Both teams are controlled by true football-mad people on the pitch. City coach Josep “Pep” Guardiola is aiming for his third Champions League triumph after having already twice succeeded with his home club FC Barcelona. For the German Chelsea coach Thomas Tuchel it is the second final after the one he lost last year with Paris Saint-Germain against Bayern.
Both clubs are also driven by two of the finest investors in sport: Sheikh Mansur bin Sajed al-Nahjan from Abu Dhabi with the current champions from Manchester, the Russian Roman Abramowitsch with the “Blues” from London.
Investments in billions bring success
As the Spanish sports newspaper “Marca” calculated, Sheikh Mansur and Abramowitsch have already spent around four billion euros on players since the 2003/04 season when the Russian acquired Chelsea. The ruling family from the Emirate of Abu Dhabi joined City in 2008, and since then there have been five Premier League titles. In the previous century, the “Sky Blues” only won the English championship in 1936/37 and 1967/68.
Before the Abramovich era, Chelsea could only celebrate the title in 1954/55, and since then they have also won the league five times. City is in the final of the European football championship for the first time this year, and Chelsea for the third time. In 2012 the Londoners won the “Home Final” against FC Bayern in Munich, and in 2008 Manchester United prevailed.
In addition, there are only a few Englishmen in both teams in leading roles on the field. For Manchester it is Raheem Sterling and defenders John Stones and Kyle Walker, for Chelsea Ben Chilwell and Mason Mount.
Champions League, Finale
Saturday, 9 p.m .:
Manchester City – Chelsea
Porto, Estadio do Dragao, SR Lahoz (ESP)
Manchester City: Ederson – Walker, Stones, Ruben Dias, Sintschenko – Bernardo Silva, Fernandinho, Gündogan – Mahrez, De Bruyne, Foden
Chelsea: E. Mendy – James, Thiago Silva, Rüdiger – Azpilicueta, Jorginho, Kante, Chilwell – Pulisic, Werner, Mount
Chelsea with a tailwind
For this purpose, two German players, Timo Werner and Kai Havertz, were hired at Chelsea to enable success. Above all, Werner has recovered under the German coach Tuchel after he had not been able to meet the expectations under his predecessor and club icon Frank Lampard.
Tuchel, who started his tenure at Chelsea after moving from Paris Saint-Germain with 14 unbeaten games, is accordingly optimistic. “We’re here to win the title,” said the 47-year-old German, who is now friends with Guardiola. The story of a joint tactical discussion years ago with the help of salt and pepper shakers in a Munich restaurant both tell with a grin.
Chelsea won the last two compulsory duels, in the Cup semi-finals and in the Premier League. City was still champion, Chelsea fourth. “It is of course good for us to have won two different competitions against ManCity recently. That gives us the necessary trust, ”emphasized Tuchel, who also speaks of a“ slight outsider role ”.
“It will be about the momentum”
Guardiola expects a close final. “It will be about the momentum,” said the Spaniard during a press conference on Friday. “Everyone wants to win.” Guardiola paid Tuchel great respect. “I think he’s an exceptional coach,” said the Catalan. “Of course I want to win against him, just as he wants to win against me, I think.”
The two coaches are clever tacticians and – regardless of Guardiola’s penchant for well-groomed short-pass offensive – are on good organization that begins with a stable anchorage in the defense. In the current Champions League season, both ManCity and Chelsea have only received four goals.
Tactical foxes in a direct duel
“They are both very, very similar,” said City player Ilkay Gündogan, who also knows Tuchel from his time in Dortmund. “They are tactically at a very high level and can react to all problems within a game. I expect a game at a very high level. “
In the semi-finals, for example, Chelsea repeatedly beat Real Madrid in the first leg with quick attacks against N’Golo Kante. City prevailed against Paris SG and barely let the French play their strengths. Both lines of defense are in good shape and are tightly organized. The Brazilian veteran Thiago Silva stands out among the Londoners and the Portuguese Ruben Dias among the “Citizens”.
Spectators welcome, Thiem keeps your fingers crossed
The fans can also see who is actually the better team in the stadium. On Thursday and Friday, a number of English fans got in the mood for the finale in the Portuguese port metropolis.
UEFA and the local authorities have given the okay for 16,500 spectators at the Estadio do Dragao, the incidence figures in Portugal are manageable. On the other hand, as in the previous year, Istanbul has to watch, which again lost the final due to the bad CoV situation.
Dominic Thiem watches from Paris, where Austria’s tennis hero is preparing for the French Open. The 27-year-old from Lower Austria is an avowed Chelsea fan: “I’m sure I’ll see it. This is an absolute highlight and I hope that the second Champions League title will come. “