Chelsea’s recent 2-1 Premier League win away to new champions Manchester City was something of a proxy war considering both sides had their eyes on a far larger prize. But Thomas Tuchel will still have been delighted to get one over on his opposite number Pep Guardiola ahead of the Champions League final, which has been moved from Istanbul to Porto. Guardiola and Tuchel – the first manager to take two different clubs to the Champions League final in successive seasons – regularly locked horns in the Bundesliga a few years ago. What can we learn from some of their most notable previous meetings?
Tuchel vs. Guardiola – Previous meetings
Chelsea 1-0 Manchester City: FA Cup (2021)
City will head to Portugal knowing they have lost each of their past two meetings with Chelsea. Guardiola named a much-changed side for this clash, which was played after City’s Champions League quarter-final defeat of Borussia Dortmund, allowing the Blues to ease to a tight victory.
Hakim Ziyech had already had a goal ruled out for offside when he slid home what proved to be the winner, capitalising on City’s back-up goalkeeper Zach Steffen being caught out of position. City’s high defensive line was exploited regularly by Timo Werner with the German’s intelligent runs and searing pace likely to be used in a similar way in the Champions League final.
Bayern Munich 0-0 Borussia Dortmund (Bayern won on pens): DFB-Pokal, May 21 2016
Before taking charge of Chelsea – it is easy to forget now that Frank Lampard’s sacking was hugely unpopular with Blues fans – Tuchel had never beaten Guardiola as a coach. However, two months after a goalless Bundesliga meeting, he came closest in the 2016 DFB-Pokal final.
It was Guardiola’s final match at Bayern before leaving for City and his side dominated the ball, recording 70 per cent of the possession, but could not find a way to break Dortmund down.
Tuchel’s Chelsea have been very solid defensively and the Champions League final could be similarly tight. Dortmund often set up with 10 men behind the ball in this cup final against Bayern and Tuchel may do the same with Chelsea in Porto.
An intense clash in Berlin saw few clear chances over 120 minutes but Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang should have won it before extra time, missing the target with a volley.
Dortmund defenders Sven Bender and Sokratis Papastathopoulos then failed to convert their penalties in the shoot-out, leaving Douglas Costa to wrap up for a 4-3 win for Bayern.
Bayern Munich 5-1 Borussia Dortmund: Bundesliga (2015)
Tuchel’s first Klassiker against Guardiola’s Bayern was a miserable experience, but it bodes well for Chelsea that Dortmund then kept clean sheets in each of their next two meetings.
It was all too easy for Bayern on this occasion, though, with a long ball over the Dortmund defence enabling Thomas Muller to open the scoring. Muller then made it 2-0 from the spot
Dortmund hit back through a strike by Aubameyang but moments into the second half ex-BVB striker Robert Lewandowski restored Bayern’s two-goal cushion with the first of his brace. A goal and an assist for Mario Gotze, another former Dortmund star who left for Bayern, indicated the scale of the task facing Tuchel at his new club.
Despite Chelsea lavishing £200 million worth of new talent on their squad last year it will be a similar story for Tuchel as he faces Guardiola again, with City having put together one of the most expensive groups of players in football history.
Mainz 0-2 Bayern Munich: Bundesliga (2014)
A comfortable scoreline does not reflect how tricky Bayern found this meeting seven years ago, the Bavarian giants needing 82 minutes to find a way through a resolute Mainz back line.
Bastian Schweinsteiger and Mario Gotze struck late to secure a victory that moved Bayern within one match of clinching the Bundesliga title in record-breaking fashion But, once again, Tuchel’s tactics were hard for Guardiola to combat. Someone at Dortmund had evidently taking notice of this as the German was appointed by BVB after a year’s sabbatical
During that break, Guardiola and Tuchel are reported to have had an intense meeting in a restaurant, using salt and pepper pots on the table to act as players. The respect between the pair is not in doubt and Tuchel’s improving record in their head-to-head meetings indicates the upcoming final will be an unmissable chapter in their growing rivalry.
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