Fate always seems to bring Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho back together, who stand at the center of the European Super Cup clash between Bayern Munich and Chelsea to determine which of the European Club Cups holder is the better team entering the new seasons.
There’s also somewhat of revenge in mind for Bayern players, with the loss to Chelsea in the 2012 Champions League final, after penalty kicks, probably still sitting somewhere in the back of their minds, despite following that up with an almost perfect season to claim the treble.
Trouble in paradise? Somewhat. It’s not Bayern dropping points for the first time this season (a draw in Freiburg), but it’s about the team not looking too dominating in the new 4-1-4-1 tactic deployed by Pep Guardiola, which uses only one defensive midfielder in Bastian Schweinsteiger (who isn’t 100% fit), while two attacking midfielders play in front of him. It was Mario Gotze and Toni Kroos in their latest match, but Guardiola has plenty of option to choose from and loves using Shaqiri in one of those spots.
For Chelsea, it’s been a similar start to the one Bayern have had – a couple of wins and a draw, but without actually playing too well. Jose Mourinho keeps changing the situation up front, starting with a different striker in each game and even using Andre Schurrle as his target man against Manchester United, which didn’t work too well.
If we’ve learned something from Mourinho on his new/old job, is that he isn’t going to play attacking football if he doesn’t have to. Bayern will surely have possession, but it’s going to be interesting to see how Chelsea handle the ball movement, and how similar it’ll be to the way Mourinho played with Real Madrid, with his defensive game evolving and perfected over the three years he was there in order to neutralize his greatest rivals.
Chelsea didn’t go out to win the match against Manchester United, and it’ll probably be a very similar approach when they face Bayern Munich in Prague. One of the big problems for Chelsea will be Arjen Robben running down the right flank, with Ashley Cole clearly missing a step this season, and there might be a very clear shift in balance for Bayern Munich, with the entire team focusing on that side in order to find the goal.
Prediction – In his first revenge match with Chelsea, Mourinho lost to Real Madrid, but that was a friendly. This time it’s still personal with Guardiola, but there’s a good chance we’ll see a more fortified Chelsea team that relies on counter attacks and tries to make the most of Guardiola refusing to use Javi Martinez. No more than two goals in the first 90 minutes, with a draw being the most likely 90-minute ending. Beyond that, it’s a coin toss.