By Brian Homewood
AGADIR, Morocco, Dec 16 (Reuters) - A factbox on the four
semi-finalists at the Club World Cup.
Bayern Munich meet Guangzhou Evergrande in Agadir on Tuesday
(1930 GMT) and Atletico Mineiro face Raja Casablanca in
Marrakech on Wednesday (1930).
Raja Casablanca (Morocco):
Titles: Moroccan league champions: 11 times. Moroccan Cup:
7. African Champions League: 3. CAF Cup: 1.
Route to the tournament: Unlike the other semi-finalists,
Raja are not continental champions but qualified for the
tournament as champions of the host nation Morocco, winning the
title in the 2012/13 season.
Current form: An indifferent fifth in the 2013/14 Moroccan
league, a performance which prompted them to sack coach Mohamed
Fakhir one week before the start of the tournament.
The team: Most of the squad are Moroccan league players with
a sprinkling of international caps between them and, in one or
two cases, experience abroad in countries such as Switzerland or
Saudi Arabia. The Moroccan national team itself is made up
almost entirely of players based with European clubs and those
who remain in Morocco are generally the ones who are not good
enough to earn a move abroad, or are just starting their
careers. There are also some low-key imports including
midfielder Kouko Guehi from Ivory Coast. None of the players are
well-known outside Morocco.
The coach: Faouzi Benzarti. Took over one week before the
competition started after his predecessor Fakhir was dismissed.
The 63-year-old Tunisian has coached at six clubs in his
homeland as well as the national teams of his own country and
Estimated transfer market value of the squad: 9.5 million
euros ($13.04 million).
Average home attendance: n/a
* * * *
Atletico Mineiro (Brazil):
Titles: Brazilian championship winners: 1. Minas Gerais
state championship winners: 42. Libertadores Cup: 1. Conmebol
Route to the tournament: Finished second in the 2012
Brazilian championship to qualify for this season's South
American Libertadores Cup. They won the Libertadores the hard
way, surviving a late penalty miss against Tijuana and beating
both Newell's Old Boys and Paraguayan side Olimpia on penalties.
Current form: Atletico devoted most of their energy to
winning the Libertadores and their Brazilian championship
campaign took second fiddle. Having won the title in July, they
fielded a reserve team in several matches, at one stage
suffering a run of five games without a win. Eventually
recovered to finish eighth in the Brazilian championship which
concluded at the start of this month.
The team: An ageing team of well-respected if unremarkable
professionals, most of whom have done the rounds of clubs in
Brazil and, in some cases, have had the odd spell abroad. The
exceptions are the mercurial former World Player of the Year
Ronaldinho and former CSKA Moscow, Everton and Manchester City
striker Jo. Thirty-year-old goalkeeper Victor was regarded as
the hero of their Libertadores campaign.
The coach: Cuca. Has coached nearly 20 different Brazilian
teams, some of them more than once, including Flamengo,
Fluminense, Gremio, Botafogo, Santos, Coritiba and Sao Paulo.
His teams can be relied upon to play attractive, attacking
football although he had earned a reputation as a nearly man for
frequently missing out on major titles until he led Atletico to
the Libertadores title.
Estimated transfer market value of the squad: 35.4 million
Average home attendance: 11,436
* * * *
Bayern Munich (Germany)
Titles: German champions 23 times (22 since the Bundesliga
was founded in 1963). German Cup winners: 16. European
Cup/Champions League winners: 5. European Cup Winners' Cup
champions: 1. UEFA Cup/Europa League winners: 1.
Intercontinental Cup: 2.
Route to the tournament: Won the European Champions League
in May, beating Borussia Dortmund 2-1 in the final. They had
qualified for the Champions League with a second-placed finish
in the Bundesliga in 2011/12.
Current form: Have lost only two games all season, the
German Supercup match against Borussia Dortmund and a Champions
League tie at home to Manchester City. They lead the Bundesliga
by seven points, having won 14 and drawn two of their matches.
They have also reached the German Cup quarter-finals and last
sixteen of the Champions League, keeping them on course to
repeat last season's extraordinary treble.
The team: Just about every player in the Bayern squad is a
full international, countries represented including Germany,
Netherlands, France, Brazil, Croatia, Belgium, Austria and Peru.
They include some of the world's top players such as goalkeeper
Manuel Neuer, defender Philipp Lahm, midfielder Bastian
Schweinsteiger and forwards Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery. Six
of their players were on the original 23-man list for the Player
of the Year award.
The coach: Pep Guardiola. Produced one of football's
greatest ever teams during his four seasons with Barcelona, with
their distinctive tiki-taka possession game. After a one-year
sabbatical, he is now trying to do the same with Bayern Munich.
Estimated transfer market value of the squad: 487.2 million
Average home attendance: 71,000
* * * *
Guangzhou Evergrande (China)
Founded: Founded as a professional team in 1993. Previously
existed as a semi-professional side since 1954.
Titles: Chinese Super League: 3. Chinese Cup: 1. Asian
Champions League: 1.
Route to the tournament: Won the 2013 Asian Champions League
after a marathon campaign which took them to Thailand, South
Korea, Japan, Australia and Qatar. Qualified for the Champions
League as the 2012 Chinese champions.
Current form: Emphatically won the Chinese League again this
year, winning 24 and losing only once in their 30-match campaign
to finish 18 points clear at the top. Also reached the Chinese
Cup final but missed out on the double by losing 2-0 to Guizhou
Moutai. Completed their season by winning the Asian Champions
League. Overall, they played 50 games, winning 37 and losing
The team: Guangzhou is basically the backbone of the China
national side with three South American players thrown in. Sun
Xiang, Zhang Linpeng, Feng Xiaoting, Zhao Xuri, Asian Player of
the Year and China captain Zheng Zhi, Huang Bowen and Gao Lin
are all experienced internationals. However, the real stars are
the South American trio, Argentine playmaker Dario Conca and the
Brazilian pair of Elkeson and Muriqui, none of whom have been
capped at senior international level.
The coach: Marcello Lippi. One of Europe's most successful
coaches. Won five Serie A titles and one Champions League with
Juventus, then led Italy to World Cup victory in 2006. He
suffered a rare failure when he returned for 2010 and they were
knocked out in the group stage. He is now weaving his magic in
China where he has won three successive league titles with
Guangzhou and the Asian Champions League.
Estimated transfer market value of the squad: 20.97 million
Average home attendance: 40,428
Source for transfer market values: (www.transfermarkt.de)
($1 = 0.7283 euros)
(Editing by Josh Reich)
- Sports & Recreation
- Champions League
- Bayern Munich
- Club World Cup
- Raja Casablanca
- Atletico Mineiro
- Guangzhou Evergrande