Does Thomas Tuchel Finally Have Pep Guardiola’s Number?

It’s no secret that Chelsea have been a vastly different football club since Thomas Tuchel replaced Frank Lampard as manager of the side on January 25th. Chelsea are 17-6-3 in all competitions under Tuchel. The Blues have kept 18 clean sheets in 26 matches, a 72 percent rate of matches without surrendering a goal. Chelsea only kept clean sheets in 44 percent of matches this season when Lampard was in charge.

As Chelsea prepare to face Manchester City in the UEFA Champions League final, it’s City that are favored to lift the cup in the Champions League betting odds. And as much as the attention is being focused on the potential treble awaiting Manchester City – the Cityzens have already won the English Premier League and Carabao Cup titles – there’s also a double afoot for Chelsea.

“Thomas Tuchel” by Sky Sports is licensed under CC BY 3.0

After dispatching Manchester City 1-0 in the semi finals, it’s Chelsea who will face Leicester City in the May 15th FA Cup final. A win there and the Blues can turn two by overcoming City in the May 29th UEFA Champions League final in Porto, Portugal. Oddly enough, Chelsea have already played Porto this season in the UCL quarter finals, though not in Portugal. Due to the COVID-19 restrictions and regulations, both legs were to be played at a neutral venue. Sevilla’s ground in Spain was chosen as the site for both legs of the quarterfinal.

The UCL final will also add another chapter to the growing battle between rival managers Tuchel and Pep Guardiola of Manchester City. Though he’s never won a UCL final, Tuchel already has a leg up on Guardiola, because he’s actually guided a team in a UCL final. Tuchel was in charge of Paris Saint-Germain in last year’s 1-0 UCL final loss to Bayern Munich, oddly enough Guardiola’s old club.

Tuchel took PSG to the club’s first European final in 17 years. This year, he will become the first manager to take different sides to consecutive UCL finals. Despite his successful run at PSG, Tuchel was still dismissed as manager on Dec. 24th, 2020, just a month prior to being offered the Chelsea position.

Since his arrival in England, for the first time in their history, Tuchel has finally proven capable of getting the better of Guardiola from the rival touch lines.

Let’s look at the history of Tuchel vs Guardiola over the years.

October 19th, 2013: Bayern Munich (Guardiola) 4 Mainz (Tuchel) 1

In his first season at the helm of Bayern Munich, Guardiola also faced off with Tuchel for the first time. It actually got underway well from Tuchel’s point of view when Shawn Parker slotted Mainz into the lead.

The joy was short-lived. Thomas Muller scored twice and Arjen Robben and Mario Mandzukic netted singles as Bayern won going away.

March 22nd, 2014: Bayern Munich (Guardiola) 2 Mainz (Tuchel) 0

Tuchel would be leaving Mainz at the end of the season and he’d depart without tasting victory over Guardiola.

Bastian Schweinsteiger gave Bayern an 82-minute lead.Substitute Mario Gotze doubled their advantage.

October 4th, 2015: Bayern Munich (Guardiola) 5 Borussia Dortmund (Tuchel) 1

Moving to one of Germany’s more fashionable sides didn’t change Tuchel’s fortunes against Guardiola.

Robert Lewandowski and Muller each scored twice and Gotze added a single. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang tallied for Dortmund.

March 5th, 2016: Bayern Munich (Guardiola) 0 Borussia Dortmund (Tuchel) 0

It wasn’t a win. On the other hand, it wasn’t a defeat, so that had to at least be a bit of a relief for Tuchel.

Manuel Neuer kept the clean sheet for Bayern and Roman Bürki hung up the zero for Dortmund.

“Bayern Munich vs Borussia Dortmund” by Martin Meissner/AP is licensed under CC BY 3.0

May 3rd, 2016: Bayern Munich (Guardiola) 0 Borussia Dortmund (Tuchel) 0 (4-3 Bayern on penalties)

Bayern captured the DFB-Pokal final on penalties, keeping Guardiola without defeat against Tuchel.

April 17th, 2021: Chelsea (Tuchel) 1 Manchester City (Guardiola) 0

In the FA Cup semi final, Hakim Ziyech potted the only goal of the match in the 55th minute and Keppa Arrizabalaga kept a clean sheet.

The loss not only gave Tuchel his first win over Guardiola, it also prevented City from completing a quadruple of trophy wins this season – something Tuchel achieved at PSG last season.

May 17th, 2021: Chelsea (Tuchel) 2 Manchester City (Guardiola) 1

A win would clinch the EPL title for City and Raheem Sterling slotted them into a first-half lead.

Chelsea countered with second-half tallies from Ziyech and Marcos Alonso and Edouard Mendy saved a penalty from City’s Sergio Aguero.

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