Hansi Flick announced on Saturday that he intends to step down as Bayern Munich boss at the end of the campaign, bringing an end to an illustrious spell in charge of the club.

The 56-year-old succeeded Niko Kovac in November 2019, having previously worked as assistant, and has led the German giants to six major trophies in that time.

Bayern won the Bundesliga, DFB-Pokal and Champions League in 2019-20 and have followed that up with the DFL-Supercup, UEFA Supercup and Club World Cup this season.

Another Bundesliga crown could follow with Bayern seven points clear at the top with five games to go, which would be a fitting way to bring down the curtain on Flick's tenure.

Using Opta data, we look at the extraordinary numbers behind Flick's spell in charge and the players who have played a key part in Bayern's recent success.


AS MANY TROPHIES AS DEFEATS

Flick's shock revelation that he hopes to have his contract terminated came on the back of Bayern's 3-2 win at Wolfsburg on Saturday.

That was the German's 81st game in charge in all competitions, comprised of 67 victories, eight draws and six losses.

Incredibly, that means Flick has won as many trophies - six - as he has suffered defeats in his 17-month tenure. That also equates to one trophy every 14 matches.

NUMEROUS RECORDS SET

Bayern were as dominant as any club in European history en route to winning a treble last season, form that they would carry into the 2020-21 campaign.

The Bavarian giants won 23 matches in a row in all competitions between February 16, 2020 and September 18 that year - a record in German professional football.

With their victory over Paris Saint-Germain in the final, meanwhile, they became the first side in European/Champions League history to lift the trophy with a 100-per-cent win record.


BUT FLICK TRAILS GUARDIOLA

Flick's 83-per-cent win rate is another record among Bayern bosses, as is the average of 3.0 goals per game his side have scored under his watch.

However, the former Germany assistant trails one of his predecessors in Pep Guardiola when it comes to points per game accrued in the Bundesliga.

Guardiola collected 2.52 points per game across his 102 matches, whereas Flick is currently on 2.49 after 53 matches, though that could change before he eventually departs.

LEWA LEADS THE WAY

In the Bundesliga alone, Manuel Neuer has played more games for Bayern (52) than anyone else since Flick initially took charge on an interim basis on November 3, 2019.

Thomas Muller and David Alaba, the latter of whom will also depart the Allianz Arena in June, are next on the list with 50 league appearances.

Robert Lewandowski is next with 46 outings and the striker has been Bayern's top performer over that period in terms of goal involvements.

The Poland international has a combined 65 goals and assists, followed by Muller with 52 and Serge Gnabry with 27.

Lewandowski has 55 Bundesliga goals in total under Flick, while Muller leads the assists metric with 34, 20 more than next-best Joshua Kimmich.

Serge Gnabry is set for a spell on the sidelines after suffering a muscle tear in his left thigh, Bayern Munich have confirmed.

Germany international Gnabry was taken off in the 64th minute of Bayern's 1-0 Club World Cup final victory over Tigres UANL on Thursday.

No time frame for the 25-year-old's return was provided by the Bundesliga champions, who are already without Thomas Muller after he tested positive for coronavirus in Qatar.

An official club statement read: "For the time being, Bayern will have to do without Serge Gnabry.

"The attacker suffered a muscle tear in his left thigh in yesterday's Club World Cup final against Tigres. This was the result of an examination by the medical department of Bayern."

After winning the Club World Cup, Bayern return to Bundesliga action at home to Arminia Bielefeld on Monday.

They take on Lazio in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie on February 23 and face Borussia Dortmund in Der Klassiker on March 6.

Gnabry has scored six goals and supplied two assists in 28 appearances in all competitions for Bayern this season.

Robert Lewandowski (106) is the only Bayern player to have had more efforts on goal than Gnabry (63) this season, but his shot conversion rate of 9.5 per cent is one of the worst in the squad.

Among players for the Bavarian giants to have attempted at least 20 shots, Corentin Tolisso (8.3 per cent) is the only player with a worse shot conversion rate than Gnabry.

Robert Lewandowski claimed Bayern Munich's sextuple success is special not only for the Bundesliga giants but football around the globe.

Bayern scraped past CONCACAF champions Tigres UANL 1-0 in Qatar on Thursday to clinch their second Club World Cup title.

