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 eighth place, and coach Louis van Gaal acknowledged after the match that his club played poorly "for the first time this season."

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."

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.