Schweinsteiger scores 2 as Bayern beats Basel 2-1

Bastian Schweinsteiger’s dramatic late winner helped Bayern

Munich come from behind to beat Basel 2-1 and cement its place atop

Group E of the Champions League on Tuesday.

The midfielder’s second goal came in the 89th minute when he

volleyed home a Holger Badstuber free kick. Schweinsteiger’s first

was from the spot in the 56th after Basel midfielder Benjamin

Huggel brought down Thomas Mueller.

”It was important to get three points here,” Schweinsteiger

said. ”Basel immediately took its first chance. From then on, it

was difficult for us.”

The result was cruel for Basel, which played surprisingly well

against the defending Bundesliga champion, which began by showing

more of the disappointing form that has left the team in ninth

place in the German league this season.

Striker Alex Frei gave the Swiss side the lead in the 18th when

he latched onto a clever heel pass from Marco Streller and curled

the ball into the top corner. And Basel had chances to score more

in front of 37,500 fans at St.-Jakob Park.

In the end, Bayern’s cool efficiency on set pieces proved the

difference. The winner came when Badstuber sent his free kick past

the Basel defense to the far post, where Schweinsteiger was able to

twist his body and meet the ball with the inside of his right

foot.

”It doesn’t matter if the goal comes in the 70th minute or the

last,” said Bayern goalkeeper Joerg Butt. ”The victory was

earned. We obviously couldn’t be pleased with the first half, but

we were able to improve significantly in the second half.”

The result means Bayern stays atop the group with six points

from two matches. Basel is last with no points. Italian side Roma

and Romanian side FC Cluj each have three points after Roma’s 2-1

win.

”This shows Bayern Munich’s class, that they can score in the

deciding moment,” said Basel’s Streller, who had a second-half

header saved by Butt. ”I think they also would have been satisfied

with a draw.”

Huggel, whose penalty led to Bayern’s equalizer, had no

complaints.

”Mueller and I fought for the ball and we hacked legs at the

same time,” the Switzerland international said. ”Maybe it was my

foul, that I was too forceful with my leg. But it doesn’t help to

debate it because the referee blew the whistle.”

Basel coach Thorsten Fink, a Champions League winner as a player

with Bayern in 2001, was more disappointed.

”It wasn’t cleverness, it was luck for Bayern,” Fink said.

”The loss hurts a lot. We had good goal chances and the team

played well. The minimum of a draw would have been just.”