Back in 2010, Real Madrid were thumped 5-0 by Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona team in what turned out to be Jose Mourinho’s biggest defeat as a manager. Since then, Mourinho vs Guardiola rivalry has been one of the talked about aspects in world football. It is almost impossible to forget this aspect (as I just demonstrated), as the two managers prepare to renew their rivalries ahead of the UEFA Super Cup 2013.
However, it should be remembered that it is more about Bayern Munich vs Chelsea rather than Guardiola vs Mourinho. This brings us on to the 2012 Champions League final, which almost every Chelsea fan will vouch as being the best day of their life. Bayern were certainly the better team on the night. Inexperience or fate, they lost and the desire for revenge will still be on their minds.
Chelsea faced a pretty strong Bayern team back then and now they are even better now. Further, they are a team who have won things. This Chelsea team with young players like Andre Schurrle and Kevin De Bruyne is still finding its feet. Don’t get me wrong; this Chelsea team has also been successful, but Bayern have just been better.
In fact, I’d go as far as saying that they are the strongest team in the world now.
How Chelsea are likely to approach this game:
As with any Mourinho coached team, Chelsea will be setup to avoid defeat. One could even say that Mourinho has eventually found a way to play against Guardiola’s teams, which have a lot of possession. Incredibly, it is the trusted counter attacking style. Of course, Mourinho had Cristiano Ronaldo at Real Madrid. Slowly but surely, Madrid became extremely competitive against Barcelona. In fact, his tactics were largely used by Roberto di Matteo in the two legs over Barcelona in 2012.
Chelsea also have some extremely fast and quality players like Eden Hazard and Andre Schurrle. Expect the attacks to be built around the runs made by them in the channels. It should be very similar to the tactics employed against Aston Villa in the 2-1 win last week.
Bayern surprisingly dropped two points in the last league match against Freiburg, but it was more down to Guardiola resting seven first team players. They were also defeated by Borussia Dortmund in the German Super Cup a month ago, but other than that, they have been imperious.
Mourinho has largely stuck with the same starting eleven since the start of the season. It has not been spectacular, but it has been enough to get the results.
Bayern Munich will be missing a number of key players like Holger Badstuber and Thiago Alcantara. Bastian Schweinsteiger and Javi Martinez are major doubts and they will be assessed just before the match. Bayern are incredibly strong in midfield, but the absence of players like Schweinsteiger could really hurt them. If Schweinsteiger does not play, attacking midfielder Toni Kroos could take his place.
Question marks still remain about the participation of David Luiz, but he has been included in the squad nonetheless. The likes of Willian and Samuel Eto’o, who only recently joined the club, miss out. Apart from that, the squad is almost perfect. Juan Mata is apparently still not 100% yet, but there is a chance he’ll make it into the starting lineup in place of De Bruyne.
Chelsea failed to win this trophy last season as they were defeated in the most humbling circumstances by Atletico Madrid. This is a second chance, and let’s hope that we get to lay our hands on this trophy because the chance to win this trophy doesn’t come around too often.
31 August 2013
19:45 (London time)
Eden Arena, Prague