By Andreas Alf at the Olympiastadion
FC Bayern München took a huge step towards the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals as they built up a two-goal first-leg lead against Arsenal FC.
Peruvian international Claudio Pizarro was the man of the match, striking early in each half past Jens Lehmann. Hasan Salihamidzic added the third, but Kolo Touré did score late on to give the English champions hope for the return at Highbury in a fortnight.
Bayern coach Felix Magath sprung a surprise by naming midfield players Mehmet Scholl and Owen Hargreaves as substitutes, Martin Demichelis instead handed a start in place of the injured Michael Ballack. The visitors were without defender Sol Campbell and forward Dennis Bergkamp, but Ashley Cole had recovered from illness and was able to begin on the bench, teenager Gaël Clichy stepping in at left-back.
It was a perfect start for the 18-time German champions. Only four minutes had been played when Oliver Kahn punted three-quarters the length of the pitch. Touré failed to clear with a header and the ball fell nicely for Pizarro, who had no trouble in beating Lehmann to give Bayern the lead.
Shocked by the Peruvian's strike, Arsenal had problems getting into the game as they looked to display their usual quick attacking style. Magath's team let their opponents dominate possession but were defending strongly and countering at pace - the style many had expected the visitors to display.
While Patrick Vieira had little room to run the midfield for the Premiership team, the home side were not causing much danger in front of Lehmann's goal either. It meant the first half ended with little more for Lehmann or compatriot Oliver Kahn - both watched by attendant German national coach Jürgen Klinsmann - to do in a bitterly cold but still sold-out Olympiastadion.
Arsenal came out for the second half in determined mood and looked to put Bayern under more pressure. However, Lucio and Robert Kovac were holding firm in the centre of the home defence and kept Thierry Henry quiet despite Fredrik Ljungberg launching attack after attack on the Arsenal right.
However, the first real chance of the half fell to Bayern. Zé Roberto's perfect cross fell for Roy Makaay to volley at goal four metres out, but Lehmann showed his mettle with a superb reflex save. A minute later, Lucio troubled Arsenal once more with a header after a Zé Roberto corner, but the ball went wide.
Just before the hour, though, Bayern were two ahead. Magath decided it was time to unleash Scholl, and within seconds the substitute's free-kick found its way to Pizarro to head in his second goal of the night, giving Lehmann no chance.
It was to get even better for the Bundesliga leaders seven minutes later. Pizarro's pass brought Torsten Frings into action and the midfield player crossed over the advanced Lehmann on to the foot of Salihamidzic, who tapped in to make it 3-0.
José Antonio Reyes had the visitors' first real chance after 70 minutes, but Kahn saw the Spanish youngster's free-kick fly wide. Frings then hit the side-netting and, perhaps glimpsing a chink of light, Arsenal reduced the arrears just before the end as Touré pounced to shoot past Kahn after Vieira had hit the post.