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Bayern Munich vs Tigres preview: Five questions with a Mexican football expert

We chatted with an expert on Mexican football ahead of Bayern’s clash with Tigres in the CWC.

Palmeiras v Tigres UANL - FIFA Club World Cup Qatar 2020 Photo by Fadi El Assaad - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images

With Bayern Munich set to face Mexican giants Tigres in the Club World Cup, we thought it would be a good idea to ask our friends over at FMF State of Mind a few questions about the upcoming game. Charlie Assam was kind enough to answer our questions, and you can read his detailed assessments below:

1. What kind of a team are Tigres? If you had to compare their playstyle to a well known European team, who would it be?

Tigres are one of the 4 big teams in Mexican Football currently. They are undoubtedly the team of the 2010s decade and have secured that top-4 status with their proven consistency and good results. They are based in Monterrey, MX.

If I had to compare their playstyle to a well-known European team, I’d have to say they look a lot like Atlético de Madrid. I believe they are superior to every other team in the country, unlike Atlético (who are underneath Barca and Real Madrid), but Tuca Ferretti is well known for prioritizing defense, as they are constantly within the top-5 defenses in the league.

Real Madrid CF v Club Atletico de Madrid - La Liga
Bayern fans are, of course, very familiar with Atletico and their playstyle.
Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

Once they take a lead, they don’t blatantly throw every possible player back into their own box like Atlético do, but it is clear they intend to keep that lead and do mainly defend, looking to score on counter-attacks, in many occasions conceding game initiative to their rivals. Ferretti has been widely criticized for these sorts of decisions, to the point where it has cost Tigres many playoff series eliminations despite being favorites.

2. Who is the major danger-man on the Tigres side?

Tigres’ major danger-man is undoubtedly André-Pierre Gignac. Not only is the Frenchman the player with the most quality and skills on the entire squad, but his ability to come up big in clutch moments time and time again have cemented his status as Tigres’ leader and go-to player.

He has the ability to take the ball and create his own space, is a great passer, and can score in every imaginable way. He is the complete package. He has even come through again in the current Club WC, scoring all 3 of Tigres’ goals in the tournament thus far. He’s not afraid of the big moment and will capitalize if given the chance.

3. What’s the feeling around tie in the Mexican fanbase? How are Bayern Munich seen in Mexico?

Bayern Munich are regarded in Mexico as one of the top teams in the world and widely respected around the country, on the level of clubs such as Barcelona, Real Madrid, Manchester City, etc. Everyone is aware of their top-quality players and know how dominant they are.

The feeling in general about the match is one of recognizing Tigres are no doubt the clear and obvious underdogs, and should ultimately lose this match if normality prevails. However, I personally believe if there’s one Mexican club equipped to win this tournament, it’s Tigres and Tigres alone, as they have enough quality to be a thorn in anyone’s side, and more importantly are the most tactically ordered team in Mexico. That combine with their grit prevents us from ruling out the possibility of them becoming the first CONCACAF club to ever lift this trophy.

4. If there was one major weakness in the Tigres team, what would it be?

The one major weakness in Tigres as I see it is their offensive efficiency in the big games. While Gignac and this dangerous offense never lack play-creation or opportunities, it’s widely known that they’ve failed to respond on the offensive end in key situations. While their defense has held their own in important matches or playoff series, it’s the offense that has been known to cost the team in those moments. In other words, scoring goals and converting on those opportunities created.

5. What would this game mean for CONCACAF should Tigres win?

This game would of course mean something of unrecognized magnitudes and heights for Liga MX and the entire CONCACAF. While many media outlets, especially the ones based in Mexico City, have failed to recognize Tigres’ greatness and how they’ve managed to surpass pretty much every other team in the league, in large part due to envy, since many are supporters of the Mexico City-based teams, a win tomorrow would undoubtedly cement Tigres’ superiority and confirm what the media have been attempting to deny for the past half decade: Tigres will have taken over as the league’s undoubted best team, if they aren’t that already.

Thanks to Charlie Assam of FMF State of Mind for taking the time to answer our questions. Check out their site for overall coverage of Mexican football in general.

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