It marked the sixth trophy Bayern have won in Hansi Flick's tenure, with that list also including last season's Bundesliga, DFB-Pokal and Champions League and this term's UEFA Super Cup and DFL-Supercup.

Lewandowski, who scooped The Best FIFA Men's Player award for 2020, has been integral and played a key part in Bayern's win over Tigres as he forced Nahuel Guzman to flap at a cross, allowing Benjamin Pavard to lash in the decisive goal.

"The six-pack is something special, a great story – not only for Bayern Munich, for all of football," Lewandowski told reporters.

"The way we played, that will stay for a long, long time."

Bayern are the first team since Pep Guardiola's Barcelona, in 2009, to complete a clean sweep of every trophy on offer.

"Congratulations to my team, they have achieved something historic with their sixth title," Flick said.

"This is also the best season for the successful Bayern. There was a lot of unrest in the last few days but they still played outstandingly well.

"We are all very, very proud of the team. It is outstanding what they have achieved."

Bayern had to overcome Tigres without a handful of key players; Javi Martinez and Leon Goretzka did not travel to Qatar as they recover from COVID-19, with Thomas Muller then returning a positive result, while Jerome Boateng has had to return to Germany for personal reasons.

Their performance was unconvincing at times, but they ultimately had the quality to get through, with Tigres only managing one attempt on target and failing to muster a single effort after half-time.

Joshua Kimmich turned in another star performance in the centre of the park, having a stunning goal harshly disallowed and creating a game-high four chances, but the Germany maestro regretted that Muller – who is isolating – was unable to take part.

 "It was bitter for Thomas Muller that he wasn't there," Kimmich said. "We also got the win for him and all the others who couldn't be with us."

Bayern Munich completed a year of dominance by collecting the Club World Cup on Thursday, beating Tigres UANL 1-0 in the final.

Victory in Qatar, courtesy of Benjamin Pavard's scrappy second-half goal, clinched a sixth trophy in under 12 months.

Bayern started a 23-match winning run in all competitions this time last year, winning the Bundesliga, DFB Pokal, Champions League and UEFA Super Cup in this time.

They added the DFL-Supercup immediately after seeing that streak ended in September, then completed the set by beating Tigres.

Hansi Flick's side went one better than Bayern's 2013 team, who collected five titles - losing to Borussia Dortmund in the domestic Supercup.

The Bavarian giants were dominant last season and have continued to collect results this term, led by a star-studded cast, as we can see with Opta data.
 

FLICK'S MEN ALMOST FLAWLESS

Going back 12 months to the start of that remarkable winning stretch, Bayern have played 53 matches in all competitions, winning 46 of them.

In fact, they lost games just twice in the last year, to Hoffenheim 4-1 and Borussia Monchengladbach 3-2, both in the Bundesliga, although there was also a penalty shootout defeat to Holstein Kiel that ensured they will not defend their Pokal crown this season.

While dominating, Bayern have mainly been a great watch, scoring 157 goals (2.96 per game) and conceding 51 (0.96 per game). Indeed, those 53 games yielded only 21 Bayern clean sheets.

The standout results were obvious, scoring eight in games against both Barcelona and Schalke, but they also netted six versus Hoffenheim and Salzburg, plus five in clashes with Eintracht Frankfurt (twice), Fortuna Dusseldorf and Mainz.
 

OLD GUARD THE STANDOUT STARS

Bayern have a wealth of exciting young talents, but they relied heavily on their experienced campaigners over this glorious stretch.

Thomas Muller (51), Manuel Neuer (50) and David Alaba (48) led Bayern in appearances over the past year. Neuer was named in the starting XI on the most occasions - every time he played.

Robert Lewandowski has been unsurprisingly the leading marksman with his 49 goals in 45 games, but Joshua Kimmich came to the fore in terms of assists, his 23 - along with nine goals - coming from 43 matches.

Kimmich had one more assist than Muller, despite the forward creating 141 chances to his team-mate's 108.

With Neuer playing all but three of the 53 matches, he accounted for 20 of Bayern's 21 clean sheets - Alexander Nubel earned the other - and made 139 saves.

Niklas Sule, at 91.9 per cent of 1,656, was the most accurate passer to start a game, although he trailed the team's most prominent passers by some distance; Alaba played 3,743 at 88.2 per cent accuracy.

