Bayern Munich edged out Al Ahly in the battle of the treble winners in Qatar, as a double from Robert Lewandowski (shock horror) sent the European champions into the final of the FIFA Club World Cup on Monday.
The German side had their work cut out for them against the Egyptian champions who dominated African football in 2020, but a controlled first half set the tone for Hansi Flick’s team, who went ahead when Lewandowski took a cut-back from Serge Gnabry, and calmly passed the ball beyond Mohamed El-Shenawy.
Al Ahly made it more of a contest after the break but struggled to meaningfully test Manuel Neuer in the Bayern goal. As the game wore off, they were picked apart more and more at the back, and they were finally undone for good when substitute Leroy Sane found Lewandowski at the back post with a wonderful driven cross.
It’s Bayern heading to face Tigres in the final on Thursday, and here are your player ratings!
Manuel Neuer (GK) – 5/10 – His frequent strolls out towards the halfway line added some spice to a first half that was otherwise fairly bland. Not exaggerating to say he might not actually have touched the ball in the second period.
Benjamin Pavard (RB) – 6/10 – Solid defensively and crisp in his distribution. Asked questions with a couple of searching crosses from deep.
Jerome Boateng (CB) – 7/10 – Marshalled the back line well to ensure Al Ahly had little joy on the break. Composure on the ball got Bayern out of one or two potentially hairy situations.
David Alaba (CB) – 7/10 – His passing through the lines a big part of Bayern’s game and he got forward as a second left-back at times.
Alphonso Davies (LB) – 5/10 – Looked a little unsure of himself in his defending and decision-making but tirelessly scaled the left flank. Granted that’s much easier when you’re quicker than the average Harley Davidson.
Joshua Kimmich (CM) – 7/10 – Played as the more advanced of the two holding midfielders and his charges into the final third posed a few serious problems for the Al Ahly back line. Direct in his passing which proved to be unsettling for the Egyptians, even if his aim was off on a few occasions.
Marc Roca (CM) – 6/10 – Fairly busy in midfield and played a big part in Bayern taking control of possession. Safe with his passing though which often held play up unnecessarily.
Thomas Muller (CAM) – 5/10 – You know you’ve had an anonymous game when you’re being replaced by Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting for the final half hour.
Kingsley Coman (RW) – 8/10 – Al Ahly genuinely did not have a clue what to do with his unpredictable movement off the right flank. Constantly wanted the ball, knew where to be to get it, and exploded past his opposing number more times than anyone could reasonably be expected to count.
Robert Lewandowski (CF) – 8/10 – Never in doubt to net his 28th of the season when Gnabry found him in a yard of space. Never in doubt to net his 29th of the season when Sane’s cross found him at the back post.
Serge Gnabry (LW) – 6/10 – Quick thinking and selfless play to put the first goal on a plate for Lewandowski. Otherwise reasonably quiet before sitting out the final half hour.
Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting (Muller, 60) – 6/10 – Didn’t do much, but his name can be sung in time with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles theme, so that’s nice.
Leroy Sane (Gnabry, 60) – 7/10 – Made his presence felt as he injected some vibrancy into the Bayern attack. Set up the second goal with a brilliant cross on his weaker foot.
Corentin Tolisso (Roca, 68) – 6/10 – Conservative change as he offered some composure and control to the Bayern engine room for the final 20 minutes.
Jamal Musiala (Coman, 77) – 5/10 – A big song and dance was made of the fact the 17-year-old could go to the Euros with either England or Germany this summer. One thing at a time, lads…
Sule (Boateng, 77) – N/A