When Thomas Tuchel was named the new Chelsea boss in January, Pep Guardiola gave him a warm welcome. “He’s a friend of mine,” Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola told reporters. “I’m glad to see him.” Guardiola may have a new perspective on Tuchel’s arrival at Stamford Bridge after four months. Read more about Guardiola and Tuchel working relations below.
With an FA Cup semi-final victory at Wembley, the old Borussia Dortmund coach has already denied City a chance at an unprecedented quadruple.
Tuchel’s revamped Chelsea squad now stands in the way of City realizing their Champions League dream in Istanbul later this month, after an inspiring victory over Real Madrid in midweek. Chelsea will face City in a Premier League dress rehearsal on Saturday, allowing the Blues to postpone City’s championship celebrations and set down another marker ahead of their end-of-season clash on May 29.
Tuchel, on the other hand, has more pressing questions. Chelsea is still in fourth place in the Premier League, three points ahead of West Ham in fifth place.
A loss at the Etihad Stadium will be a setback for the Blues’. This might affect their chances of qualifying for the Champions League next season before their trip to Turkey. Of note, neither boss is implying that this weekend’s meeting in Manchester would have any bearing on their upcoming European showdown.
Although, in secret, they’ll be watching for any signs of vulnerability. Any possible technical flaws that might be revealed on club football’s biggest stage.
Guardiola and Tuchel have a good working relationship and mutual admiration that dates back to their time in Germany.
Guardiola’s professional rivalry with his most influential recent opponents, Jurgen Klopp and Mauricio Pochettino, or the outright acrimony caused by Guardiola’s Clasico battles with Jose Mourinho, clearly does not occur.
Guardiola and Tuchel have spoken about football in private several times. Their talks include a rumored meeting in a Bavarian restaurant. They debated strategies using salt and pepper shakers as players. According to legend, the dialogue was so loud that waiters were afraid to stop them.
Tuchel faced former Bayern Munich manager Guardiola twice while in charge of Mainz. He lost both times, and the Krumbach native struggled to win either of their three meetings since transferring to Dortmund.
Tuchel’s first victory over a man he considers to be one of his greatest influences in football came in the FA Cup semi-final with Chelsea.
With the FA Cup third on City’s priority list, the league leaders rested core players and made seven amendments. Tuchel, on the other hand, went with a nearly full-strength lineup.
As a result, Saturday’s match should have a clearer indication of what to expect from both coaches in Istanbul.