The massive, mouth-watering clash of titans we have been waiting for all summer is here.
This year’s Super Cup will kick off on Friday at 20:45 CET at the Eden Arena in Prague, Czech Republic.
The highly anticipated clash is between Pep Guardiola’s Bayern Munich and José Mourinho’s Chelsea – who of course know each other well from their shall we say, tempestuous relationship as Real Madrid and Barcelona coaches respectively.
The last time the two clubs met was the dramatic 2011/12 Champions League final at the Allianz Arena. With a 1-1 draw after 120 minutes, Chelsea were the side who triumphed in a dramatic penalty shoot out after exceptional performances from Petr Cech and Didier Drogba.
In following treble winner Jupp Heynckes, Guardiola has a huge act to follow and will be thankful for the support of president Uli Hoeness. Supporting someone you spent so much money on after sacking the best European coach last year is hardly unexpected and despite Bayern claiming Heynckes stepped down willingly, the coach himself has a different version of events, claiming he was pushed out the door. Unlike Roman Abramovich after sacking his Champions League winning coach, Roberto Di Mateo, Hoeness felt the need to justify his decision to fans, the public and maybe Jose Mourinho, who a few days ago said: “It was Jupp Heynckes’s Bayern that was the best team in Europe. Now they have a new coach and new players – and I’m not sure if they are still as good.”
Uli Hoeness suggested the reunion of Mourinho and Guardiola would be the most interesting aspect of the match. He observed: “It’s a fascinating duel and adds something extra to Friday’s game. I really like it. Guardiola on the one side with us and Mourinho in the other corner at a top team like Chelsea.”
We all agreed on that back in June Mr. Hoeness!
So Uli continued with: “In Spain, Pep and José Mourinho had several big fights over the years — our coach won them by a mile.” Quite if he saw Mourinho vs. Guardiola stats before hiring the latter remains to be seen after that quip.
Understandably after losing a final in their own back yard, Bayern players talk about revenge, with Manuel Neuer looking like Guardiola’s new Xavi -“We still have something to clear with them, and take revenge, so hopefully we can win in Prague.”
José Mourinho – master of the mind games – revels when others fall for his words and talk more than him so that is 1-0 to Chelsea before the game has even begun.
Chelsea’s approach to Super Cup game is in stark contrast. Number one priotiry for the Blues this season is the Premier League, although no fan would mind another Super Cup trophy, especially after last year’s debacle vs. Atletico de Madrid under the Interim One.
Mourinho sees the game as a test for upcoming UCL season since his new Chelsea team is young but no one should ever underestimate his hunger for wins and trophies.
With Alcantara and Martinez injured – Neuer, Dante, Boateng, Alaba, Lahm; Schweinsteiger, Müller, Kroos, Ribéry , Robben and Mandzukic sound like Guardiola’s likely line up.
Those players are as good in Pep’ favourite diamond formation as in any other – frankly, they are great players.
Although Cech has more clean sheets than Neuer in the last five games; both him, the Chelsea defence and midfield will have a tough job defending their goal from Guardiola’s team.
Mourinho’s line up could well differ from the ones that we have seen thus far this season, with skipper JT unlikely to play fourth game in a row – especially one that does not count towards three points. Another intriguing subplot will be the situation surrounding Juan Mata, who is literally playing for his life at the club. Romelu Lukaku may well feature as Chelsea look for their chances in fast counter attacks and set pieces.
Once again, Bayern Munich are favourites and Chelsea are underdogs. Some things are yet to change. Anyone who saw the Spanish Super Cup between Mourinho and Guardiola will tell you that it may be considered a show piece trophy, but anyone who thinks it will be a friendly encounter is misguided at best.
Who will be victorious? Comment below or tweet us @Lafootyettes.