Bayern Munich reached the Club World Cup final after goals in each half by Robert Lewandowski sealed a 2-0 victory over African champions Al Ahly at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium, a host venue for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
The German side will face Mexico’s Tigres in the final on Thursday after the Mexican club saw off Brazilian giants Palmeiras in Sunday’s other semifinal.
Lewandowski gave Bayern the lead after just 17 minutes and then headed home a pinpoint Leroy Sane cross four minutes before the whistle to book Bayern’s place in the final.
Lewandowski, the Bundesliga’s top scorer, has scored 29 goals in 27 matches for his club this season.
Bayern are bidding to become only the second team after Barcelona in 2009 to win all six domestic and international titles up for grabs in one season.
The German giants lifted the Bundesliga, German Cup, Champions League, German Cup and UEFA Super Cup trophies in 2020.
“We want to claim another title – title number six during this season,” Lewandowski said. “This is a World Cup, which is always something special. I hope we can play even better in the final and that we will have more goalscoring chances.”
The European champions ended Ahly’s 32-match unbeaten run in all competitions under their South African-born coach Pitso Mosimane.
“I’m a Tunisian but Bayern Munich is my second favourite football team,” Ayman Khalifa, 34, told Al Jazeera after the final whistle.
“I’m not that satisfied with their performance because I expected them to score five to six goals but it’s OK, they won and are in the final now. I’m sure the final will be really, really good. I will come to the stadium again [despite the pandemic] because my love and passion for football is very high.”
Michael Zeman, another Bayern Munich fan, said while the German side did not play its best, it was a terrific performance under pressure as majority of the crowd was rooting for the Egyptian team.
“Most of the supporters were behind Al Ahli. If it wasn’t for COVID, the stadium would’ve been full of Al Ahli supporters,” Zeman told Al Jazeera. “I hope and expect Bayern to play better in the final.”
For the Al-Ahli fans, whose dominated in the stands, the loss was heartbreaking as the team put up a good fight in front of the European champions.
“I feel really sad that Al-Ahli lost,” Tasneem Abdul Hameed, who came to the match with her husband and two children, told Al Jazeera.
“It’s a very, very rare occasion to see my team play in this country and that’s why I came to watch them despite COVID and the restrictions. I was really excited, but now, I’m very sad. It was really a good game and it would’ve been great had Al-Ahli won.”
Bayern’s only Club World Cup title to date in 2013, beating Raja Casablanca of Morocco in the final, started a run of seven consecutive wins by European teams.
Additional reporting by Showkat Shafi in Doha