Thailand dethrone holders Austria
The sixth FC Bayern Youth Cup ended with a surprise winner. The team from Thailand came out on top in Sunday's final tournament at the Allianz Arena in Munich, beating holders Austria 1-0 in the final to become the first Asian country to lift the trophy. Hosts Germany claimed third place with a 2-1 (after penalties) victory against Singapore. The new champions were honoured by World Cup winner and FC Bayern legend Hans Pflügler after the tournament.
The other participating teams from the USA, India and China, who didn't progress from the group stages to the semi-finals, can also feel like winners after a great tournament and travel back home with lots of positive experiences. Over the past five days the youngsters have overcome language barriers to make lots of new friendships, train and celebrate together.
From a sporting point of view, it was particularly pleasing to see the trend from recent years continue. That is, the gap between the performance levels of the European teams and the other participants is narrowing all the time, not least demonstrated by the new winners of the tournament from Thailand.
A particular highlight for the players was a personal meet & greet session with FCB stars David Alaba and Xabi Alonso on the day before they went to watch the final game of the season against Freiburg.
All seven teams played each other in a round-robin format in the final tournament, starting with a match between the holders and the team from China. Austria's 3-0 win in their opening game suggested they might be taking the trophy back with them again this year.
The third match was a meeting between two teams from the Far East as Thailand took on tournament debutants Singapore. The newcomers put in an impressive display in their first game but suffered a narrow 1-0 defeat.
After a total of 21 enthralling and exciting games, the four semi-finalists were decided: Thailand (15 points), Austria (13), Singapore (12) and Germany (10) were to battle it out to determine the two finalists. Having lost 1-0 to the hosts in the opening round, Thailand got revenge with a 1-0 victory to progress to the final.
Austria faced Singapore in the other semi-final, and this one also ended 1-0. The newcomers pushed the holders all the way in a high-quality game but just fell short. And so it came down to Austria and Thailand in the final, and it was Thailand who pulled off a deserved 1-0 win and brought the trophy back to Asia for the first time. After winning the tournament two years on the trot, Austria had to settle for second place.
Germany won the third place play-off after beating Singapore on penalties.
FC Bayern would like to thank their partners adidas, Bank Austria, the Sino-German Ecopark, Wangkanai and the Bundesliga for supporting this project.