Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel already knows how to beat Man City in the Champions League final

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Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel will be looking to lay his hands on the UEFA Champions League trophy for the first time in his managerial career when his side locks horns with Manchester City in the final on Saturday evening in Porto.

The Blues, who secured a fourth-placed finish in the Premier League this season on Sunday afternoon, despite suffering a 2-1 defeat at Villa Park against Aston Villa, will be looking to complete what has been a memorable journey, that has featured wins over Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid, on a high.

But whilst Chelsea will not be short on confidence, purely because of the scalps they have claimed along the route to the final, they will know just how tough a test will be standing between themselves and ensuring the most coveted prize in European club football is part of their hand luggage for the return trip to west London

City, who will be looking to win the competition for the first time in their history, will represent, arguably, the sternest challenge that Chelsea have faced in the Champions League this season, meaning they will have to be at their very, very best if they are to stop Pep Guardiola from winning the trophy for the third time in his career.

However, Chelsea have already faced City twice since Tuchel arrived at Stamford Bridge towards the end of January, getting the better of them in both the FA Cup semi-finals and the Premier League. The Blues ran out 1-0 winners at Wembley, before coming from a goal down to beat them 2-1 at the Etihad Stadium earlier this month.

With that in mind, it would be fair to say that Tuchel has got Guardiola’s number. He knows how to get the better of this City side that has just scooped their third Premier League crown in the last four seasons. But what does he believe it takes to find a way past them?

“Tomorrow, if there will be new stuff tactically. I don’t know. I haven’t decided yet.

“I have to look at everybody and see who is available and who is a bit overloaded. There is a high possibility that we will see some changes.”

In total, Tuchel made five changes to his team that day that had beaten Madrid during the week, as Chelsea battled back from a goal down to win, recovering from 1-0 down at half time to win the game 2-1, courtesy of goals from Marcos Alonso and Ziyech. Again, though, luck was involved, as Sergio Aguero spurned a golden chance to double City’s lead just before half time from the penalty spot. His Panenka attempt, however, was easy pickings for Edouard Mendy.

The league meeting earlier this month came in very different circumstances. A place in a cup final was not up for grabs and both sides came into the contest off the back of booking their places in the Champions League final, beating Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain respectively.

With that said, plus taking into account that this game was away from London, meaning extra travel time would be taken into account, Tuchel hinted that he would make tactical tweaks to get the better of City again.

“I’ve not decided yet,” Tuchel said the day before the league meeting when asked if he would change his style from the previous FA Cup meeting. “We have one day less to recover and we have an away game.

“One day less is quite the key factor in these times of the season so I can imagine that we maybe need fresh legs and minds tomorrow. Some hungry guys who deserve to show together that they have a chance in a big fixture.

 

“Tomorrow, if there will be new stuff tactically. I don’t know. I haven’t decided yet.

“I have to look at everybody and see who is available and who is a bit overloaded. There is a high possibility that we will see some changes.”

In total, Tuchel made five changes to his team that day that had beaten Madrid during the week, as Chelsea battled back from a goal down to win, recovering from 1-0 down at half time to win the game 2-1, courtesy of goals from Marcos Alonso and Ziyech. Again, though, luck was involved, as Sergio Aguero spurned a golden chance to double City’s lead just before half time from the penalty spot. His Panenka attempt, however, was easy pickings for Edouard Mendy.

 

With that said, Tuchel does have a knowhow for getting the better of Guardiola, both by accepting that luck can be a factor and that he can tweak his style in specific scenarios.

Saturday’s game, though, will be much different. It is a Champions League final. Heroes can be born. Memories can be made to last a lifetime. This one will mean more to both clubs and both sets of players than the recent meetings.

But if the German can nail his tactics to perfection for a third time, the one that completes the hat-trick of wins over Guardiola is bound to feel the sweetest.

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