Bayern wary of Tigres’ Gignac in final, says Neuer

Al-Rayyan (Qatar) (AFP) – Bayern Munich goalkeeper Manuel Neuer says the European champions are wary of Tigres’ veteran striker Andre-Pierre Gignac ahead of Thursday’s Club World Cup final.

Bayern face CONCACAF champions Tigres from Mexico at Al Rayyan, a host venue for the 2022 World Cup.

If Bayern win, they will become the second club after Barcelona in 2009 to sweep all six trophies available to them inside 12 months.

The German giants won the Champions League, Bundesliga, German Cup, UEFA Super Cup and German Super Cup in 2020.

Former France striker Gignac, 35, has scored six goals in his last four games, including a second-half penalty in Tigres’ semi-final win over Palmeiras on Sunday.

“In Gignac, they have an ace striker who is sensational with his finishing in the penalty area,” Neuer told a press conference on Wednesday.

“He has the experience. I think he quickly adapts to the match and the kind of football we play in Europe.”

Robert Lewandowski scored twice as Bayern beat Egypt’s Al Ahly in the semi-finals on Monday.

But Bayern will be without key defender Jerome Boateng, who has flown home for “personal reasons”.

Neuer also singled out Tigres’ “strong” wing-backs Jesus Duenas and Luis Rodriguez as possible dangers.

“It goes without saying, we need to keep pace, we need to put pressure on the opponent. We need to be very quick,” Neuer added.

Bayern took an early lead in Monday’s semi-final and coach Hansi Flick is eager for them to again lay down a marker.

“They (Tigres) press forward, then in their centre they have players who can score goals, that’s why we have to be wide awake from the beginning,” said Flick.

No Mexican club has ever reached the Club World Cup final and Brazil’s Corinthians were the last non-European team to win the trophy in 2012.

Tigres coach Ricardo Ferretti bemoaned the lack of respect he feels his side deserves.

“It seems you have to beat Palmeiras… to be properly (respected),” said the 66-year-old. “The focus is always on the other side — (from) Europe, for example.

“We don’t deny Bayern’s skills or achievements, but why do you only focus on one of the sides?

“In the last 10 years we have won 11 titles.

“We do not underestimate anyone and we do not overestimate anyone.

“We are not scared of any other team. We will tackle the match with respect and try to impose our game.”

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