another Champions League shock as they ventured into uncharted
territory in the competition on Wednesday, clinching a dramatic
1-0 victory over Bayern Munich to pile the misery on Germany's
The humble Swiss team, who qualified for the last 16 at the
expense of Manchester United after a momentous victory against
the English side, had St Jakob-Park rocking again as substitute
Valentin Stocker scored an 86th-minute winner.
Basel, who often play in front of only a few thousand fans
in the Swiss league, hit the woodwork twice, then survived long
periods of Bayern pressure before snatching victory.
While Basel's players milked the crowd's acclaim, Bayern
trooped off thinking the unthinkable.
Their Allianz Arena hosts the final this year but after
failing to score an away goal they are in serious danger of
their dream being dashed in the last 16.
The Bavarians, who have slipped to third in the Bundesliga
after a dip in form, missed the injured Bastian Schweinsteiger,
decribed by coach Jupp Heynckes before the game as the brains of
the team and in the same class as Barcelona's Xavi and Andres
Arjen Robben was restored to the starting line-up at the
expense of Thomas Muller, a surprise move by Heynckes which
failed to have the desired effect.
Basel's win was a rare boost for Swiss football following
the national team's failure to qualify for Euro 2012 and the
problems facing their domestic game.
Those have seen Sion docked 36 points for fielding
ineligible players, a case which nearly earned the country
suspension by FIFA, and Neuchatel Xamax kicked out of the league
for a series of administrative problems under Russian-born owner
"We are very happy but we know we're only halfway there,"
said Basel's coach Heiko Vogel, who has only been in charge
since November and spent nine years working with Bayern's youth
divisions where he coached some of the present Bayern team.
"The recipe is very simple, we have an unbelievable will to
win and great understanding. We have fun every day during
training and that shows."
Goalkeeper Yann Sommer, whose saves kept Bayern in the game,
said: "We have beaten maybe the best two teams in the world,
it's amazing what happened here, we believed in ourselves.
Bayern played well but luck was on our side."
Franck Ribery had a shot blocked by Sommer in the third
minute and was denied shortly afterwards when he was sent clear
but Sommer pushed his effort into the side-netting as Bayern
made a promising start.
"If Ribery's chances had gone in it would have been a
different game," said Heynckes.
Bayern had two let-offs in quick succession, firstly when
Aleksandar Dragovic's header was pushed away by Neuer, hit the
inside of the post and bounced out.
The woodwork saved Bayern three minutes later when Alexander
Frei, Switzerland's record international goalscorer, crashed a
shot against the crossbar from 12 metres after a Park Joo Ho's
slide-rule pass found him free in the middle.
Bayern took control of the midfield after that, enjoying
lots of possession although their attacks lacked imagination.
Robben set up one chance for David Alaba and the Austrian's
shot from the edge of the area was parried by Sommer.
Mario Gomez nearly caught out Sommer with an overhead-kick
and the goalkeeper also did well to palm away Philipp Lahm's
drive before he produced his best save, blocking Gomez after the
Bundesliga's leading scorer was given a clear run on goal.
Bayern looked more likely winners but were stunned four
minutes from time.
Jacques Zoua, another Basel substitute, made a powerful run
across the edge of the area and slipped the ball to the unmarked
Stocker, who fired between Manuel Neuer's legs to send the St
Jakob-Park crowd wild.
"We took risks because we wanted to win," said Heynckes. "FC
Basel have a good team, talented younger players, they are
strong and dangerous."
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