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Bayern ready for 'match of destiny' - Heynckes
Published : 12 Mar 2012 15:17:06Rss feed
It has been dubbed Bayern Munich's "match of destiny", but coach Jupp Heynckes insists his team are ready to beat FC Basel and book their place in the last eight of the Champions League.
Bayern host Basel at Munich's Allianz Arena on Tuesday needing to over-turn their shock 1-0 defeat from the Round of 16 first leg at St Jakob Park three weeks ago and defeat would be little short of a disaster for the Bavarians.
Saturday's 7-1 home hammering of Hoffenheim in the Bundesliga gave a much-needed shot of confidence, but Bayern have won just five of their ten matches since Christmas, are five points behind leaders Dortmund in the Bundesliga and are under serious pressure to beat the Swiss champions.
"If we go out, it would be difficult to bring this season to a good conclusion," said Bayern president Uli Hoeness with German magazine Kicker having labelled the game Bayern's "match of destiny" for the season.
"We must progress and I am confident that we can do that."
With Basel having already knocked Manchester United out at the group phase, Bayern are bidding to avoid becoming the Swiss league leaders' next major scalp in an already impressive European campaign.
"Right now, you do not think what is at stake," said Heynckes.
"That is what makes football so interesting, there are always difficult situations that you face which are extremely demanding.
"Things aren't as dramatic as they appear, we are confident, we have great belief in ourselves and every player knows what is at stake."
Bastian Schweinsteiger is set to play at some point having come on for the last 20 minutes against Hoffenheim after 31 days out with torn ankle ligaments and Heynckes welcomed back his midfield general.
"I'm very happy, to be honest, that Basti has recovered so far," admitted Heynckes, but refused to be drawn when asked if Schweinsteiger would start.
"It is very important that he has returned to the playing squad.
"For me, he is in the same league as the likes of Xavi (Hernandez), (Andres) Iniesta, (Sergio) Busquets (at Barcelona). It can give impetus to us on and off the field."
After Basel substitute Valentin Stocker hit the winner four minutes from time in the first leg, Bayern know conceding an early goal in the return leg would be disastrous for their hopes of going into Friday's quarter-final draw. Basel coach Heiko Vogel - a German who cut his coaching teeth with Bayern's youth squads - said his side must show plenty of belief and try their luck in Munich.
"Courage is a factor for both teams. Bayern must also be brave, there is a lot of pressure on their shoulders," he said having spent nine years at Bayern as a youth team coach.
"Courage is a great word for tomorrow.
"We do not have to hide, we will go out on the pitch stress-free, no matter who is against us."
Ex-Dortmund striker Alexander Frei said Basel's best chance will come if they show "courage, a bit of cheekiness, self-confidence and we need some belief.
"It will take a lot of work and a near miracle, but we know the quality of the squad," said the Swiss international.