Bayern Munich's Champions
League visit to Basel on Wednesday has all the ingredients for
an upset, with the Bavarians in the middle of a rocky patch.
Bastian Schweinsteiger's injury, Arjen Robben's loss of form
and a dull goalless draw at Bundesliga strugglers Freiburg on
Saturday combine to make Bayern look vulnerable.
Basel have already pulled off one shock this season by
taking four points out of six from Manchester United in the
group stages to qualify for the last 16 at the expense of the
Premier League side.
The Swiss league champions also have inside knowledge of
their opponents as coach Heiko Vogel spent nine years working
with Bayern's youth scheme where he coached several members of
the current team.
In another twist Basel winger Xherdan Shaqiri will be keen
to show his future club what he is capable of, having already
been signed by Bayern for next season.
Basel are unbeaten in 13 matches in all competitions, their
last defeat coming at home to Benfica in the Champions League in
early November when Vogel took over following the sudden
departure of Thorsten Fink to Hamburg SV.
"It's special that there is Swiss involvement in the last
16, the fact I started my training career with Bayern makes it
even more interesting," said Vogel.
"We have a small chance and we want to take it as we did
Basel, who also reached the group stages in 2002/03, could
be rusty though as they have played only twice since the winter
Four-times European champions Bayern were almost untouchable
earlier in the season but have struggled for form since the New
The Bavarians have dropped from first to third in the
Bundesliga, four points behind leaders Borussia Dortmund.
Dutch winger Robben has been left out by coach Jupp Heynckes
and described as "selfish" by honorary president Franz
"When he has a good effort or scores a goal he does not run
towards the player who set him up but instead he runs towards
his family in the stands," said Beckenbauer. "He lets the team
run after him."
Schweinsteiger, who usually runs the midfield, has been
ruled out for several weeks with an ankle injury.
That is a severe blow to Bayern especially as he scored both
goals in the 2-1 win at Basel in last season's group stages.
Schweinsteiger's absence was no excuse for Saturday's poor
effort at Freiburg, according to sporting director Christian
"We have to get our act together as fast as possible and
present a different face," he said. "We need fundamental changes
very quickly indeed or it'll be a very disappointing season."
Bayern however are still chasing a Bundesliga-German
Cup-Champions League treble and the fact their Allianz Arena
will stage the final of Europe's elite club competition is a
Basel: 1-Yann Sommer; 27-Markus Steinhoefer, 19-David
Abraham, 6-Aleksandar Dragovic, 3-Park Joo Ho; 17-Xherdan
Shaqiri, 8-Benjamin Huggel, 34-Granit Xhaka, 20-Fabian Frei;
9-Marco Streller, 13-Alexander Frei
Bayern Munich: 1-Manuel Neuer; 13-Rafinha, 17-Jerome
Boateng, 28-Holger Badstuber, 21-Philipp Lahm; 30-Luiz Gustavo,
27-David Alaba; 25-Thomas Muller, 39-Toni Kroos, 7-Franck
Ribery; 33-Mario Gomez
Referee: Nicola Rizzoli (Italy)
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