“We’re going to build a team that nobody wants to play against. “
These were the words of Thomas Tuchel shortly after arriving at Stamford Bridge.
It’s fair to say he did it faster than expected.
And Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola knows it more than anyone else.
Pep has lost every game he has faced against Tuchel’s Chelsea since arriving in England, and none are more important than the last time the two tacticians faced each other.
The German beat Pep when Chelsea beat Manchester City 1-0 in the Champions League earlier this year to seal their first trophy with the West London club.
It came after a 2-1 win at the Etihad and an FA Cup semi-final victory at Wembley.
Tuchel hasn’t always had it easy against Pep, however.
In Germany, while at Dortmund and Bayern Munich respectively, Pep often got the better of his new management rival.
Pep vs Tuchel: the story so far
19/10/13: Bayern Munich 4-1 Mainz – Bundesliga
03/22/14: Mainz 0-2 Bayern Munich – Bundesliga
04/10/15: Bayern Munich 5-1 Dortmund – Bundesliga
05/03/16: Dortmund 0-0 Bayern Munich – Bundesliga
05/21/16: Bayern Munich * 0-0 Dortmund – DFB Pokal (* Bayern won 4-3 on penalties after extra time)
04/17/21: Chelsea 1-0 Man City – FA Cup
08/05/21: Man City 1-2 Chelsea – Premier League
05/29/21: Man City 0 -1 Chelsea – Champions League
Guardiola wins: 4
Tuchel wins: 3
In their five meetings in Germany, Pep beat Tuchel four times, including on penalties in the DFB-Pokal final in 2016.
It was very different in England and Tuchel apparently learned from his losses to become a truly world class coach.
The Chelsea team he revitalized is proof of that.
The Blues look unstoppable at the moment, with £ 97.5million man Romelu Lukaku hitting in goal on his return to the club.
Their defense is also the best in world football since joining, with the club collecting extraordinarily more clean sheets (15) than they conceded goals (14) in the Premier League under Tuchel.
Guardiola tried to change it by not using either Rodri or Fernandinho in the Champions League final defeat.
Only time will tell if he has another trick up his sleeve for Saturday’s blockbuster clash.
You can follow Chelsea vs Man City live on talkSPORT from 12:30 pm.
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