Alaba (4,210) also led the way in terms of touches ahead of Kimmich (4,089), who was beaten in terms of tackles by the slightly surprising figure of Serge Gnabry (76).

For 12 months, Bayern Munich have won and won again.

This time a year ago, Bayern were just a point clear at the top of the Bundesliga with the knockout stages of the Champions League still to negotiate.

But an outstanding, record-breaking 23-match winning run – the longest by a German club since the formation of the Bundesliga – took in four titles: the league, the DFB-Pokal, a sixth European crown and the UEFA Super Cup.

Since the conclusion of that remarkable stretch, which started on February 16 and ended with defeat on September 27, Bayern have added the DFL-Supercup, three days after the Hoffenheim loss, and now, with victory over Tigres UANL on Thursday, the FIFA Club World Cup.

Hansi Flick's side have bettered the efforts of their class of 2013, who won a meagre five trophies, losing Pep Guardiola's first game in charge to Borussia Dortmund in the domestic Supercup.

Indeed, this Bayern team, beaten 5-1 at Eintracht Frankfurt last season prior to Flick's appointment, have set a standard never previously seen in German football.

Champions of Germany, of Europe and on top of the world, the challenge now is to stay there.

David Alaba would appear set to leave and there is uncertainty, too, surrounding Flick, while the team have not evolved on the pitch.

It has been easy, of course, for Flick to set his side out to do the same again, having swept past Tottenham, Chelsea, Barcelona and Lyon before edging Paris Saint-Germain in last season's Champions League.

They lost Thiago Alcantara and signed Leroy Sane, who started and struck the crossbar with the best effort of the first half on Thursday – Joshua Kimmich's disallowed goal aside – but Bayern might well have shown only one change from the win against PSG if not for Leon Goretzka's recent coronavirus battle, Thomas Muller's positive test and Jerome Boateng's grave personal matters.

Even then, Benjamin Pavard, only absent due to injury last term, would have replaced Thiago, with Kimmich now back in midfield.

Bayern are attempting to repeat last season; they have three trophies to their name, boast a seven-point advantage in the Bundesliga and are through in Europe, but the swagger is not quite there at this stage.

Falling short of the level of dominance in 2019-20, Bayern are averaging 16.8 shots per match, 6.7 shots on target, 615.8 passes and 62.2 per cent of the possession – across the board the lowest marks since Guardiola arrived in Bavaria.

Continuing at the helm, unlike Jupp Heynckes after Bayern's previous Champions League triumph, Flick has not followed Guardiola in boldly transforming the team.

The Catalan coach shifted Philipp Lahm into the middle of the pitch, where he was joined by a fit-again Toni Kroos and new signing Thiago. Bayern averaged 572.2 passes per game and 61 per cent of the possession in 2012-13 and 727.9 passes per game and 71 per cent of the possession the following year – complete control.

This time, Sane was supposed to take Bayern to another level but has struggled to build on a fine debut against former club Schalke. Alaba's exit would rob them of a more valuable asset.

And given the swashbuckling style of last season's success, even with their trophy haul still growing, anything other than a serious tilt at the Champions League would surely be considered a failure. The bounce of a ball in one of sport's most unpredictable competitions could well dictate the mood music in Munich.

Bayern were value for their victory on Thursday, even if it ultimately relied on a scruffy Pavard strike, and have enjoyed a truly historic year.

However, if they are to prolong their peak and make this more than a 12-month merriment, they might need to again show a little more. Another 23-match winning run ought to ease any concerns.

Benjamin Pavard's VAR-assisted goal proved decisive as Bayern Munich beat Tigres UANL 1-0 to clinch their second FIFA Club World Cup title.

Without the influential Thomas Muller and Jerome Boateng, Bayern laboured for much of Thursday's final in Qatar, with their usual efficiency in front of goal absent.

A harsh offside decision from the VAR denied Joshua Kimmich a first-half opener, but the technology came to Bayern's aid in the 59th minute when it instructed referee Esteban Ostojich to overturn the decision to disallow Pavard's goal for a Robert Lewandowski offside.

The first North American team to reach the Club World Cup final, Tigres had a hopeful penalty appeal dismissed shortly after Pavard's effort, but they failed to test Manuel Neuer as Bayern completed a clean sweep of six trophies over the course of the last 12 months.

