Bayern Munich vs Chelsea Preview

UEFA Super Cup | Bayern Munich vs Chelsea | Friday 30 August | Prague | 20:15

It must be serendipity that has brought these two teams together for this annual showpiece of European football. Chelsea and Munich are of course the last two winners of the European Cup, and it was Bayern Munich who Chelsea famously defeated two years ago to win Europe’s major showpiece. The match also rekindles the feud between Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho; a rivalry born when Inter defeated Barcelona on the way to their historic treble under Mourinho. Chelsea have looked tentative in their opening league matches, clearly still adapting to the Special One’s return. Bayern Munich are also in a strange transition period following their treble winning success of last year. This trophy often plays host to drab encounters that lack intensity. This should be different as both teams aim to lay down a marker of intent in their periods of transition.

To Win (90mins)
Bayern Munich 15/20
Chelsea 34/10
Draw 27/10

Chelsea have been workmanlike thus far under the second coming of Jose Mourinho. The dismal match against United on Monday reflected a side still grappling with its own identity. Mourinho’s decision to play with a false nine and pack the midfield failed dismally. Both Schurrle and De Bruyne looked out of their depth trying to break down the champions, which leads me to think that they will likely tinker with the starting eleven come Friday night.

The eternal question that remains is who will play up front? The Torres experiment has just not worked at Chelsea. He can’t even seem to control the ball properly when in possession. He is obviously uncomfortable at Chelsea and frankly it almost seems cruel that he hasn’t moved on to another club. Lukaku could be the man this Friday. He possesses a similar physical prowess to Didier Drogba; a man renowned for his ability to shine in European ties. I feel that Juan Mata will likely get the opportunity to prove that he is more than just a luxury item at the club.

The combination of Lampard and Ramires as the deeper midfield players is one that seems etched in stone, so I wouldn’t expect that to change too much. Considering the 4-1-4-1 system that Guardiola is pushing at Munich, there will be an added emphasis on Cole and Ivanovic. They will have to be wary of Ribery and Robben as well as the overlapping runs of Lahm and Alaba. If they are able to keep the wingers quiet they can begin to get a foothold in the match. Ramires will have to outdo even himself in the energy department if they don’t want to get overrun in midfield.

Bayern Munich
Bayern Munich have actually endured a very similar start to Chelsea this season, winning their opening few games whilst drawing this week. Guardiola decided to rest some of his key players in Tuesday’s 1-1 draw with Freiburg, and he will also be sweating on the fitness of key midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger. He will be without Thiago Alcantara; the talented Spaniard is out of action until around November due to an injury sustained in their 2-0 victory over Nuremberg.

Munich actually broke a Bundesliga record on the weekend against Nuremberg, dominating the game with a staggering 81% of the possession. That is clearly a manifestation of Guardiola’s tika taka philosophy. There is just such a wealth of talent in this side that it is hard to really pinpoint fundamental weaknesses. If Schweinsteiger doesn’t play then Javi Martinez will likely deputise in the critical holding role. That could be an area that Chelsea will look to exploit. The likely centre-half duo, Dante and Boateng, have not always been completely reliable, but both players have grown enormously in the last six months.

Guardiola has yet to be sold on Mario Gotze by the looks of things. They will likely let Kroos and Muller start in the middle of the park; a determined combination that counterbalances the marauding instincts of Robben and Ribery. This will leave Mandzukic with the task of ‘leading the line’; an extremely fluid and multi-dimensional line.

VERDICT: Bayern Munich 15/20
You have to back Bayern for this match. Chelsea look solid at the back in the Mourinho tradition, but they just seem to be lacking ideas in the last quadrant of the field. Mata could be the man to unlock the Bayern defence but I wouldn’t be surprised if the game takes on a similar dimension to the European Cup final from 2012. Bayern will dominate possession with their 4-1-4-1 system while Chelsea will threaten from set-pieces, with Lampard’s shooting and crossing looking particularly fierce this season. Ribery and Robben will be the difference with their ability to get beyond the centre backs, while Chelsea may pinch one from a set piece.

Written by Damien Kayat for @Hollywoodbets. Check out the Hollywood Sports Blog here!

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