Champions League preview: Narrow Basel to squeeze out Bayern, Marseille seek home comfort

ZonalMarking.net's Michael Cox uses the StatsZone app – from FFT and Opta, available now – to preview Wednesday night's Champions League action...

A trip to the south of France to take on Marseille sounds like a difficult game for Inter, but when you look at the French side’s record at the Stade Velodrome in the Champions League so far this season, it’s far from impressive.

They lost 1-0 at home to Arsenal due to a late Aaron Ramsey goal, while Olympiakos’ Ioannis Fetfazidis also struck in the final ten minutes to pick up three points for the Greek side. Winning your home games in the Champions League group stage is generally seen as vital for progression, but Marseille won only one of their three, against Dortmund.

And even that game was something of a fortunate win – 3-0 completely flattered Didier Deschamps’ side, who recorded just eight shots compared to Dortmund ’s 20.

Basel shocked Manchester United in the group stage to set up this meeting with Bayern Munich. The tie is particularly special for Basel coach Heiko Vogel, who worked with the youth team at Bayern between 1998 and 2007, and doubtless knows the likes of Bastian Schweinsteiger, Toni Kroos, Thomas Mueller and Holger Badstuber very well. This is actually Vogel’s first Champions League game as Basel’s full-time coach – he was only in temporary charge for the United game.

A key part of his approach against United was to bring the wide players in from the flanks to become more of a force in the centre of the pitch. That was particularly obvious for Xherdan Shaqiri, who spends much of his time in the middle, while Fabian Frei stays slightly wider, but notably switched from wing to wing. This movement might cause Bayern problems – they’re not as solid in front of the defence since the departure of Mark van Bommel a year ago, and Basel will fancy their chances of a result.

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