- Bayern aim for second Club World Cup title
- Semi-final on February 8, 2020 against Al Ahly or Al Duhail SC
- Interview with Bayern captain Manuel Neuer
On December 21, 2013, Bayern Munich won the FIFA Club World Cup for the first time in its history. Opposed in the final to Raja de Casablanca, the Germans won 2-0 thanks to two goals from Dante and Thiago, two players who have since left Bavaria.
Seven years later, the most successful club in the Bundesliga are hoping to ascend the throne again. Four veterans of the 2013 edition are still in Bayern’s squad: Manuel Neuer, David Alaba, Jérôme Boateng and Thomas Müller.
A few days before the start of the competition, FIFA.com met with the international goalkeeper to discuss his ambitions for the tournament, hosted by the host country of the 2022 FIFA World Cup ™.
Manuel Neuer, are you looking forward to playing in the FIFA Club World Cup?
Indeed, it is a prospect that delights me, especially since I have already had the chance to participate in this competition, and to win it. The final had taken place just before Christmas. It was a great way to end the year. Today we have the opportunity to play two matches in Qatar. We are all very motivated to win a sixth title.
What memories do you keep of the 2013 edition?
We won, so it was a positive experience. However, we did not have the easy part. The matches were close and we had to fight hard to win, especially in the final. I remember we were relieved after the game. We had a great time together.
In 2020 as in 2013, you won the UEFA Champions League. What does success represent in this competition?
Frankly, we have been living a daydream. We have experienced extraordinary things in Lisbon, both within the group and at club level. Due to the pandemic, the format of the competition has been changed significantly, which makes our victory even more special. It brought us together. We felt very strong emotions, even those of us who had already beaten Dortmund at Wembley. We dared not hope to relive such moments one day.
In December, you were voted The Best – FIFA Goalkeeper. What does this award represent?
For me, this is quite an exceptional thing, especially at 34 years old. It doesn’t happen every day. A goalkeeper always depends on his teammates and coaches to reach the highest level. I would therefore like to express my gratitude to all my partners, who allowed me to win this title.
In the semi-finals of the Club World Cup, you will face Al Duhail SC (Qatar) or Al Ahly (Egypt). What do you know about these teams?
For now, we remain focused on the Bundesliga. We will prepare for this match in due course. Al Ahly is a familiar adversary. This team won the Champions League so I expect a tough meeting. Al Ahly was already present in 2013. It’s never easy to find yourself facing a team that you don’t know well.
The matches will take place in the stadiums of the 2022 World Cup. Is this an added attraction?
In any case, it’s a first contact with the World Cup. We will discover the stadiums and we will be able to share this experience with our respective national teams. I hope we can paint a positive picture.
More generally, what do you know about Qatar, knowing that Bayern has already had the opportunity to organize internships in this country in the past?
The sites and the equipment are of high quality. And trips between hotels and training grounds are very short. It allows you to focus on football.