Kingsley Coman's winner in last season's Champions League final ultimately booked Bayern's spot at this tournament, but the winger flapped at an early chance following a bright start from Tigres.

Kimmich thought he had put Bayern ahead with a thumping effort in the 18th minute, only for the goal to be disallowed for Lewandowski having been offside, despite hardly interfering with play.

Tigres were caught cold by a short corner after the half hour, with Leroy Sane's strike crashing against the angle of the post and crossbar.

Yet the pressure finally told just before the hour. Lewandowski beat the Tigres offside trap and went in for a header which Nahuel Guzman parried straight to Pavard.

His finish was initially disallowed, but VAR said the decision should be overturned.

Pavard almost turned from hero to villain minutes later when he blocked Luis Quinones' cross and it rebounded back onto his arm, but the officials fairly judged it was ball-to-hand.

Tigres pushed for an equaliser but only managed to come close to conceding again – Corentin Tolisso having an effort tipped onto the post before Guzman made a fine save to deny Douglas Costa and Kimmich, as Bayern wrapped up the trophy they previously lifted in 2013.

Palmeiras endured more penalty pain as Al Ahly's 3-2 shootout success after a goalless draw clinched third place at the Club World Cup.

Andre-Pierre Gignac's semi-final spot-kick had sent Tigres UANL through to the final at the expense of the Copa Libertadores winners and the margins were even finer in Thursday's play-off.

A dismal stalemate prompted the penalty drama, with the takers scarcely more accurate from 12 yards than they had been in the prior 90 minutes.

Mohamed El-Shenawy saved a straightforward Rony effort and watched Luiz Adriano send a truly dreadful attempt wide, but Weverton's sublime stop from Amr El Soleya and Marwan Mohsen's agonising strike against the post kept the sides all square.

Junior Ajayi's outstanding finish into the top-right corner piled on the pressure, though, and Palmeiras captain Felipe Melo was denied by El-Shenawy.

It was a fitting end to a match in which Melo's defensive error had provided the clearest opening.

He failed in an attempt to chip a pass over Walter Bwalya and then slipped, allowing El Soleya to seize the ball and run clear, only to drag his finish wide.

There was also a sprawling El-Shenawy save from Rony's header before the break.

Weverton was grateful for an offside flag midway through a similarly tame second period as he parried El Soleya's volley straight to substitute Ajayi, whose follow-up effort was struck off.

But penalties were required to separate the sides and again proved Palmeiras' undoing.

Thomas Muller has tested positive for coronavirus and will miss Bayern Munich's Club World Cup final against Tigres UANL.

Bundesliga champions Bayern confirmed Muller's absence on Thursday, just hours before they were due to face the Mexican side at the Education City Stadium in Qatar.

Muller is the latest player in Bayern's squad to return a positive test for COVID-19, with Javi Martinez and Leon Goretzka both having not travelled.

The 31-year-old has isolated and, upon returning to Munich, will immediately quarantine. There were no further positive tests recorded in Bayern's squad.

Bayern are also without Jerome Boateng against Tigres after he returned to Germany following the death of his ex-girlfriend.

Robert Lewandowski scored twice as Bayern defeat Al Ahly 2-0 in Monday's semi-final to book their fixture with Tigres.

Jerome Boateng has left Bayern Munich's Club World Cup squad to return to Germany following the death of his ex-girlfriend.

Kasia Lenhardt, 25, was found dead in her Berlin apartment on Tuesday. Her death is not being treated as suspicious by authorities.

She and Boateng had separated last week, the latter confirming in a since-deleted social media post.

Bayern coach Hansi Flick confirmed Boateng had asked to leave the squad for personal reasons on the eve of their Club World Cup final against Mexican side Tigres, and he will be absent indefinitely.

Flick told a news conference: "This has stunned us.

"Jerome came to me and asked me to return home. After a negative [COVID-19] test, he will return home and not be available until further notice."

Boateng had played the 2-0 semi-final win over Egypt's Al Ahly on Monday and would have likely started again when Bayern go up against Tigres.

His experience and physical prowess will have been key in potentially nullifying the threat of in-form Tigres striker Andre-Pierre Gignac, who has netted in each of his previous six matches across all competitions.

Flick would not give any hints as to his selections, but has urged Bayern to take the initiative.

