The knockout round of this year's Champions League began last Tuesday night, and the Bundesliga's Bayern Munich enters this week with a score to settle.
At this time last year, the knockout round provided some of the biggest drama of the entire tournament and the German giants were no exception, losing to Inter Milan on penalty kicks after the second leg brought the aggregate score to a draw.
This year, Bayern looks even stronger, finishing top of a group that included Napoli and Manchester City.
City had to bow out of the tournament due to some pretty underwhelming performances in the group stage. But before doing that, the best team in England's Premier League exposed one of Bayern Munich's biggest flaws, and the most likely reason opponents FC Basel might be able to squeak out an upset—their inability to defend against a wide-open, attack-first style of play.
In the last match of the group stage, manager Roberto Mancini let his team play fast and loose. Manchester City attacked early and often, showing that Munich's defense is susceptible to this kind of tactic.
Against their English opponents, center back Holger Badstuber was slow and bumbling when marking the speedy Sergio Aguero. Rafinha was beaten time and time again by David Silva along the right sideline. Anatoliy Tymoshchuk was gassed trying to hold down opposing midfielders. And Nils Peterson couldn't lead an attacking possession to save his life.
With FC Basel as their next opponents, look for the Swiss club to continue it's wide-open ways. Of the 16 teams in the knockout round, no club had more goals scored against them (11) than FC Basel.
That shows a couple of things—a deficiency on defense, for one—but it also shows that FC Basel can win the "we'll score one more than you" game.
Bayern Munich likes to build leads early and sit on them. If FC Basel can get up on them and continue to apply pressure, it might be all over for the German champions.
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