Bayern Munich capped a trophy-laden 2013 with yet another title on Saturday, winning the FIFA Club World Cup by beating Moroccan side Raja Casablanca 2-0 in the final at the Stade de Marrakech.
Dante and Thiago Alcantara scored the goals in the first half for Bayern, who ended a historically successful season with more silverware. Winners of Germany's Bundesliga and DFB-Pokal under former manager Jupp Heynckes, Bayern qualified for the Club World Cup by winning the UEFA Champions League final in May.
Under first-year manager Pep Guardiola, Bayern clearly haven't missed a beat. Leading the Bundesliga by seven points at the halfway point, Die Roten won their Champions League group this fall and made quick work of their Club World Cup opponents in Morocco.
Bayern had never appeared in FIFA's Club World Cup before this week. The German giants did win the Intercontinental Cup—the Club World Cup's forerunner—in 1976 and 2001.
2-0: Guardiola is the only manager to win the CWC 3 times and 2nd manager to win the CWC/IntercontCup 3 times after Carlos Bianchi.— Infostrada Sports (@InfostradaLive) December 21, 2013
The difference in quality between the sides was evident quickly, and Bayern took the lead in just the seventh minute.
Xherdan Shaqiri took a corner on the right, and Jerome Boateng headed toward Dante in the middle. Dante swiveled and fired into the net for a quick 1-0 lead.
Thiago Alcantara made it 2-0 with a first-time finish in the 22nd minute after David Alaba's lay-off.
Dante came close to his second, and Bayern's third, in the 34th minute, but his powerful header from a corner was over the bar. Shaqiri then tested the keeper with a long shot a minute later.
Bayern nearly conceded a sloppy goal in the 38th minute, when goalkeeper Manuel Neuer failed to properly clear a back-pass. Instead, his clearance fell to Chemseddine Chtibi, who shot wide of the empty net.
Raja came close again in the 57th minute. Zakaria El Hachimi broke free on the right and crossed for Mouhssine Iajour, whose header flew straight to Neuer.
At the other end, Bayern nearly made it 3-0 in the 62nd minute, but Shaqiri's uncontested shot from the six-yard box cannoned off the crossbar.
Raja should have scored a consolation in the 84th minute after an errant pass by Dante led to a clear chance. But Neuer saved Vivien Mabide's close-range shot from the right, and an unmarked Mohsine Moutaouali blasted the rebound over the bar from eight yards.
The Moroccan side had one more chance in the 90th minute, when Badr Kachani escaped from Dante momentarily. But Kachani's shot was weak and Neuer saved easily.
Bayern Munich, overall tournament: A
Bayern cruised to their first Club World Cup title with minimum fuss. Along the way, Guardiola's team recorded two comfortable wins against overmatched opponents.
Apart from a couple moments of lapse concentration at the back—both of which led to chances for Raja—Bayern did little wrong.
As an added bonus, both Bayer Leverkusen and Borussia Dortmund lost Bundesliga matches while Bayern were away. Another trophy-laden season seems inevitable.
Raja Casablanca, overall tournament: A-
To give Raja a grade equal to Bayern would be ludicrous considering the enormous difference in quality between the teams.
Raja, however, should be commended for an excellent tournament in their home country. After a win over Auckland City in the play-in match, Raja defeated Mexican giants Monterrey and the more-fancied Brazilian side Atletico Mineiro.
Beating Bayern was probably too much to ask. In making it this far, Raja did very well for themselves.