Top European action resumes tonight with must win fixtures for both Inter Milan and Bayern Munich. Inter go into the tie at the San Siro trailing Olympique Marseille 1-0 while Bayern will be hoping that they can replicate their form that saw them thrash Hoffenheim 7-1 at the Allianz Arena whenSwiss club FC Basel coming calling.
Basel carry a slender 1 goal advantage to the Allianz Arena knowing that it will not be easy beating the 4 time European champions on their home turf. Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes who’s career with the club is still not certain despite Saturday’s emphatic victory has called on his team to step up to the challenge.
“I have said before: Basel are a very good team. There is a good mix of young and experienced players. They showed in the first game what they can do. Nevertheless, tomorrow will be another game. We have so many experienced players and I am confident of getting through” Heynckes said.
Confidence is soaring high in the Bayern team camp as they have been boosted by the return of Bastian Schweinsteiger to action however, bad news for Heynckes is that top scorer Mario Gomez is a likely doubt for the match.
Gomez picked up a shin injury against Hoffenheim and will most likely miss the game. In light of this, Heynckes is expected to retain the same squad that he played on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Basel coach Holko Vogel won’t be taking anything for granted tonight if his pre-match statements are anything to go by.
“We are looking forward to the game. I am expecting a very interesting match. We are in a good position after the first game, but of course we are full of respect and we know it will be very difficult. Bayern will attack and create a lot of pressure. We will have to survive the opening minutes, but I am confident because we have a lot of good players. If we score it will be even harder for Munich.”
In Italy, 2010 champions Inter Milan are equally optimistic about progressing through to the last eight despite Marseille’s slender advantage. Inter are coming off a morale boosting 2-0 win over Chievo and according to coach Claudio Ranieri, the result is just what they need to stop Marseille’s impressing away record.
“Tomorrow we will try to score but we must be careful not to concede. OM are a good team, strong and dangerous on the counterattack. We know their qualities and their weaknesses. They have earned more points away than at home in Champions League matches but compared to the first leg, the mood and atmosphere in our squad is very different.”
Meanwhile, Marseille coach Didier Deschamps has given an indication that he could deploy defensive tactics for the game.
“Victory in the first leg gave us a small advantage but Inter are the favourites. We have nothing to lose. Inter are a great team and they will do anything to get through. Tactically, it will be very important to defend but it is also important to score and perform well. That is our aim.” Deschamps said in the pre-match press conference.
If history is anything to go by, Marseille should move onto to the last eight. The first time both club’s met was in the 2003/2004 UEFA Cup with Marseille winning 1-0 in the quarters both at home and away.
Photo Credit © Henning Supertramp