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Basel struck a late winner to stun Bayern Munich at St. Jakob-Park on Wednesday, scoring a narrow victory to hold a 1-0 aggregate lead going into the second leg of the tie. In a game that entertained at first before fizzling out, Valentin Stocker came off the bench to score a crucial goal that now sets the tie up well, with Basel a draw away from clinching one of the eight quarterfinal berths in the UEFA Champions League.
Basel started in a 4-4-2 formation, playing Alexander Frei and Marco Streller in tandem in attack. Fabian Frei and Bayern bound Xherdan Shaqiri were deployed on the wings, with Granit Xhaka and Huggel holding fort in the centre of midfield. David Abraham and Alexsandar Dragovic formed the last line of defence in front of keeper Yann Sommer, with Markus Steinhofer and Joo-Ho Park starting as fullbacks.
Mario Gomez led the line for the visiting Bayern side, with Arjen Robben, Toni Kroos and Franck Ribery forming the trio behind the frontman. David Alaba and Anatoliy Tymoshchuk formed the central midfield pairing, while Jerome Boateng and Holger Badstuber played in tandem at the back with Rafinha and German captain Philipp Lahm for company.
Gomez had an early chance with less than two minutes on the clock as a threaded pass from Ribery found the striker. He was forced to move away from goal by the onrushing Basel keeper Yann Sommer, eventually seeing the chance to score go by. Seconds later Ribery had a strike parried away by the keeper, the rebound falling to him again. The French winger had another bite of the cherry, Sommer this time holding onto the ball with the save.
Basel slowly started playing with confidence after a rough start, and almost conned the referee into awarding a penalty when Streller quite cynically dived inside the Bayern box in the ninth minute. Shaqiri, who is set to join Bayern in the summer, had space inside the box soon afterwards only to be denied by a last-ditch tackle by Boateng, while Streller almost beat Manuel Neuer with a lob from Steinhofer's cross, the German keeper doing well to make a reflex save.
From the resulting corner Dragovic saw his header hit the inside of the near post and roll along the face of goal before being cleared by Badstuber. Lady luck was clearly on the visitors' side, as Alexander Frei smacked a shot a couple of minutes later that again bounced off the woodwork, the hosts unlucky not to be leading by then after an enterprising opening.
Streller was left in acres of space by the struggling Bayern defence who needed their keeper to come up big again, Neuer parrying away the striker's shot on goal. At the other end Robben shifted in from the right wing before squaring a pass for Alaba, the midfielder's strike held onto well by Sommer.
The pace died down from there on, as both teams went into the break on level terms after a breathtaking opening first period.
Fabian Frei was put through on goal six minutes after the restart, only to be denied by Badstuber's smart defensive challenge. Lahm had a strike of his own after cutting inside from the left flank on 68 minutes, Sommer doing well to turn the ball around the post and out for a corner. The keeper was required again four minutes later when Gomez was played through on goal, blocking the striker's attempt.
With time running out, it seemed that neither team would score, but the hosts managed to clinch the winner, the goal coming after manager Heiko Vogel's decision to substitute Shaqiri payed rich and immediate dividends. His replacement Jacques Zoua played a brilliant diagonal pass through the Bayern defence that found fellow substitute Stocker free at the back post, the young striker finishing past Neuer much to delight of the home crowd at St. Jakob-Park.
Bayern did not have enough time to mount a proper comeback, as Basel celebrated a surprise win against Bayern and moved one step closer to unprecedented Champions League success and a quarter-final spot.
FC Basel (4-4-2) - Sommer, Steinhofer, Abraham, Dragovic, Park, Shaqiri (Zoua 83'), Huggel, Xhaka, Fabian Frei (Stocker 66'), Alexander Frei (Cabral 90'), Streller
Bayern Munich (4-5-1) - Neuer, Rafinha, Boateng, Badstuber, Lahm, Tymoschuk, Alaba, Robben, Kroos (Olic 89'), Ribery (Muller 71'), Gomez
Final Scoreline: FC Basel 1 - 0 Bayern Munich (Stocker 86')
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