to out-think and out-play them for the first hour of the game, and it took a goal from Robert Lewandowski to swing the momentum back in their favour.
Thomas Muller’s headed effort in injury time was effectively the turning point in the tie, before Thiago Alcantara and Kingsley Coman made the game safe to spare Guardiola’s blushes.
While Barca look as though they are on course to successfully defend their crown, Guardiola and Bayern still have questions to answer in order to prove that they can go all the way and overcome some tough tests in the business end of the competition.
With the likes of Barca, Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain now all possible opponents in the quarter finals, if they thought Juve were tough, they can ill-afford encountering such issues next time out.