Champions League Round of 16 Second Legs Previews – Part III

Bayern Munich are still hoping that they might be a part of the Champions League final this season, with the added incentive of playing in front of their home fans having a nice bonus touch to it. They need to get by FC Basel and a first leg 0-1 loss to keep moving. Meanwhile, Inter and Marseille are both having terrible seasons, as Marseille travel to the San Siro with a minor 1-0 lead.

Bayern Munich – FC Basel

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Bayern Munich, despite their ultra-impressive 7-1 win over Hoffenheim this weekend, breaking a drought of four matches without scoring, losing three of them, have problems heading into the second leg against Basel. Arjen Robben and Mario Gomez were seen limping off the pitch after both scored (Robben 2, Gomez 3) in the win. Jerome Boateng is also doubtful.

Having Bastian Schweinsteiger back is a huge boost, although it’s still not certain he’ll get to start or play 90 minutes. He seemed calm and confident when speaking before the match, saying he lives for these situations.

Basel, having it rather easy in the league (12 point lead) were impressive in their win over Bayern in the first leg, Valentin Stocker being the hero of the moment. Will it last? After showing that they can hang with Manchester United at the Old Trafford this season, I don’t think a visit to the Allianz Arena seems that scary.

Internazionale – Marseille

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Andre Ayew’s 90th minute goal for Marseille against Inter three weeks ago has been a rare bright spot for the team this season. They are 8th in Ligue 1, and instead of moving forwards and contending for titles while continuing their Champions League streak after winning the title in 2010, it’s been a slippery slope for them. They haven’t scored in their last four matches, all defeats. Their last league win was on January 29.

Inter? Not much better, although they did win 2-0 against Chievo last week. Their home form this season? Pathetic. Their last home win was back in January 22, and they are currently 7th in the Serie A. Winning another Champions League berth doesn’t look very realistic at the moment.

But they have their president, Massimo Moratti, who’s confident in his team and the uber-criticized coach, Claudio Ranieri, to turn the result around and qualify to the quarter finals.

We’re convinced we can overturn the result. We played very well in the first leg and didn’t deserve to lose. We’re sure that we can win with the help of our fans. We’re sure we can still do well in the Champions League. Of course it is a different sort of competition. If we get through this round we’ll be among the top eight teams in Europe. 

Tuesday’s match is massive and we’re desperate to do well. And after that we’ll have everything to play for – this team have already shown they’re capable of going all the way. It’s not easy for a coach to read in the papers every day that there’s a new coach coming in to replace him. Ranieri is professional, he’s getting on with his job and he has my complete support in this difficult time that he’s experiencing and that we’re trying to get through.

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