ZURICH, Switzerland, August 22 – Bayern Munich vice-captain Bastian Schweinsteiger says his side must be on their guard at FC Zurich in Tuesday’s Champions League play-off return match, despite holding a first-leg lead.
The Germany midfielder netted Bayern’s first goal in last Wednesday’s 2-0 victory at Munich’s Allianz Arena in the first leg as the hosts dominated their Swiss rivals with a place in the main Champions League draw at stake.
After Schweinsteiger’s goal calmed early nerves, a combination of missed chances and good saves from Zurich goalkeeper Johnny Leoni stopped the Bavarian giants from increasing their lead until Arjen Robben added a late second.
Zurich lost 2-0 at home to Swiss Super League strugglers Neuchatel Xamax on Saturday, while Bayern warmed up for the trip to the Letzigrund stadium with a 5-0 hammering of Hamburg in the German league.
But Schweinsteiger is demanding full concentration from his team as they look to finish the job.
“We still need to survive in Zurich,” he said. “We know what can happen if we go one behind over there and the crowd gets on our back, so we need to be careful and make sure we’re fully focused.
“It’s not going to be easy in Zurich and we can’t afford to relax. But I’m an optimist and Bayern belong in the Champions League.”
Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes should be able to name a near full-strength side, although Croatia striker Ivica Olic has been ruled out.
The 31-year-old came off the bench and scored Bayern’s final goal against Hamburg, but was diagnosed with a partial tear of the right hip flexor on Sunday and misses the trip to Zurich.
He is expected to be out for up to two months having only recently got back to full fitness after knee surgery last November for cartilage damage and only returned to team training in July.
Bayern stars Mario Gomez and Arjen Robben, who both scored in the rout of Hamburg, are expected to play despite picking up knocks.
Zurich defender Mathieu Beda, who was sent off for a second yellow card in Munich, said his side must keep their belief.
“There’s always a chance,” said the Frenchman, who sat out the defeat to Neuchatel with a knock from the Munich match.
“We’re playing at home in front of our own fans and if we approach the game with confidence, then we can still achieve something with the quality we have.
“We’re at our best when we get forward quickly and combine, but unfortunately we were unable to show that in the first leg and we’ll have to improve that for the second.”