Bastian Schweinsteiger is in the
same class as Xavi and Andres Iniesta and Bayern Munich are not
the same team without him, coach Jupp Heynckes said on Tuesday.
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 on Wednesday for 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
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
On Saturday, Bayern were devoid of creativity as they drew
0-0 at lowly Freiburg in the Bundesliga.
"For me, Bastian Schweinsteiger plays in the same league as
Xavi, as Iniesta and Sergio Busquets," Heynckes told reporters,
referring to the three superb Barcelona midfielders.
"He's a strategist, he's the brains of the team and it's not
been so easy without him in the last games."
Schweinsteiger rescued Bayern on their last visit to Basel,
scoring twice as they came from behind to win 2-1 in a group
game in last season's competition. He also scored twice for
Germany at St Jakob-Park during Euro 2008.
Heynckes accepted criticism of Bayern's recent performances
which have also included a 3-1 defeat by Borussia
Monchengladbach who are now second in the Bundesliga.
"The criticism is justified and we have to respect it," said
Heynckes. "But I'm convinced that on Wednesday we can produce a
"We haven't yet played convincingly in 2012," said striker
Mario Gomez. "We must not underestimate Basel, they are a very
strong team with their fans behind them, although we have enough
quality to get to the next round."
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