FC Bayern München hope they can shake off the torpor of their domestic form as they visit FC Basel 1893 in the UEFA Champions League, with midfielder Toni Kroos explaining: "Of course we are angry."
A 0-0 draw at the Bundesliga's bottom club, SC Freiburg, drew a question mark over Bayern's ability to win the German title, and they will hope to fare better as the scene shifts just 70km, from the Black Forest to Basel. "When you are top at the halfway stage and suddenly find yourselves four points off the pace, then you are disappointed," said the 22-year-old Kroos. "
It is our own fault, we know that. We have got to turn things around."
Having won just two of their five league games in 2012, it could be European success that gets Jupp Heynckes' side back in the groove. "We have got to look ahead," said forward Mario Gomez. "Certainly, we would be in a different mood coming into this game had we beaten Freiburg, but we want to get into the next round.
If we play as we know we can rather than just giving 95 or 96%, I am convinced that we will go through."
Such conviction will be vital in the difficult conditions Bayern can expect at St. Jakob-Park. "We played here last year and saw what they are capable of with their fans behind them," recalled Kroos of a September 2010 group stage game in which a late Bastian Schweinsteiger effort earned Bayern a 2-1 victory. "We have to be prepared for that."
Gomez knows that big teams underestimate Basel at their peril; the Swiss champions beat Manchester United FC 2-1 at home in their final group stage game to eliminate Sir Alex Ferguson's men. "We cannot take them lightly because we saw with Manchester United what happens when you do that," said Gomez. "With their fans behind them, Basel are very, very hard to beat, but we know we have the quality and the will to reach the next round."
The Germany striker is not worried about upsetting a friend in the process. Gomez formed a lethal partnership with Basel's Marco Streller in their VfB Stuttgart days, but would not mind putting his nose out of joint. "Sure, I am friends with Strelli and we played a good year together in Stuttgart," he recalled. "He is a very nice guy. He is in good shape and is now their captain. I am looking forward to seeing him, but our friendship won't count tomorrow."
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