Egyptian side Al Ahly SC on Monday night would be hugely motivated for success when they come up against a strong Bayern Munich side in the 2020 FIFA Club World Cup semi-finals in Qatar.
Not only will a win put them past the reigning European champions, who humiliated both Chelsea and Barcelona on the road to their champions league glory, but it will make them the third African side to have ever qualified for the finals of the competition.
Since its inception in 2000, DR Congo’s TP Mazambe and Morocco’s Raja Casablanca are the only African sides to have reached the finals.
TP Mazambe represented the African continent in the 2010 final against Internazionale at the Zayed Sports City Stadium in Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates) but were defeated 3-0.
Three years later, Raja Casablanca also suffered a similar fate at the hands of Pep Guardiola’s Bayern Munich as first half goals from Dante (7th minute) and Thiago (22nd minute) gave the Bavarians their first FIFA club world cup trophy.
Bayern Munich are also with motivation going into Monday’s clash. A victory against the African champions will put them one step closer to winning their second FIFA club world club trophy and their sixth title within a year.
2020 FIFA Club World Cup semis Al Ahly vs Bayern Munich preview
Road to the semis
Monday’s game will be the first Bayern Munich will be playing at the 2021 FIFA Club World Cup, having been exempted from the first and round duties.
Their counterparts, Al Ahly, however have already been involved in this year’s FIFA Club World Cup. Their first and only game played so far saw them edge out Al Duhail SC, courtesy a goal from Hussein El Shahat in the 30th minute, to secure a place in the semi-final against Bayern Munich.
The Egyptian side were very much impressive in their first game and would like to put out a similar performance when they face a strong Bayern Munich side who are looking for first FIFA Club World Cup trophy since their 2013 win against Raja Casablanca.
Coach Pisto Mosmiane in their game against Duhail opted for a 4-2-3-1 system with the experienced El Shahat playing on the right hand side as one of three attacking players behind Bwalya.
But given that Bayern Munich are expected to give them a much more sterner test, Ahly are likely to prefer a more cautious and defensive approach in Monday’s game.
They could thus abandon their 4-2-3-1 formation in favor of a 4-3-3 or a 5-4-1 formation in order to have bodies in defense to cut out the threat from the lethal Bayern Munich attack.
Bayern are expected to field a strong side against the African champions, meaning that Manuel Neuer, Thomas Müller, David Alaba and Jérôme Boateng who were part of the 2013 winning team could play a part on Monday.
In their last game against Hertha Berlin in which they won 1-0, coach Hansi Flick opted for an attacking setup with only Joshua Kimmich given the responsibility of shielding the defense.
A lethal attacking force of Kinsley Coman, Thomas Müller, Serge Gnabry, Leroy Sane and Robert Lewandoski was deployed and that is expected to be the story against the African champions.
Al Ahly SC expected lineup (4-3-3):
Mohamed Elsayed Mohamed; Mohamed Hany Gamal, Benoun Badr, Ayman Ashraf Elsayed, Maaloul Ali; Hamdy Fathy Abdelhalim, Al Sulaya, Akram, Tawfik Mohamed Hassan; Taher Mohamed Ahmed Taher, Bwayla Walter, Hussein Ali Elshahat Ali
Bayern Munich expected lineup (4-1-4-1):
Manuel Neuer; Benjamin Pavard, Niklas Sule, David Alaba, Lucas Hernandez; Joshua Kimmich; Kinsley Coman, Thomas Müller, Serge Gnabry, Leroy Sane and Robert Lewandoski
FIFA Club World Cup Match details:
Date: Monday, 8th Febrauray, 2021
Time: 18:00 GMT
Venue: Ahamad Bin Stadium, AL Rayyan