Forced to watch the first leg from the discomfort of his sofa, fit-again Bastian Schweinsteiger says FC Bayern München are confident of overturning a 1-0 UEFA Champions League round of 16 deficit against FC Basel 1893 on home turf.
"It's important to get into the match from the first minute, and with our fans behind us we can put them under a lot of pressure," the Germany midfielder told UEFA.com. "
It would be ideal if we could take an early lead, but you have to take care not to concede too much space to Basel. They know how to play on the break, they have a good passing game, and that can be dangerous."
Bayern felt the full force of that threat three weeks ago when the Swiss champions took the game to their illustrious visitors: they struck the woodwork twice before substitute Valentin Stocker's goal four minutes from time earned a famous victory. "Basel play a great zonal defence and possess strikers with a lot of experience, so we have to be careful," warned Schweinsteiger, pointing to the group stage results Heiko Vogel's side enjoyed against Manchester United FC – a 3-3 away draw followed by a 2-1 home win. "We must start as we did in Basel."
Indeed, Jupp Heynckes' men began brightly in Switzerland before allowing Basel to settle down. There was no such issue on Saturday as Bayern rushed into a 5-0 half-time lead against TSG 1899 Hoffenheim in Munich, eventually winning 7-1. It was the Bavarians' seventh successive home victory and, just as significantly, Schweinsteiger's introduction after the hour marked his return from ankle ligament damage suffered in early February.
The 27-year-old is not necessarily expecting to start on Tuesday – "the most important thing is to win against Basel" – but whoever gets the nod, he is sure Bayern will be in Friday's quarter-final draw. "I have a lot of confidence as we have played well at home all season," he said. "
We all know the final is in Munich and that is a challenge for all of us, but we are focused 100% on the Basel match. The rest will hopefully follow."
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