"It is up to us to put pressure on our opponents and to play our game when we have possession," Flick continued. "We did it well in the semi-final. I have full trust in my team.

"We have to be alert. Tigres are very quick in their build-up. They work well down the wings and have players in the centre who score.

"We have to be there from the start and convert our chances this time."

Flick's Tigres counterpart, Ricardo Ferretti, was in a bullish mood ahead of the match, adamant people are underestimating them ahead of this contest just because they are not from Europe.

He said: "You mention Bayern of Europe and nobody denies their achievements, but why do people only want to see things from one side?

"In 10 years we have won 11 titles. If you want to predict it [the game] because they are European and we are North American, it would be underestimating us.

"We know the capacity of Bayern, but as I have always said, we are not afraid of anyone. We will try to do our thing, very well, in order to be champions."

Germany should only call up Bayern Munich sensation Jamal Musiala if he "really wants" to change allegiances, according to former captain Michael Ballack.

After making his debut in June 2020, Bayern teenager Musiala has become a regular fixture in the Bundesliga champions' first-team squad, featuring in 15 games and scoring three goals this season.

The 17-year-old switched from Chelsea's youth academy to Bayern in July 2019 - aged 16 - before becoming Bayern's youngest ever senior player and their youngest goalscorer. 

Born in Stuttgart to a German mother and an English-Nigerian father, Musiala moved to London aged seven and represented England from Under-15 to U21 levels, as well as Germany U16s.

Although he last played for England against Albania in November 2020, Musiala remains eligible for both nations and it has been reported that a tug-of-war has been ongoing for some time.

The highly rated youngster has reportedly been contacted by England manager Gareth Southgate and Germany head coach Joachim Low, but Ballack insisted Musiala should only play for Die Mannschaft if he is fully committed.

"We talk about the German national team. It should consist of players that meet the requirements and really want to play for this team," Ballack, who earned 98 caps for Germany, told Stats Perform News.

"It also needs to meet the rules and everything else needs to be decided from the national coach."

Hansi Flick believes success in the Club World Cup will be "very special" as he closes in on a sixth trophy in just 68 matches as Bayern Munich coach.

Bayern comfortably dealt with CAF Champions League winners Al Ahly in their semi-final on Monday, with Robert Lewandowski getting both goals in a 2-0 win.

The Polish striker, who moved to 29 goals for the season with that brace, made it 1-0 in the 17th minute and eventually put the game beyond Al Ahly in the latter stages, though the Egyptian champions rarely looked a threat to Die Roten.

In Thursday's final Bayern will face Tigres, who defeated Copa Libertadores winners Palmeiras 1-0 on Sunday to become the first CONCACAF side to reach the final of the Club World Cup.

French striker Andre-Pierre Gignac got the winner from the spot against Palmeiras, his sixth successive goal-scoring appearance, and Bayern know they cannot afford to be complacent.

"I watched their semi-final, Tigres are a very dynamic team, very athletic, with a lot of power. We have to counter that well in the final," Flick said when asked about Ricardo Ferretti's team.

"If we win the final on Thursday, the team will have finished an outstanding season with a sixth title.

"That would be a very special success in the successful history of FC Bayern. We now have to collect ourselves as quickly as possible and recover quickly in order to be able to be again at 100 per cent on Thursday."

Thomas Muller echoed the sentiment of his coach, reminding the rest of the Bayern team that their mission still needs to be accomplished.

"We are happy that we did not miss anything and have achieved our [first] goal," he added. "Now we have the chance that we really wanted to work for: winning the Club World Cup."

Bayern won the competition in their only previous participation in 2013.

That was the beginning of streak of European dominance in the Club World Cup, with all six iterations since then won by teams from the continent.

Chelsea were the last European side to lose out in the Club World Cup in 2012, as they were defeated 1-0 by Corinthians in the final.

Bayern Munich secured their place in the Club World Cup final thanks to a straightforward 2-0 win over Al Ahly, with Robert Lewandowski getting both goals.

The German and European champions were not at their spectacular best but looked comfortable throughout, doing enough to earn a shot at lifting the trophy for a second time.

Bayern dominated the first half almost from start to finish but could only take a 1-0 lead into the break, Lewandowski getting his 28th goal of the season, and Al Ahly appeared encouraged after half-time.

