BERLIN (AP) – Bayern Munich’s flight to Qatar for the Club World Cup was ‘severely delayed’ after local authorities in Berlin refused permission for takeoff shortly before midnight Friday.
The Bundesliga leaders were forced to wait until 7 a.m. Saturday to leave, the club said, despite having moved their game Friday ahead by 30 minutes to facilitate its planned 11:15 p.m. departure.
“Because of the unscheduled overnight stay, the crew had to be changed and the plane had to make a stopover in Munich. From there, the plane took off for Doha at 9:15 a.m.,” the club said.
It wasn’t immediately clear what caused the initial delay. Bayern did not say why clearance for takeoff had been denied, but the recently opened Berlin Brandenburg Airport generally has a ban on flights from midnight to 5 a.m. to reduce disruption.
Bayern’s game at Hertha Berlin, which it won 1-0, had been moved forward to give the team ample time to depart before midnight.
Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge was furious over the delay.
“We feel totally mucked about by the responsible people of the Brandenburg political authorities,” Rummenigge told the Bild tabloid. “The authorities don’t realize what they’ve done to our team.”
The flight time from Munich to Doha, Qatar is usually 5 hours, 40 minutes. The team reported that the “journey was difficult” but that they landed safely in Doha. Coronavirus tests were administered at the airport, and players then went straight to their hotel.
Bayern is due to play Egyptian team Al Ahly in the Club World Cup semifinal on Monday and is eying reaching the final on Thursday.
“It’s the grand finale after the Champions League,” Thomas Müller said. “We want to crown ourselves.”
Leon Goretzka and Javi Martínez were not among the 22 players traveling due to coronavirus infections. Bayern coach Hansi Flick said it was more likely that Goretzka would be able to rejoin the squad in time for the final.
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