Bayern hopes to leave German woes behind at Basel

Bayern Munich will look to leave its domestic woes behind when

it travels to FC Basel on Tuesday in Group E of the Champions

League.

In the group’s other match, AS Roma is aiming to build on its

first win of the season when it meets Romanian side Cluj.

Defending Bundesliga champion Bayern lost 2-1 at home on

Saturday to Germany’s surprise leader FC Mainz. Bayern is already

10 points behind Mainz in ninth place, and coach Louis van Gaal

acknowledged after the match that his club played poorly ”for the

first time this season.”

Bayern’s management is hoping for a quick turnaround, and it

signed Van Gaal to a one-year contract extension Monday to keep him

at the club through to June 2012. A different story could await Van

Gaal’s side in the Champions League.

Runner-up a year ago, Bayern got off to an excellent start with

a 2-0 victory over Roma two weeks ago. The German team will be the

favorite when it meets Basel in Switzerland, even with a side

missing injured playmakers Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben.

”There is nothing better than this,” Bayern defender Philipp

Lahm said. ”In the current situation, to make a statement in the

Champions League would be worth its weight in gold.”

Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge agreed.

”That is the nice thing about football: you can correct things

three days later,” said Rummenigge. ”They have to be corrected

because you cannot survive in the Champions League with this kind

of performance.”

On form alone, Basel stands a chance. It went to FC Zurich on

Saturday and crushed its archrival 4-1 behind a two goals from

in-form striker Marco Streller. The team showed mettle, too,

holding on for the last half-hour with only 10 men after Behrang

Safari was sent off.

Basel was a 2-1 loser against Cluj in Romania in its first

Champions League match, and the club must get a result against

Bayern if it is to have a realistic chanced of making the last

16.

”Against Zurich, we were very concentrated defensively, good in

building up play and very efficient in attack,” said Basel coach

Thorsten Fink, a Champions League winner as a player with Bayern in

2001.

”We must play exactly the same way on Tuesday,” Fink said.

Meanwhile, AS Roma hosts Cluj after beating five-time defending

Italian champion Inter Milan 1-0 on Saturday.

Substitute Mirko Vucinic scored the winning goal in injury time

from Daniele De Rossi’s cross, ending a run of two draws and two

defeats for last season’s Serie A runner-up.

”It was an important result because it gets us some points in

the league, but more importantly it shows me that the guys know how

to win,” Roma coach Claudio Ranieri said.

Vucinic came on with 15 minutes remaining for Roma captain

Francesco Totti, who was angry about being substituted. But the

rest may help Totti against Cluj.

The Romanian champion is level with Bayern atop Group E with

three points, and hopes to build on its opening victory over

Basel.