Football Features

Bayern’s phenomenal persistence sees them grind their way to being world champions with 1-0 win over Tigres

By Muhammad Butt

Published: 20:13, 11 February 2021 | Updated: 19:50, 10 September 2021

In a tightly-fought evening of football, Bayern Munich beat Tigres 1-0 to become World Champions.

Bayern made it eight straight European wins in the Club World Cup by dispatching the Mexican side with a fair amount of ease. Not that this was a steamrollering like many had predicted, with Bayern unleashing their attacking juggernaut on the relative minnows of Tigres, but it wasn’t exactly a thrilling contest between two even sides.

Bayern won the Champions League last season by, for the most part, annihilating opponents with relentless attacking football. They would defend suicidally high, leave tonnes of space in behind, and just overwhelm opponents with their quality no matter how many chances they would give up in defence.

Of course in the final itself PSG really should have caught them out with a rugged defensive display augmented by incredible counter-attacks from Neymar and Kylian Mbappé, but PSG’s star men let them down, each missing two easy chances to score. Then Bayern won it late through a Kingsley Coman header.

That game was an hint at this other side of Bayern Munich. This side of them you wouldn’t expect such a powerful attacking side to possess because they’re so used to rolling teams over. A patient, persistent side. And it’s that side that they used to beat Tigres and become world champions for a fourth time.

While the Mexicans didn’t put up a legendary spoiler-y counter-attacking performance like Corinthians managed in 2012 or Internacional did in 2006, they didn’t roll over and in fact repelled Bayern quite nicely considering the gap in quality.

Yes they got lucky that Joshua Kimmich’s first-half strike was ruled out for offside (the decision made sense as Lewandowski was interfering, but it was a surprise the referee made the call because it was a strange situation and the referees didn’t side with the bigger team) but in general they were so organised and made Bayern’s high-powered forwards look quite ordinary.

Nahuel Guzman wasn’t peppered with shots all game long, he didn’t need to pull out a miracle display. In fact he wasn’t really troubled beyond a couple of incidents, which is probably just as well because the few times he was tested he made a mess of things.

His communication mishap with Carlos Salcedo was amusing, as Guzman raced back to his line and calmly plucked the ball off the pitch before it went in, but it showed a shaky side to him and that shaky side is how Bayern won the trophy.

A simple cross came in for Robert Lewandowski and Guzman made the decision to come off his line which, good, but then he did so with a pathetic Peter-Shilton-against-Maradona-esque old man jump where he barely got off the ground and in the end just knocked the ball straight back down to Benjamin Pavard who was left with a tap-in to, essentially, win the game.

Alright there was half an hour to go, but Bayern had already proven they were the dominant side and handled Tigres easily. With a goal advantage they were always likely to win and frankly it’s only a surprise they didn’t score again, especially when Hansi Flick made a smart sub and took off his famous front three to bring on their back-ups who, while not as good, had much more energy and caused Tigres more problems than the starters did.

Ultimately, though, Bayern won and won comfortably. 1-0 doesn’t tell the story, even if it does reflect just how little the Germans actually managed to create. Still, they had enough to win because of this phenomenal persistence in their game where they just keep on coming. And so now they become the second-ever side to hold six major trophies at the same time after Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona won six in a single year back in 2009. A decade on, and Bayern have (sort of) replicated that incredible achievement.

Bayern’s win may not have been with the same ferocity as when they’re at their best, but it was so remarkably consistent that it proved too much for most every opponent they came across. Tigres were no exception. Bayern Munich are world champions, and given their relentlessness, they aren’t going to want to stop here. Get ready, folks, this could only be the beginning.