Wolfsburg was flying high, winners of 4 of its last five games. Napoli was the complete opposite and in search of finding form once again. A flat start from the Germans allowed Napoli to take an early lead and the Italians would never look back. Napoli found four goals on the road to take a commanding 4-1 win in the return leg of the Europa League at home next week. A brace from Marek Hamsik and goals from Gonzalo Higuain and Manolo Gabbiadini saw Napoli through. Wolfsburg’s only consolation was a late goal from Lord Bendtner. When Lord Bendtner is your only source of goals you know it is going to be a long night. Now, Wolfsburg must go on the road and win 4-0 to find a a way through to the semi-finals.
Three questions arise from today’s Champions League match:
1) Do Arsenal wish they were in the Europa League instead of the Champions League?
It’s looking like another year without a trophy for a struggling Arsenal. As if things couldn’t get worse after losing to Championship side Blackburn on Saturday, Arsenal were severely beaten by a superior Bayern Munich. Arsenal’s only luck came when they received an undeserved corner and Neuer came half-heartedly for the resulting set piece. Arsenal looked out of it by the 30th minute but after scoring in the second half they managed to look threatening for about 10 minutes until Bayern dealt a final blow. It’s now been 7 years, 8 months, and 29 days since Arsenal have won a trophy (http://www.sincearsenallastwonatrophy.co.uk/) and Arsene Wenger is looking like the scapegoat these days. At this point they may be wishing they were in a lesser competition with the hope of winning a trophy.
2) Is the Bundesliga the world’s premier soccer league?
Bayern Munich have run away with their domestic league with Borussia Dortmund a mere 15 POINTS behind in 2nd place. If your memory is temporary failing you, Dortmund is the team that went undefeated in the group stage of the Champions League which included Real Madrid, Borussia Dortmund, and Ajax. Bayern Munich outclassed Arsenal, were deadly when their opportunities arose, and were a rock at the back. It’s no wonder they are one of the favorites in this year’s tournament. With their performance today, I’ll have to turn on some more ESPN3 on Saturday mornings instead of Fox Soccer.
3) Are Chelsea pleased they’re in the Europa League instead of the Champions League?
Wenger hay be looking upon Reina with a bit of jealousy tonight. Reina still has two cups in his sights despite falling off the pace in the premier league. Although its tough for Reina to imagine anyone envying his position at the moment, Wenger is feeling the same way. It’s reported Pep Guardiola turned down a lucrative Chelsea offer and turned to the Bundesliga. Is this even more evidence the Bundesliga is the premier division in the world and premier league side Chelsea is an undesirable spot? Success in this year’s Champions League will tell a lot about the strength of Europe’s domestic leagues.