Pep Guardiola and Thomas Tuchel will come head-to-head in the dugout again this weekend when Manchester City and Chelsea face off in the Champions League final.
The all-English affair in Porto is the latest meeting between the two sides, with Tuchel’s side having come out on top in the most recent encounters in the FA Cup and Premier League.
Chelsea’s turnaround under Tuchel has been stellar, with the German boss turning a disjointed squad under Frank Lampard into a side many expect to lock horns with City for Premier League glory next season.
While that may have surprised some, Guardiola has always been aware of the threat that Tuchel would be able to provide.
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In the book Pep Guardiola: The Evolution, which details the Catalan’s three years in Munich, author Marti Perarnau recalls a conversation he had with Guardiola in 2015 in which the esteem Tuchel was held became clear.
“I remember asking him in 2015 to name two coaches with the greatest potential,” wrote Perarnau. “Without a second’s hesitation, he said, ‘Tuchel and (Antonio) Conte’.”
The two coaches know each other well, having first met in 2014 when Tuchel was out of work, after deciding to leave Mainz.
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Tuchel has already spoken highly of Guardiola ahead of the cup final, stating: “When he was coach of Barcelona, I was watching almost every game.
“I was very impressed by the way they made success happen with the style they were playing: the academy guys, offensive football, ball possession.
“The most impressive thing about the team was the mentality of how they defended when they lost the ball. I learned a lot from watching the games and understanding more of the game; how adventurous and brave you can approach games. At this time I was a coach at the academy and then became a coach at Mainz. Almost every game was a lesson.”