It may not count as one of Bayern Munich’s best performances but the Bavarians couldn’t care less as they beat Tigres 1-0 in an insipid final to clinch the FIFA Club World Cup Thursday. Benjamin Pavard’s 51st minute strike at the Education City Stadium was enough for the European champions to win their sixth title in nine months to complete an historic season under Hansi Flick. Bayern – who also hold UEFA Champions League, UEFA Super Cup, German Super Cup, Bundesliga and German Cup titles – have become only the second club after Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona in 2009 to win all six domestic and international titles in a season. In a cagey encounter, Bayern created all the opportunities but were far from their brilliant best, while Mexico’s Tigres were disciplined but never threatened to score all night. Bayern had a goal ruled out in the 18th minute after Joshua Kimmich’s brilliant strike was disallowed as Robert Lewandowski was deemed to be in offside position. Bayern initially had Pavard’s goal ruled out for offside on Lewandowski but VAR reversed the decision.
Qatar Olympic Committee President HE Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad al-Thani presents the Golden Ball trophy to Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski (left)Thursday.
“We really wanted to win today. The goal that we scored was probably from the first cross that came in. I said to the boys at half-time, come on, put a few more crosses in. They managed it once and that’s how we won, and that’s an amazing thing! It’s a shame that Thomas Muller wasn’t able to be here. We are flying back straight home to Munich, there is no time to celebrate,” said Lewandowski, who took home the Golden Ball trophy. After defender Jerome Boateng left the squad on the match eve due to personal reasons, Bayern were dealt a further blow just hours before the final with Thomas Muller testing positive for coronavirus. With two of them being involved in the semi-final win against Al Ahly, Flick was forced to make three changes with Marc Roca dropping to the bench. Bayern had enough quality in the bench though with Niklas Sule, Leroy Sane and Lucas Hernandez all coming in. Tigres, meanwhile, went into the game unchanged with coach Ricardo Ferretti keeping his faith in the XI which stunned Palmeiras in the semis. For Mexico’s Tigres, who had already made history by becoming the first CONCACAF team to reach the title clash of Club World Cup, their plan was simple: To counterattack Bayern. But Bayern, with world class quality all over the pitch, barely gave them a sniff. However, Bayern too lacked the finishing touch on the night with Kingsley Coman and Lewandowski spurning decent chances. In the 18th minute though, Kimmich looked like he had given the Germans the lead with his swerving strike finding the bottom corner. But with Tigres goalkeeper Nahuel Guzman claiming Lewandowski was in his line of sight in an offside position, referee Esteban Ostojich made a check in the pitch-side monitor with the Uruguayan ruling in Tigres’ favour. Bayern went close again in the 31st minute with Sane’s shot hitting the post, while Guzman also denied Alphonso Davies and Coman as it remained goalless at half-time. Post interval, Bayern were in business straight away with Sane miscuing a header while Gnabry fired just over. Six minutes into the second half though the deadlock was broken after Guzman parried a Lewandowski header but Pavard was unmarked to dispatch the rebound. Pavard’s celebration was short-lived after the linesman had his flag up but upon VAR the goal stood. Tigres attempted to come back into the game but they barely created any chances, with Bayern going close through substitutes Corentin Tolisso, Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting and Douglas Costa. Tigres finally conjured a chance in the 82nd minute but their star striker Andre-Pierre Gignac failed to connect a bicycle-kick as Bayern held to achieve a rare feat.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino presents the FIFA Club World Cup trophy to Bayern Munich captain Manuel Neuer after their win over Tigres UANL in the final at Education City Stadium yesterday.