However, the Egyptians did not have the quality to cause Bayern any sustained worries and Lewandowski sealed the win late on, with Hansi Flick taking his team to another final as he looks to make it six titles won in just 68 matches at the helm when they meet Tigres of Mexico in the showpiece.

It did not take Bayern long to establish control, as Serge Gnabry received Kinglsey Coman's cross and showed great awareness to calmly tee up Lewandowski for a simple finish in the 17th minute.

Further Bayern chances came thick and fast for the remainder of the first half, but the Germans were wasteful – Marc Roca shot wide and then also straight at Mohamed El-Shenawy in a two-minute spell, before Alphonso Davies dragged a right-footed effort past the left-hand post just before the break.

But Lewandowski was the surprising culprit a few moments prior to Davies' chance, as the Best FIFA Men's Player award winner lifted a chipped effort over the goal from inside the box after a clever release from Joshua Kimmich.

Ah Ahly looked a little more dangerous during the early stages of the second half, though Bayern were still unfortunate not to increase their lead when Thomas Muller agonisingly failed to reach David Alaba's across-goal header.

Bayern began to up the pressure again towards the end, with Ayman Ashraf almost slicing a cross into his own net, before Eric-Maxim Choupo-Moting headed at El-Shenawy and Corentin Tolisso shot just over from distance.

Although an equaliser looked unlikely, Bayern made sure of the win five minutes from time as Leroy Sane dug out a cross from the right and Lewandowski was on hand for the simplest of headers.
 

 

Hansi Flick's Bayern Munich reign went from 0-60 at break-neck speed, as within 11 months of being appointing as caretaker boss, he'd essentially won everything.

It was the kind of impact that makes managers club legends, his influence all the more notable given the how underwhelming performances had been during Niko Kovac's ultimately ill-fated spell at the helm.

All that remains for Flick to win now of course is the Club World Cup, which Bayern will make their return to for the first time since 2013 when they go up against Al Ahly in the semi-finals on Monday.

While Bayern's preparations for the tournament haven't been ideal, given they were only in Bundesliga action on Friday and had their departure significantly delayed, they've arrived in Qatar as clear favourites.

It may well prove a welcome distraction for the time being, with talk over Flick's future beginning to become a minor irritant for all involved.

While the outcome of their efforts in this tournament won't directly lead to Flick leaving, failure will surely see the issue thrust into the spotlight.

An ally's departure

It seems astonishing that there is even a hint of doubt regarding Flick's future at Bayern given the trophies he's won and the swift implementation of a vibrant brand of football.

But with Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, the club's chairman, set to vacate his position at the end of the season, reports in Germany suggest Flick will lose his closest ally in the hierarchy.

Additionally, Rummenigge's incoming replacement – Oliver Kahn – is not someone Flick is said to be particularly close with, while his relationship with sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic has been called into question.

Flick eased links with the Germany job last week when he insisted he wouldn't leave Bayern "for that", but considering his strong impact on Bayern in a short period of time, the German Football Federation won't be the only interested party if the 55-year-old decides to move later this year.

Clashing over signings

Much of the speculation relating to Flick's supposedly poor relationship with those above him is centred on Salihamidzic, the man in charge of the signings. Even if the rumours are wide of the mark, it's easy to see why there might be disagreements.

None of Bayern's pre-season signings can claim to have tied down a regular place in the starting XI this season, not even Leroy Sane, who has made just nine Bundesliga starts.

Marc Roca and Bouna Sarr have played just six times between them, Douglas Costa has started three league games and Alexander Nubel – perhaps unsurprisingly – hasn't ousted Manuel Neuer between the posts.

But it goes back further than that. Lucas Hernandez, an €80million purchase in 2019, is still not a regular pick in defence (10 starts this season) despite such a significant outlay.

In the case of Sane, he is proving to be less effective as a creative outlet than all of his fellow wingers in the Bayern squad, with his 1.6 chances created per 90 minutes fewer than Costa (1.7), Serge Gnabry (1.9) and Kingsley Coman (2.4).

If Rummenigge's departure leaves Flick without significant backing higher up, perhaps he'll opt to jump before he's pushed.

The distraction

Regardless of what happens in Qatar, or in the remaining months of the season for that matter, Flick will have a CV unlike many other managers in the game should he take the opportunity to follow Rummenigge out of the door.

