Friends since they met in Germany, Pep Guardiola and Thomas Tuchel face each other in Porto for the Champions League final scheduled for Saturday night between Manchester City and Chelsea. Since 2013, the sports record tilts in favor of the Spaniard.
Battle of tacticians, Saturday night in Porto for the Champions League final between Manchester City and Chelsea (live on RMC Sport 1 and RMC Story). After a confrontation in the FA Cup and another in the Premier League, Pep Guardiola (50) and Thomas Tuchel (47) will face each other for the third time this season. When greeting each other during the pre-match protocol, the two men will undoubtedly allow themselves more than a simple courtesy greeting.
They do not hide by their friendship, born a little less than ten years ago in Germany. Whenever they have had the chance, praise from one rains down for the other. As for the field: the advantage clearly leans in favor of Pep Guardiola, with four wins and a draw against two defeats. Except that these setbacks are very fresh.
>> Subscribe to RMC Sport offers to watch the Champions League
In Germany, no defeat of Guardiola
The first time Thomas Tuchel and Pep Guardiola faced each other, it was therefore in the Bundesliga, during the 2013-2014 season. The first had been in Mainz for a while, the second had just arrived at Bayern Munich. The result is logical and clear: the Bavarians won 4-1, even if Mayençais led at half-time.
Whether with Mainz or with Borussia Dortmund, Thomas Tuchel did not win on his land against the Catalan’s Bayern. But if he also took a slap by being at the head of the BVB (5-1 in 2015), the German then went very close to two victories. First with a 0-0 dominated in the league, then in the 2016 German Cup final which ended on penalties. Performance which, given the intrinsic difference in level of the two teams (Lewandowski was already in the ranks of Bayern) was already a small feat.
In fact, the one who would become the coach of Paris Saint-Germain had to wait for Carlo Ancelotti to take over from Pep Guardiola to finally beat the Munich juggernaut.
In England, Tuchel turns the tide
During his two and a half years, Thomas Tuchel did not have the opportunity to rub shoulders with Pep Guardiola. At Chelsea, the reunion took place three months after his signing. In the semi-final of the FA Cup in mid-April, Chelsea mastered Manchester City (1-0). The Blues put it back in early May, three weeks before the Champions League final, by winning at the last minute against the Skyblues in the league (2-1).
Be careful, however, not to jump to conclusions. Even if it is true that Thomas Tuchel’s 3-4-3 gave convincing results (he had also used it in their last confrontation in Germany), it was each time against reshuffled teams of Manchester City. In the FA Cup, Pep Guardiola had turned to face the sequence of matches. In the league, the rotation occurred a few days after the qualification obtained against PSG.
What Tuchel says about Guardiola:
Before the FA Cup reunion in April: “When Guardiola was the coach of FC Barcelona, I watched almost every game. I was very impressed with how they succeeded with the style of play practiced. The youngsters at the training center , attacking football, possession … what was most impressive was the mentality with which the team defended when the ball was lost. I learned a lot from watching the games, better understood the game and how you could approach the matches in an adventurous and courageous way.
In 2015 in the columns of Bild: “Even though I admire him, I don’t want to copy him or be a clone of Pep. It wouldn’t work to copy his coaching. When you train or react differently, something new results. I’m confident in the path I am taking “.
Before the Champions League final, at the microphone of RMC Sport: “He showed Barcelona, Munich, and now City, that he creates very domineering and very strong teams. It’s always a certain style, it was a different style in Barcelona and Munich. He’s still adapting. It’s always tough games against him. “
What Guardiola says about Tuchel:
In 2016, when Pep Guardiola was about to leave the Bundesliga: “I will miss Thomas a lot, a lot. I learned a lot playing against his teams.”
On Thomas Tuchel’s arrival at Chelsea last January: “He’s an exceptional coach. I’m sure he’s going to be successful. I’m happy to see him here. When I was at Bayern, I He played against him in Mainz. Last season in Dortmund he did an amazing job. The way the team played was remarkable. With Bayern we had to fight a lot to win the title. He is a friend and I am happy to see it “.
Before the Champions League final: “I was working at Bayern, and he had organized a dinner in Munich (…). We talked about football, football, football and football. I learned a lot. Good food, good wine, it’s always a good time to share. It’s a good memory. Since then, we have grown well. We have a good relationship “.
They knew them both:
Ilkay Gündogan, who played under the orders of the two coaches: “They are very similar. They are two great managers, at a very high tactical level. They are both able to handle the difficulties they can encounter during a match. “.
Michael Reschke, former technical director of Bayern Munich at Parisian: “Bayern had won both games, but Pep had been marked by the style of play of [Mayence]. Despite Munich’s means, Thomas Tuchel had wanted to play to win, and he liked this philosophy. “Then about a first interview between the two men, recounted in The Athletic: “It was like watching two great chess masters. Or Cicero and Socrates talking about football philosophy. I was just a spectator. They spoke a mixture of German and English and didn’t use any terms. scientific, but it was sometimes difficult to follow them “.
The seven matches in detail
19/10/2013 Bayern-Mayence: 4-1 (Bundesliga)
22/3/2014 Mainz-Bayern: 0-2 (Bundesliga)
4/10/2015 Bayern-Dortmund: 5-1 (Bundesliga)
5/3/2016 Dortmund-Bayern: 0-0 (Bundesliga)
21/5/2016 Bayern-Dortmund: 0-0, 4-3 in the tabs (German Cup final)
17/4/2021 Chelsea-Man. City: 1-0 (FA Cup semi-final)
8/5/2021 Man. City-Chelsea: 1-2 (Premier League)