Alexander Frei looked back to his days as a Borussia Dortmund player as his FC Basel 1893 side went in search of three points at FC Bayern München, noting: "We always lost here."
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FC Basel 1893 striker Alexander Frei will try to finally create some happy memories of the Fußball Arena München when he heads to FC Bayern München's home stadium for a fourth time.
The Swiss champions need three points in Munich to have any hope of reaching the UEFA Champions League knockout phase, yet the 31-year-old Frei could take little comfort from his time in the Bundesliga with Borussia Dortmund as he looked forward to the Group E game. "We always lost here," he said, recalling 2-0, 3-1 and 5-0 defeats in his three seasons in Germany from 2006-09.
However, with Louis van Gaal's men labouring in the league but already assured of a place in the last 16, Frei knows the moment may have come to put his "quite bad memories" of the stadium behind him. Indeed, he feels that playing Bayern away could inspire his side. "Playing here with Basel against Bayern, that's a bonus, especially for our younger players," said Frei.
Thorsten Fink's team travel more in hope than expectation, though; even if they end Bayern's run of seven straight UEFA Champions League home wins, they will only go through if AS Roma lose at CFR 1907 Cluj, who have not picked up a point since Matchday 1 and have been without a head coach since Sorin Cârţu was dismissed following their 1-0 loss at Basel on Matchday 5.
A slender opportunity, however, is still an opportunity. "We believe we have a chance to win here, especially us forwards. Marco Streller and I have a lot of confidence at the moment," said the forward. "We won't get many chances, so we have to be very alert and take the ones we get. We are in good shape; we did well in our last few games and there is no pressure on us. That could be to our advantage."
Bayern's Bastian Schweinsteiger, meanwhile, said the fact that nothing was riding on this match did not mean his side would lack motivation. The Bavarians are smarting from a 2-0 weekend reverse at FC Schalke 04 which left them 17 points adrift of Bundesliga leaders Dortmund and further dented any realistic prospects of them defending their title.
"It may not look like it but the Basel game is very important to us," said the midfielder, who missed Bayern's 3-2 Matchday 5 defeat by Roma through suspension. "A win would give us confidence for the Bundesliga. We key players must take responsibility. We have to lead the team. The coach will give us some hints, but it is down to us to give a good performance on the pitch."