Despite beating Manchester City twice in the last six weeks-once in the EPL and the other in the FA Cup, Pep Guardiola’s City team will start Saturday’s 2020/21 UEFA Champions League final as firm favourites over Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea team.
The reasons are obvious. And that is without the fact that Guardiola has an almost 100%-win rate when his team plays in final matches. According to Ruetir, Guardiola “has led his respective teams in 23 finals since he began his journey on the bench. He has won 19 times (82.6%) and lost 4 (17.4%).” Astounding data, but it gets more awesome when the finals he lost are revealed. A 2010-11 Copa del Rey final loss to Real Madrid; a 2013 DFL-Super Cup loss to Borussia Dortmund; a 2014 German Super Cup loss to Dortmund; and again 2014 German Super Cup loss to Wolfsburg and the task ahead of Tuchel and Chelsea looks more ominous.
City have the best team, best players and are managed by the best manager in world football while Chelsea ended the season with Jorginho as their highest goal scorer in the EPL with seven goals. Manchester City have been on a quest to become Europe’s leading football side since the Abu Dhabi United Group bought the club in 2008-the year Chelsea made its first trip to the UCL final stage, where they lost on penalties to Manchester United.
Guardiola joined the project in 2016 and has led the team to eight major titles but the big-eared UCL trophy has remained unachievable. The last time he held the trophy aloft was in his Barcelona days, where he won it twice in 2009 and in 2011. The 2011 triumph was the last time a Guardiola-led team actually reached the final. Despite all the riches and talents available to him at Bayern Munich-the best they got to was the semi-final stage and the final was proving to be a hoodoo until City’s class of 2021 roared all the way to the final match.
In a rare occurrence, Chelsea manager, Tuchel, is back in the UCL final, 12 months after he led his former side, PSG, to the same stage where they lost 1-0 to Bayern Munich. Four months into his stint as Chelsea’s manager, he is back at the same stage with a Chelsea team that was largely written off when he took the reins at the end of January when the club dispensed with the services of Frank Lampard.
Looking at the history of Guardiola’s involvement in the UCL finals shows a perfect record. Once, as a Barcelona player and twice as manager-Guardiola won all. Can he make it four out of four on Saturday? Don’t bet against him!
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