FIFA Club World Cup Preview: Bayern Munich v Raja Casablanca
By Football News
German giants Bayern Munich will meet Morocco's Raja Casablanca in the FIFA Club World Cup final at the Stade de Marrakech on Saturday.
Bayern advanced to the final after a comfortable 3-0 win over AFC Champions League winners Guangzhou Evergrande.
Goals to attacking trio Franck Ribery, Mario Gotze and Mario Mandzukic in a seven-minute period either side of half-time got the job done for Pep Guardiola's side.
The Bundesliga leaders possess a wealth of talent in attack and can also call on Arjen Robben, Thomas Muller and Toni Kroos to provide a threat up forward.
Bayern entered the tournament at the semi-final stage as their reward for winning the UEFA Champions League during the 2012-2013 campaign.
Casablanca's path to the final has not been as straight forward with the Moroccan league champions gaining entry to the tournament as hosts and having to win two more knockout games than Bayern to qualify for the final.
The Moroccans snuck past New Zealand's Auckland City 2-1 in the play-off for the quarter-final before overcoming Mexico's Monterrey 2-1 in extra-time to set up a semi-final against Atletico Mineiro.
Heavily favoured to be beaten by Mineiro – the Copa Libertadores champions featuring Ronaldinho – Casablanca scored two late goals to clinch a 3-1 victory and earn a place in the final.
Striker Mouhcine Iajour has scored twice in the tournament already and Bayern will have to wary of his prowess in the penalty area.
It is only the second time in the 10 editions of the tournament that the final has featured a team from outside Europe or South America.
If Bayern triumph in their first appearance at the tournament, it will be the sixth time a European side has lifted the trophy.
And only another huge upset could deny Guardiola's men, who should have too much class and quality for the hosts.