Bayern Munich will take a two-goal advantage into the second leg of their Champions League last 16 tie after goals from Toni Kroos and substitute Thomas Muller dispatched 10-man Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium.
Kroos breathtakingly swept home on the hour after Mesut Ozil and David Alaba had both missed penalties and Wojciech Szczesny was dismissed during a drama-filled first half.
Manuel Neuer turned away Ozil's nervy spot-kick inside 10 minutes prior to Szczesny being sent off for bringing down Arjen Robben, but Alaba missed the target.
But in the second period Bayern pressed home their numerical advantage and struck brilliantly through Kroos before Muller netted from Phillipp Lahm's cross to set Arsenal the task of becoming just the third side to win a two-legged Champions League tie after losing the home leg should they wish to progress.
Arsenal of course prevailed in Munich last year in going out on away goals to the Champions League holders but with the Germans having improved under Pep Guardiola, Arsene Wenger will fear a second successive exit at the second round stage.
Wenger dropped a major bombshell before kick-off in leaving leading scorer Giroud on the bench and handing French Under-20 international Yaya Sanogo his first European start for the visit the reigning champions.
Guardiola had paid tribute to the Gunners in the build-up but in search of his first win in north London the two-time Champions League winning manager was unforgiving in selecting an all-star cast including nine winners of the competition in May.
The task-facing Arsenal was further emphasised by the strength of the Bayern bench which possessed both Thomas Muller and Bastian Schweinsteiger - amid his return from injury – but having won in Munich 11 months ago the hosts had no reason to be in awe of their opponents.
The holders though began the evening in typically dominant fashion and if it weren't for Wojciech Szczesny's sprawling third minute save, Kroos would have handed the visitors a crucial away goal.
But the effort only worked to inspire an Arsenal start which threatened to blow away the runaway Bundesliga leaders.
Neuer reacted superbly to keep out Sanogo from close range before Santi Cazorla was denied after escaping in behind.
But when Ozil was felled by Jerome Boateng for a penalty, the home side looked certain to hit the front, only for Neuer to claw away his German counterpart's tentative spot kick.
The miss was indicative of Ozil's recent run of form following what had been a succesful start to life in England.
Though the Arsenal pressure didn't abate, as Mathieu Flamini blazed over and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – a livewire throughout on the right hand side – almost latched onto a wayward Alaba back pass, periods of Bayern possession were helping to alleviate the hosts' dominance.
Mario Mandzukic headed wide and Per Mertesacker blocked from Robben and as Bayern ratcheted up their authority, a potential turning point of the tie came seven minutes short of the interval.
Robben exchanged passes with Kroos and the latter's flicked pass found the onrushing Dutch international who poked the ball beyond Szczesny before going down in the area
Lukasz Fabianski replaced Cazorla to great disappointment among the home support but that distress soon turned to jubilation as Alaba missed the subsequent penalty, succumbing to the pressure after a three-minute delay.
Despite replays showing clear contact between Szczesny and Robben, the ex-Chelsea winger became the pantomime villain among the Emirates crowd, with jeering accompanying his every touch.
Against 10 men, Bayern carried greater threat in the final third and though Fabianski kept out Robben's curling effort, the Pole could do nothing to prevent Kroos giving the away side the lead with a superb individual effort from the edge of the penalty area.
As Arsenal sunk onto the edge of their own penalty area Bayern began to toy with the 2006 runners-up as Fabianski turned away from Robben, with Thiago Alcantara's outstretched boot inches away from doubling the advantage.
But just as Arsenal looked to be keeping the Bayern lead to one, they allowed a second just before the end which all but confirms their fate, as Muller headed home from Lahm's cross, to leave Wenger's men with an identical task to that of Manchester City, who lost 2-0 to Barcelona the previous evening.