Bayern's home final hopes on a knife-edge

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 unbeaten in their last 17 outings.

Despite thrashing Hoffenheim 7-1 in the 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 win over Hoffenheim will give us some thrust for Tuesday," said coach Jupp Heynckes ahead of the second leg of the round-of-16 tie.

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

Three of their last four Champions League campaigns ended when they failed to win games on home turf.

Last season, Bayern went out at the same stage when they lost 3-2 at home to Inter Milan, having won 1-0 away in the first leg.

A 1-1 draw against Barcelona sent them out 5-1 on aggregate in 2009 and two years before that, Bayern lost 2-0 at home to AC Milan in the quarter-finals, having drawn the first leg 2-2 away.

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 half-time.

Basel coach Heiko Vogel spent nine years working with Bayern's youth team before moving to Basel as assistant to Thorsten Fink.

He was giving the senior role last year after Fink left to join Hamburg SV and has been an instant hit.

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.

"We have our qualities. My team have a deep belief in their capabilities, so we go onto the pitch without worries no matter who is on the other side."

Basel's progress has come in an otherwise miserable season for Swiss football with the national team having failed to qualify for Euro 2012.

Neuchatel Xamax were kicked out of the Swiss league for a series of administrative irregularities under Russian-born owner Bulat Chagaev while Servette Geneva's future is uncertain after they filed for bankruptcy 10 days ago.

FC Sion had 36 points deducted for fielding ineligible players and taking their case to the civil court in defiance of FIFA statutes which at one point led to the possibility of Switzerland being suspended from international football.

Vogel said he was aware that his career would not always be as smooth as it has so far. "I'm going to make a 1,000 mistakes," he said.

Basel will be hoping he does not start making them on Tuesday.

Probable teams:

Bayern Munich: 1-Manuel Neuer; 21-Philipp Lahm, 17-Jerome Boateng, 28-Holger Badstuber, 27-David Alaba; 30-Luiz Gustavo, 31-Bastian Schweinsteiger; 10-Arjen Robben, 25-Thomas Muller, 7-Franck Ribery; 33-Mario Gomez.

FC Basel: 1-Yann Sommer; 27-Markus Steinhoefer, 19-David Abraham, 6-Aleksandar Dragovic, 3-Park Joo Ho; 17-Xherdan Shaqiri, 8-Benjamin Huggel, 34-Granit Xhaka, 20-Fabian Frei; 9-Marco Streller, 13-Alexander Frei.


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