x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Bayern Munich have seven reasons to be confident against Basel

Weekend thrashing of Hoffenheim in league the perfect tonic for visit of Swiss side in Champions League second leg.

Bayern's Franck Ribery, left, and Arjen Robben celebrate a goal during Saturday's thrashing of Hoffenheim.
Bayern's Franck Ribery, left, and Arjen Robben celebrate a goal during Saturday's thrashing of Hoffenheim.

MUNICH // After putting seven goals past Hoffenheim, Bayern Munich are confident they can overcome a one-goal deficit to Basel tonight.

The Swiss champions hold a slim advantage going into the second leg of their last 16 tie thanks to substitute Valentin Stocker's 86th-minute winner at St Jakob Park three weeks ago.

But Bayern thrashed Hoffenheim 7-1 on Saturday in their 900th Bundesliga win after a difficult start to the year that had yielded only three wins from six league games.

"This will give us a push for Tuesday. We know we have to make good a one-goal deficit," Jupp Heynckes, the Bayern coach, said. "We're capable of scoring goals."

After boasting of "textbook goals", "sublime football" and "a frenzy", however, Heynckes warned that "Basel won't make it as easy for us as Hoffenheim did".

Basel knocked out Manchester United in the biggest upset of the group stage, but progression is seen as mandatory for Bayern with the Champions League final to be played in Munich on May 19.

"We have to get past Basel," said Uli Hoeness, the Bayern president, who warned that failure would make it "difficult for us to make amends for this season".

Bayern's problems have come away from home this season but their record at home is impressive, with 16 wins from 18 games in all competitions.

The Bavarians' home record in the Champions League is no less formidable, with 11 wins from their last 12 appearances in Munich in the competition, with four straight victories this season.

However, Basel are unbeaten away from home in the Champions League this season, and on the road in all competitions since August. Alex Frei, the Basel forward, said the team are looking for a third upset following their wins over United and Bayern at home in their last two Champions League matches.

"If we should qualify ... it would be even bigger. It would be extraordinary," Frei said. "For a Swiss club to qualify for the quarter-finals of the Champions League is already not normal, but to eliminate Bayern to get there this is really unusual."

Frei has previously faced Bayern at the Allianz Arena when playing for Borussia Dortmund, and suggested that the opening 20 minutes will be key.

"The Bayern players are going to press like crazy and try to score as quickly as possible to get the fans on their side," he said. "If that's the case, and we can put them in danger on the counterattack - indeed, score the first goal - we will have taken the first step toward a famous result."

Toni Kroos, the Bayern midfielder, said the players "know we have to win" but "we won't start out coming forward like crazy and playing haphazard football".

Heiko Vogel, the Basel coach, will be familiar with several Bayern players, having coached Thomas Muller, Philipp Lahm, Holger Badstuber, Toni Kroos and Diego Contento during his time as Bayern's youth coach from 1998 to 2007.

"It's obligatory for Bayern to progress against us," Vogel told German daily Bild. "It's not a battle of equals. It's a David v Goliath duel, and the Goliath should really progress."

Meanwhile, Claudio Ranieri, the Inter Milan manager, was moved to tears when he saw his squad end a nine-match winless streak at the weekend, and he is hoping the emotion carries over for another inspirational victory against Marseille tonight.

Marseille carry a 1-0 first-leg lead to the San Siro but the French club are reeling after slipping to their fourth league defeat in a row without scoring on Friday, 1-0 away to Ajaccio.

Inter beat Chievo 2-0 the same night with goals from Walter Samuel and Diego Milito for a first win since beating Lazio 2-1 on January 22. Ranieri had tears in his eyes after Milito’s strike.

“It shows how much this means to me,” Ranieri said. “This win comes just at the right time, it should give us the enthusiasm necessary to turn the result around.”

Inter have endured an up-and-down season, with Ranieri being drafted in to replace Gian Piero Gasperini in September, and there has been speculation Ranieri could be on his way out, too.

But Inter started their turnaround with two late goals in a 2-2 draw with Catania eight days ago following another show of emotion – a changing-room speech from the goalkeeper Julio Cesar at half time.

“Julio told us that we had to go out and turn the result around, that everyone had to give a little more, because we couldn’t allow ourselves another loss at home,” Milito said. “And so we showed some courage and pride and we drew.”

Marseille’s last goal was Andre Ayew’s injury-time winner that decided the first leg at Stade Velodrome. Didier Deschamps, the manager, said the players will be able to forget their league form.

“It’s such a big competition that we won’t have any problem being motivated for it,” he said. “Even if we have the advantage of one goal, we will be coming up against a team whose whole season depends on this result. We’re going to go for it.”