If Bayern Munich wants to remind everyone it has the best team in the world, the Bavarian giants are certainly going about it the right way.
As expected, Bayern made easy work of its opening match of FIFA’s Club World Cup, galloping past Chinese side Guangzhou Evergrande, the Marcello Lippi-coached champions of Asian, in Tuesday’s semifinal from Morocco.
Bayern now gets the winner from Wednesday’s semifinal, a matchup of South American champions Atletico Mineiro and the tournament host team, Raja Casablanca.
Remember, Pep Guardiola’s team is bidding for its fifth trophy of 2013, a truly outstanding and unprecedented accomplishment. The German heavyweight already has trophies in this calendar year from the Champions League, Bundesliga, German Cup and European Super Cup.
The reigning champs of Europe will probably face Mineiro, a Brazilian team that features former Barcelona attacker Ronaldinho in the tournament final. And the German team is not a bit likely to enjoy the kind of carefree afternoon seen Tuesday in North Africa.
Guangzhou had no answer for Bayern’s relentless press, never even beginning to gain a foothold on the match. No surprise, either, considering that Guardiola named a strong lineup, one featuring most of his regulars: Manuel Neuer, Rafinha, Daniel Van Buyten, Jerome Boateng, David Alaba, Franck Ribery, Thiago Alacantara, Philipp Lahm, Toni Kroos, Mario Gotze and Mario Mandzukic.
Ribery got the inevitable breakthrough in the 40th minute after Mandzukic (pictured from Tuesday) and Thiago Alcantara did a lot of the heavy lifting. Mandzukic put one in himself just before the half, and Gotze scored just after the teams returned, in the 47th minute.
Bayern did not stop pressing until the very end, continuing to assert its dominance ahead of this weekend’s final.
Guardiola’s team took 27 shots and put four of them off the crossbar or post.