They enjoyed a clean sweep last season with their Bundesliga, DFB-Pokal and Champions League treble, before adding UEFA Super Cup and DFL-Supercup at the start of 2020-21.

The Club World Cup is the only one that remains, and if they manage to lift the trophy it will be Flick's sixth title in 68 champions – that's one every 11 matches on average.

It's hardly make or break, with this competition arguably inconsequential when it comes to Bayern's major targets at the start of the season.

But from Flick's perspective, the opportunity to complete the set is one he won't want to pass up.

Ricardo Ferretti hailed his team as mighty Mexican outfit Tigres made history by powering through to the Club World Cup final.

Tigres became the first team from the CONCACAF region – covering North and Central America and the Caribbean – to reach the showpiece match of FIFA's top club tournament.

Andre-Pierre Gignac's penalty early in the second half gave Tigres the result their performance richly deserved, a 1-0 victory over Palmeiras.

The match-winning French striker had earlier been denied by two outstanding first-half saves by Palmeiras goalkeeper Weverton, who came up for a last-gasp corner and headed over a difficult chance to equalise.

The club from the city of San Nicolas de los Garza will face Bayern Munich or Al Ahly in Thursday's final, with the reigning European and African champions going head to head in Monday's second semi-final.

Ferretti said: "The victory gave us an opportunity to reach the final. We faced two great teams, and the next one will be also a great team, and we will face them in the same way.

"I feel calm and happy for the win and excited as everyone. I don't like celebrating before time, we still have to play a game, the most important one is the next one. Naturally we know how capable will be the team we will face.

"Now, we have to get ready, the players have to recover physically, but not emotionally because they feel good. We will get ready these days to reach the end goal."

Palmeiras head coach Abel Ferreira complained that the penalty decision was "dubious", suggesting the tug by Luan on Carlos Gonzalez was not sufficient to justify a spot-kick.

He said: "It was not a clear grab although it existed, but this is not basketball, they won a penalty and from there they defended themselves.

"We had some chances but we couldn't get it right and I have to say without problems that they were slightly superior and the game is solved with a detail by the experience of a great player.

"We know we could do better individually. We came here on our own merit, we have a good mix of young and experienced people. But today we have to apologise to our people and assume that our rival was slightly superior in general and, I repeat, the game is resolved by a dubious penalty."

Andre-Pierre Gignac fired Tigres through to the Club World Cup final as his penalty secured a 1-0 win over South American champions Palmeiras.

The 35-year-old former Marseille striker was hugely impressive in a thrilling game, and his reward came from the spot in the 54th minute, with Mexican giants Tigres full value for their victory.

It means the CONCACAF Champions League winners will face face Al Ahly or Bayern Munich in the final on Thursday.

Tigres were overwhelmingly the dominant side in the first half at Education City Stadium in Al Rayyan, with Copa Libertadores winners Palmeiras kept in the game thanks to three terrific saves from goalkeeper Weverton.

The Brazil international denied Carlos Gonzalez inside the first five minutes by repelling the Paraguayan striker's meaty header.

Weverton then denied Gignac twice in four minutes, first pushing the ball wide for a corner in the 34th minute when the Frenchman looked to bend a shot inside the far right post from a tight angle. A better stop followed as the eye-catching Gignac had a fine header clawed away from the bottom right corner.

Gonzalez had his shirt tugged by Luan for the decisive penalty incident, with Gignac driving his kick into the bottom left corner.

Palmeiras pushed for an equaliser but had at least five men offside from a free-kick before putting the ball in the net, and then Tigres' Luis Rodriguez almost scored in the wrong goal from a low cross, the ball trickling six inches wide. Matias Vina had a shot deflect narrowly wide deep into stoppage time before Weverton, sent up for a corner, headed over from the last big chance.

Qatar Stars League champions Al Duhail earlier secured fifth place by beating K League 1 side Ulsan Hyundai 3-1 in their play-off.

At the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium, Edmilson Junior gave Al Duhail a 21st-minute lead when he drove through midfield and swept a 25-yard shot into the bottom right corner, only for Yoon Bit-garam to level in the 62nd minute.

Mohammed Muntari restored Al Duhail's lead four minutes later with a volley from Dudu's sublime assist, a scooped ball over the defence, and Almoez Ali cracked in the third eight minutes from the end.

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