BASEL, Switzerland, February 23 – Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeness watched his German giants crash to a shock Champions League defeat at FC Basel and then lashed out over criticism of Franck Ribery.
The French international was taken off by coach Jupp Heynckes with 20 minutes left in the 1-0 last 16 first leg defeat at the hands of the unheralded Swiss.
But Ribery refused to shake the hand of the Bayern coach as he trudged off.
“Why ask about a handshake when there is football to talk about?” Hoeness fumed at a reporter. “He was upset about being substituted, so what?”
Heynckes took a calmer approach and said a 2-0 win back at Munich next month in the return leg would rescue the situation.
“It’s an uncomfortable situation, but I have been in these situations before in my coaching career,” he said.
“The alarm bells are ringing, but we have a second leg and we can still correct this result. It’s certainly possible that we can beat Basel 2-0 at home.
“In these matches you need to make the most of your chances.
“We need to be calmer and more disciplined, but most of all we need a moment of success. We need to force our luck, but in terms of determination and attitude I can’t blame my team.”
Switzerland striker Valentin Stocker came off the bench to seal the famous victory for the underdogs in the 86th minute as the Swiss giantkillers added Bayern’s scalp to that of Manchester United.
Basel beat Sir Alex Ferguson’s United 2-1 in the group stages last December and boosted their chances ahead of the second leg at Munich’s Allianz Arena on March 13.
“We have beaten two of the best teams in the world here now — Manchester United, from who we took four points in total, and Bayern which is unbelievable for a Swiss team,” beamed Basel goalkeeper Yann Sommer.
“But we are a good side and we believe in ourselves so I don’t think Bayern under-estimated us.”
The defeat compounded Bayern’s flagging confidence and seriously dents their dreams of appearing in a final on home turf on May 19.
While Basel are flying high at the top of the Swiss league, Bayern have won just three of their last seven games and were held to a goalless draw at bottom side Freiburg last Saturday to leave them third in the Bundesliga.
Having pulled off several good saves to deny Basel until the late winner, Bayern’s Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer said his team have to fix their problems quickly.
“This is very upsetting, but I can’t say that it was undeserved,” said Neuer as Bayern face title rivals Schalke 04 in Munich on Sunday in the German league.
“We didn’t score a goal and had no big chances in the second half.
“We are in a very difficult position now and definitely thought that we could play a different kind of football at this stage of the season.”