Bayern,Inter seek to overturn first-leg deficit for place in quarters

Bayern Munich’s hopes of playing in a Champions League final in their own stadium will be hanging on a knife edge as they face a 1-0 deficit against an FC Basel side that is unbeaten in their last 17 outings

Written by Reuters | Munich | Published: March 13, 2012 1:01:13 am

Bayern Munich’s hopes of playing in a Champions League final in their own stadium will be hanging on a knife edge on Tuesday as they face a 1-0 deficit against an FC Basel side that is unbeaten in their last 17 outings. Despite thrashing Hoffenheim 7-1 in Bundesliga on Saturday,Bayern are treading warily against Basel who are attempting to become the first Swiss team to reach the last eight of Europe’s top club competition for 33 years.

“The game on Saturday was proof that we can score goals. But Basel will not make it as easy as Hoffenheim,”said coach Jupp Heynckes,who twice led Bayern to the semi-finals of the European Cup during a previous stint at the club from 1987-91.

Bayern,whose stadium hosts this year’s final,have won 11 of their last 12 European games at home,yet have made a habit of slipping up at the Allianz Arena at crucial moments. Basel are unbeaten and have scored in every match away from home in the competition this season,their most impressive result being a 3-3 draw at Manchester United after trailing 2-0 at halftime.

Basel coach Heiko Vogel spent nine years working with Bayern’s youth team before moving to Basel. After losing at home to Benfica on his debut,Vogel’s team has gone unbeaten for 17 games,beating Manchester United 2-1 to qualify for the knockout stages at their expense and also overcoming Bayern in the first leg. Vogel has repeatedly played down his Bayern connections.

“It would be an unbelievable triumph if a Swiss team reached the quarter-finals and that should be the main thing. Beating Bayern Munich,my former employees,does not play a role,”he said.

Counting on home advantage

Inter Milan coach Claudio Ranieri believes it would be a crying shame if his improving side fail to overturn their 1-0 deficit in Tuesday’s last-16 second leg at home to Olympique Marseille. Inter won their first match in 10 games in all competitions when two late goals sealed a 2-0 Serie A victory at Chievo Verona on Friday and Ranieri was so overjoyed he had tears in his eyes.

While 2010 champions Inter are digging themselves out of a hole,Marseille have slipped into the mire with four straight defeats since their first-leg win and Ranieri sees an opportunity. “Emotion is the most beautiful thing. I do this job to feel emotions,both positive and negative,but to tell the truth the positive ones are better,”he said.

“I hope that on Tuesday against Marseille the San Siro will be full and the fans will be urging us on. It won’t be an easy game,but we’ll try. We have a chance.”

Inter will be without suspended defender Cristian Chivu while centre back Andrea Ranocchia and midfielder Ricardo Alvarez are injured. Substitute Giampaolo Pazzini replaced fellow striker Diego Forlan and previously out-of-form Esteban Cambiasso came on for Andrea Poli before Walter Samuel’s and forward Diego Milito’s late goals in Verona. Ghana striker Andre Ayew,who scored the injury-time winner in the first leg,is also likely to be fit to play after recovering from a shoulder injury as Marseille seek their first goal since his header.

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