Bayern Munich were expected to pummel Guangzhou Evergrande in their opening match of the Club World Cup and that is exactly what they did. It took 40 minutes for them to score, but they were never in trouble. It was rare to see Guangzhou complete a pass, let alone one in the final third as the European champions cruised to a 3-0 semifinal win.
Next up for Bayern is Saturday's final, where they will meet the winner of Atletico Mineiro and Raja Casablanca. If they win, it will be their first Club World Cup title, although they did win the Intercontinental Cup twice.
It was clear right from the start that Guangzhou had no chance to compete with Bayern. Pep Guardiola's side had all of the possession and all 10 of Guangzhou's men pinned in their own third. Every time the Chinese side got on the ball, Bayern quickly took it back and were attacking within seconds. The match looked, for lack of a better cliche, like men against boys.
Despite their dominance, it took Bayern a while to find their first goal. They just missed on several chances, sending shots just wide, while Thiago Alcantara hit the post with one attempt, but Franck Ribery finally found a way through in the 40th minute.
It wasn't the prettiest of goals as Guangzhou failed to clear a cross and a scrum in front of goal saw the ball fall to Ribery, who buried his shot, but it was deserved. Bayern had been all over the Chinese and they finally had a goal for their efforts.
Four minutes later, Bayern doubled their lead. David Alaba hit a cross for a wide open Mario Mandzukic, who dove to meet the sinking cross and headed home. It was an all-too-easy goal for the Germans, who had put the match to bed by halftime.
Just for good measure, Mario Gotze added one more goal immediately after the break. He hit a blistering shot from 20 yards that benefited from a slight deflection, leaving Zeng Cheng no chance. The ball found the top corner and with that, Bayern had themselves a 3-0 lead.
Bayern barely broke a sweat in the match, with the bar proving to be the only decent defense against them as it denied three shots, not that the Germans will care. They had their easy win and a spot in the final.
Bayern Munich: Neuer, Rafinha, Boateng, van Buyten, Alaba, Lahm, Gotze, Kroos (Martinez 58'), Thiago, Ribery (Shaqiri 72') Mandzukic (Pizarro 75').
Goals: Ribery 40', Mandukic 44', Gotze 47'.
Guangzhou Evergrande: Cheng, Zhang, Feng, Young-Kwon, Xiang, Elekson, Zhi, Muriqui (Gao 72'), Huang (Rong 45'), Zhao (Feng 76'), Conca.