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Bayern thrilled with dream end to year

The stars were still out on the pitch at the Marrakech Stadium, waiting for the official trophy presentation, when Pep Guardiola made a full round of his players, shaking each one by the hand and embracing every member of the team that had made history over the previous 90 minutes. FCB’s 2–0 victory over Moroccan champions Raja Casablanca earned the Reds the FIFA Club World Cup, the crowning glory of the most successful year in the Bavarians’ history.

“We’re 113 years old, and it’s taken those 113 years before we’ve had all these trophies standing in front of us,” Karl-Heinz Rummenigge proudly declared in his speech to the traditional post-match banquet. The chairman was flanked by all five trophies collected in a ground-breaking 2013 for Germany’s biggest club. “You can’t beat what the team has delivered this year. They’ve fulfilled everything we asked of them. Magnificent! Many, many thanks. It’s been a truly moving year,” Rummenigge continued.

Club president Uli Hoeneß was equally proud of Bayern’s third intercontinental trophy after previous successes in 1976 and 2001. “We’re the best club in the world at the present time, and I’m proud to be president of this club,” the former striker told the 200-strong audience, including German FA (DFB) president Wolfgang Niersbach: “This passion, this togetherness, the way you so clearly enjoy your football, have together made an unbelievable contribution to our club climbing right to the top.“

Precisely 37 years to the day since Munich’s first Intercontinental Cup triumph against Brazilian outfit Belo Horizonte, there was a typically footballing twist when Brazilian Dante silenced the boisterous 37,774 crowd with the seventh-minute opener for the Europeans. Thiago scored his first goal for the club to double the advantage midway through the half, “and the game was over,” as captain Philipp Lahm noted after the final whistle. There was simply too great a gulf in class between the UEFA Champions League winners and the hosts, the surprise package of the tournament in any case and not among the continental champions who otherwise made up the starting field.

Uniquely successful

“My players knew they’d have to give everything to win this tournament,” advised Guardiola, who previously won the Club World Cup as a coach with Barcelona in 2009 and 2011. “Five trophies in a year is a magnificent success for Bayern. I’m delighted for the club and very proud of the players and the fans,” declared the Spaniard, explicitly praising the 2,000 travelling fans who gave the eventual champions such tremendous support.

“Being able to add another trophy, especially this one, at the end of the year is amazing,” summarised Lahm. “You don’t contest the Club World Cup every year. We’ve won the title, our fifth of the year, and basically that’s impossible to beat.“ Thomas Müller was just as enthusiastic about a historic 12 month period: “It’s a fairytale ending, the well-earned reward for the excellent year we’ve had. It's nearly impossible to play at the level we’ve done in this calendar year.“

Deserved break

In his speech to the banquet Rummenigge heaped praise on Guardiola and Jupp Heynckes, the two head coaches who were the architects of the marquee triumphs. “We’ve been incredibly lucky to have two coaches who’ve not only done a fantastic job but are also fantastic people,” said the chairman. Heynckes guided FCB to the prestigious treble of the Bundesliga, DFB Cup and Champions League last season, and Guardiola’s first six months have yielded the UEFA Super Cup and the Club World Cup.

“We’ve achieved everything we set out to achieve this year and that’s fantastic,” summarised keeper Manuel Neuer, describing the final official overseas trip of the year as “a terrific experience.” The players, coaching staff and management at the club can now set off into what is a truly well-deserved holiday break in upbeat and satisfied mood. “I’m certainly pleased we go on vacation now,” acknowledged Lahm, looking forward to “a few relaxing days. I think we’ve all deserved it.“