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The statistics speak in Bayern’s favor, but Milan and Liverpool are cautionary tales

The starting position is clear: the winner between FC Bayern and FC Arsenal will advance to the semi-finals of the Champions League on Wednesday evening, on penalties if necessary.

Statistics have been an issue since UEFA abolished the away goals rule in European Cup competitions. Comparisons with the past are therefore somewhat skewed. In the past, FC Bayern’s 2:2 in the first leg at FC Arsenal would have been worth more; a 0:0 or 1:1 in the second leg would have been enough. Such a result would have meant extra time or even a penalty shoot-out on Wednesday evening. The starting position is clear: the winner of the match, however long it takes, will progress to the semi-finals.

Nevertheless, the starting position for the German record champions is not so bad. Munich have drawn the first leg away from home 25 times in their European Cup history and have subsequently progressed 22 times. FC Bayern have always been strong at home. They returned from a first-leg trip with a 2-2 draw three times and progressed twice.

But beware: In 2007, the next round seemed close after a 2-2 draw at AC Milan in San Siro, but in the second leg “Pippo” Inzaghi put an end to the dreams with a brace in a 2-0 Milan win. And the last draw away from home also ended badly. After a 0-0 draw at Liverpool FC in the 2018/19 round of 16, Bayern bowed out of the competition after a 3-1 defeat at the Allianz Arena.

If they are eliminated on Wednesday, it will be the fourth time in a row they have reached the quarter-finals. Most recently, however, they always went into the second leg with the mortgage of a first-leg defeat: a 2:3 against Paris St. Germain in 2021, a 0:1 at FC Villareal in 2022 and a 0:3 at Manchester City a year ago

Last penalty shootout in 2012

If a penalty shoot-out were to take place, it would be a rarity for Munich. The last time they had to face this thrill in a knockout round was in 2012 in the semi-final at Real Madrid, where they reached the “Final dahoam”. The end of this story is well known: Defeat on penalties.

Leon Goretzka, who is the only Bayern player under threat of a yellow card and would have to sit out the first leg of the semi-final if he is cautioned, will have to watch out on Wednesday evening.

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