Bayern Munich have won more trophies (six) then they have lost games (five) since Hansi Flick became their coach. But there is little time to celebrate the latest silverware from the Club World Cup as a relentless season continues.
Munich (dpa) – Bayern Munich returned home on Friday with the Club World Cup trophy for a sixth title in a row but there were also some disturbances around the week-long trip to Qatar.
Player and officials had no flight delay this time around after the team got stuck at Berlin airport overnight after not being allowed to take off for Doha after midnight a week ago, prompting a sharp reaction from chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge which then led to criticism on Bayern.
Rummenigge’s mid-week statements that footballers should perhaps have access to coronavirus vaccination to encourage those reluctant to get the jab also drew a fierce backlash.
The virus was very prominent with Leon Goretzka and Javi Martinez not part of the squad after testing positive, and forward Thomas Mueller then missing the final after also testing positive for the Sars-CoV-2 virus in Qatar.
But Bayern were undeterred and overcame the absence of Mueller, and of Jerome Boateng who returned to Germany Wednesday for personal reasons, to beat Mexico’s Tigres UANL 1-0 on Thursday from Benjamin Pavard’s winner and lift the trophy.
It was the remarkable conclusion of a period in which they won six trophies and only lost five games from the 68 played since Hansi Flick took over as coach in November 2019.
The Barcelona class of 2008-09 with coach Pep Guardiola and a then much younger Lionel Messi are the only other team to win the league, domestic cup, Champions League, domestic and European Super Cup, and the Club World Cup in one season.
Guardiola, who coached Bayern 2013-2016 and won no international silverware with them before moving on to Manchester City, was among those to congratulate them.
“Big congratulations to the whole Bayern family for this incredible success,” Guardiola said in a video on social media.
He also quipped: “Maybe I can call Messi and company and we can play for the seventh title. Tell me when and where, and we will be there.”
Flick said “Congratulations to my team, they’ve achieved something historic,” and star striker Robert Lewandowski delighted in the “six-pack” of trophies he named “a great story for Bayern and the whole of football.”
Flick gave his players Friday and Saturday off but in a relentless schedule the league leaders face a Monday night Bundesliga match in probably freezing conditions at lowly Arminia Bielefeld, and their Champions League last 16 tie with Italy’s Lazio is also less than two weeks away.
“The game was at the limit for all of us, for me as well on the touchline,” Flick said.
Mueller will miss the Bielefeld match, most likely also their date at in-form Eintracht Frankfurt next week Saturday, and possibly also the Lazio game another three days later.
The same should apply to fellow forward Serge Gnabry who picked up a thigh injury Thursday and is out “for the time being,” according to a Bayern statement Friday.
“I hope he is back quickly,” World Footballer of the Year Lewandowski said of the influential Mueller.
Goretzka and Martinez are meanwhile expected back by Flick who despite all his modesty also knew full well what he has achieved in his 15 months in charge.
“This is certainly also the best season which the successful Bayern Munich has ever played,” Flick said.