Football: Formidable Bayern crush Arsenal 5-1 to top group

 Bayern defender David Alaba celebrates after scoring the third goal.
Bayern defender David Alaba celebrates after scoring the third goal.AFP

MUNICH (REUTERS) - Bayern Munich dismantled Arsenal 5-1 in Champions League Group F on Wednesday after a sensational first-half performance to close on the knockout stages with two matches left.

The Bavarians, who struck three times in the first half through Robert Lewandowski, Thomas Mueller and David Alaba, avenged their 2-0 loss in London last month - their only defeat this season - with a dominant performance that underlined their title aspirations.

Substitute Arjen Robben, who made his first appearance in the competition this season after a long injury break, added a fourth soon after coming on in the 55th minute and Mueller grabbed a late fifth.

Bayern top the group on nine points.

Injury-hit Arsenal, woeful at the back and toothless up front, pulled a goal back through Olivier Giroud but are bottom on three points after their third loss, behind Olympiakos and Dinamo Zagreb.

Arsenal need to win their remaining two games to maintain their slim chances of reaching the last 16.