herald

Sunday 17 December 2017

'Bayern's Bastian is as good as Barca best'

BASTIAN Schweinsteiger is in the same class as Xavi and Andres Iniesta and Bayern Munich are not the same team without him, according to coach Jupp Heynckes.

The 66-year-old coach has seen his side, who looked unstoppable early in the season as they clocked up 10 wins in a row without conceding a goal, drop to third in the Bundesliga, four points behind leaders Borussia Dortmund.

They visit FC Basel tonight in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie hoping to avoid the same fate as Manchester United, beaten 2-1 by the Swiss champions in December.

Bayern's slump has coincided with injuries to Schweinsteiger, who suffered a dislocated shoulder against Napoli in November, then suffered an ankle injury this month only four matches into his comeback.

"Bastian Schweinsteiger plays in the same league as Xavi, as Iniesta and Sergio Busquets," Heynckes said.

"He's a strategist, he's the brains of the team and it's not been so easy without him."

FC BASEL v BAYERN MUNICH

LIVE RTE2/Sky Sports 2, ko 7.45



Pressure on Ranieri

Inter Milan travel to the Stade Velodrome to face Marseille tonight with Claudio Ranieri's job in serious danger.

After drifting out of contention in the Italian title race and out of the Italian Cup, Inter's thinning trophy hopes rest firmly with the Champions League.

Inter fans protested after Friday's 3-0 loss to Bologna, chanting for 2010 treble-winning coach Jose Mourinho, but Marseille coach Didier Deschamps will not be taking the Italians for granted.

"I have already warned that this side is not the one we saw in their last Serie A games," he said.

Deschamps pointed out that Inter were similar to the team who won the Champions League in 2010.

"They have great players, all internationals. They can hurt us with their offensive line-up: Milito, Sneijder, Pazzini, Forlan, Zarate. Individually, they're capable of everything," he said.

MARSEILLE v INTER MILAN

LIVE SETANTA IRELAND/UTV, KO 7.45

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