Episode 8. Bayern Munich 1-0 Tigres UANL
FIFA Club World Cup Final
February 11, 2021
Education City Stadium, Al Rayyan
Lineup: Neuer — Pavard, Sule, Hernandez, Davies — Alaba, Kimmich — Sane (Musiala 73), Gnabry (Tolisso 64), Coman (Costa 73) — Lewandowski( Choupo-Moting 73)
Goalscorers: Pavard 59’/None
Bayern Munich had won every single competition they had competed in in 2020. Only one more trophy was up for grabs: the FIFA Club World Cup. Should Bayern win this trophy, they would complete a historic sextuple, and become one of the most successful sides in world football to date. With the way Hansi Flick’s side was playing at the time, very few people were doubting that they would have any trouble in winning the Club World Cup. Well, except for a loud minority that said South American champions Palmeiras “were coming”(In reality, they didn’t even make the podium).
But right after Bayern’s 1-0 win over Hertha Berlin in the Bundesliga, the team found themselves grounded at Berlin Brandenburg Airport during their departure to Qatar for the tournament, due to a combination of bad weather and curfew hours. As a result, the team had to spend the entire night on a plane and barely land in Qatar just a day before their opening game against African champions Al Ahly. What’s more, Bayern faced extra trouble when they lost Jerome Boateng and Thomas Muller for personal reasons and COVID-19, respectively. What would become of the both physically and mentally depleted team?
Thankfully, the Bavarians made short work of Al Ahly as a Robert Lewandowski brace saw them go through to the final with a 2-0 win. North American champions Tigres awaited them, having sent Palmeiras to the third-place playoff. They were going to be more than a match for Bayern, who now faced a do-or-die matchup between history and failure.
Although Tigres started strong, Bayern soon took control and had the ball in the back of the net via Joshua Kimmich, whose long range effort arrowed into the bottom corner. However, Lewandowski was judged to have unsighted the goalkeeper from an offside position, and the goal was ruled out, albeit questionably. Leroy Sane then hit the upright after a swift corner from Serge Gnabry, but the teams ultimately went into halftime goalless.
Just before the hour mark, a Kimmich cross was met by Lewandowski, whose subsequent collision with the keeper caused the ball to fall to Benjamin Pavard, who tapped in from close range. The goal was ruled offside first, but VAR deemed that Lewandowski was onside this time, and Bayern had the breakthrough.
Nothing of much importance happened after the goal, with Bayern going close through chances from Corentin Tolisso and Douglas Costa, while Tigres gave Bayern a scare when a cross was nearly met by their top scorer Andre-Pierre Gignac. But no more goals were to come for the rest of the game, Bayern held on well for the remaining thirty or so minutes, and the referee blew his whistle for full time. Bayern Munich, champions of Europe, were now champions of the world.
Why was this match special?
This title was made even sweeter due to the fact that the team had overcome all of the aforementioned challenges that worried so many fans. Full credit to the team, they did not let those setbacks hold them back, and they deservedly won the title and showered themselves in glory. When there’s a will, there’s a way, truer words have never been spoken.
Also, just one word: sextuple. That is all.
Bayern thus became only the second team in football history to win every single trophy up for grabs in the space of a year, after FC Barcelona in 2009. By doing so, they officially earned the title of ‘best team in the world,’ and added yet another trophy to their already bulging cabinet. On a smaller yet still important note, they also ensured that they would be wearing a shiny gold badge on their chests for the remainder of the year.
Although Lewandowski failed to finish as top scorer, he did win the Golden Ball of the tournament after delivering two good performances in Bayern’s two games, and being named Man of the Match in the semifinal. Kimmich was rewarded with the Bronze Ball along with the Man of the Match award in the final.
Bayern did falter slightly in their next two Bundesliga games due to the aggregate fatigue suffered during the Club World Cup. However, they soon got back to winning ways, and continued their successful season.