VIERTELFINALE!. Almost booked. Was the headline in the local Bavarian newspaper after an awesome display at The Emirates that virtually ended Arsenal's season and Arsene Wenge'rs quest for a trophy after 8 barren seasons.
We were watching the 3-1 away win in a packed ballroom at www.gasthofhoehensteiger.de in Rosenheim where host Georg Hoehensteiger and his hard working staff were plying beers and snacks to a thirsty band of FC Bayern fans watching a huge screen with snow outside the warm gasthof-my favourite in the world.
Also watching were three dozen youth players and trainers from Lorenskog, Norway www.Lorenskog-if.no who were at a pre season camp. For FCB it seems that the return leg at Allianz Arena will be a forgone conclusion. I had predicted 3-0 in London and 6-0 in Munich... We will see how close I am. The Bavarians have suffered two Champions League Final losses in three seasons, including the disappointed penalty kick loss to Chelsea in their home stadium nine months ago.
For 67 year old Jupp Heynckes this will be his final season after which he will be replaced by Pep Guardiola. 'FOOTBALL'S COMING HOME' sang the Bavarian fans as they hope to return to London in May and the final at Wembley Stadium. For The Alsacian Professor, who has turned boring Arsenal into something special in his 18 year tenure, it could well be his last.
The Gooner fans, in a recent poll, voted 82% to let him go, but with a club board that doesn't know what to do, it is impossible to predict their club and it's manager's near future. Big spenders Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City have passed them bye, and a fourth place EPL finish and Champions League qualification seems to be fading.
The visitors seemed to have the match sewn up in the first 20 minutes with first Toni Kroos and then Thomas Müller decimating the Arsenal defence. It was a brutal contest with nine yellow cards and Norwegian referee Svein Oddvar Moen should be praised for keeping 22 players on the pitch.
The second half was even score at 1-1 with Podolsky and Mandzukic scoring what was an entertaining fourty five minutes for 60,000 lucky fans inside and millions watching around the world on pay television. 40% of English managers have already lost their jobs this season. Will Wenger go before the end of the season?