Monday 19 March 2018

Bayern confident of reversing Basel deficit

AFTER putting seven goals past Hoffenheim, Bayern Munich are confident they can overcome a one-goal deficit against FC Basel in the Champions League 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.

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

"This will give us a push. We have to make good a one-goal deficit," said Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes. "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 ousted Manchester United in the biggest upset of the group stage, but progression is seen as mandatory for the three-time winners, with the Champions League final to be played in Munich on May 19.

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

Falling short of the quarter-finals for the second year in a row would be considered disastrous by the Bayern hierarchy, but Heynckes was keen to play down the pressure.

"Right now, you don't think what's at stake in the game. I'm very confident because the game against Hoffenheim came at the right time," he said. "You have to play these kinds of games again and again over the course of your career. It's what makes football interesting."

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

Dutch winger Arjen Robben, who scored twice on Saturday, and Bayern defender Jerome Boateng should also shake off minor knocks to play at the Allianz Arena.

"We have to keep playing this way. It can't be that we play differently," said Robben.

Bayern were given a further boost in the Hoffenheim game when Germany midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger came on as a substitute to make his return from a month out with an ankle injury.

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