There have been seven Champions League finals between teams from the same country and all have been in this century. It’s not by chance. The centralization of European football has led to a grabbing of titles among them and this time it is England that picks up the glove, although in the final between the Manchester City and Chelsea, its directors are a Spanish and a German and there are only four English on the lawn.
The ‘perfidious Albion’ is once again the epicenter of world footballl, just two years after Liverpool beat Tottenham Hotspur in an insipid final in Madrid. Those two teams, also authorship, have yielded the baton to a newcomer like Manchester City, and to a Chelsea that still lives from what happened in Munich nine years ago.
There is no survivor in the squad from the team that beat Bayern Munich against the tide in 2012, although the spirit of that flame is still present and it is what gives them hope. Because City are favorites again.
They do not weigh the two consecutive victories that the ‘Blues’ bring. 1-0 in the FA Cup semifinals and 1-2 in the Premier. These two slaps from Thomas Tuchel to Pep Guardiola they are past, although they demonstrate the ability of the German to be the counterpoint to the strategy of the Spanish.
The solid and defensive game of the German, who already lost last year with Paris Saint Germain, has managed to prevail over the perfect symphony that Guardiola plays, with the best instruments since he arrived in Manchester five years ago. At last her cycle climaxes. After accumulating domestic titles, that of Sampedor caresses the day for which he signed for City.
All the money invested by the sheikhs makes sense when the Champions League anthem receives City in Do Dragao, where about 5,000 fans from each team will gather in the stands. To the rhythm of Oasis’s “Wonderwall”, as Coldplay’s “Viva la Vida” was once, the Phil Foden, Kevin de Bruyne and Riyad Mahrez, will try to complete the conquest of oil over European football. What PSG did not achieve in 2020.
Chelsea is neither the ombudsman nor the hero of history. The team that spent the most last summer regained glory under billionaire Roman Abramovich, but that was so long ago that it is customary to see him in these instances, no matter how his first final in nine years.
If Tuchel conquers the ‘Orejona’, he will have revolutionized a team adrift in just five months. If Guardiola does so, he will have turned a long-term project into success, in which he has invested the most time and which has taken five years from his existence.
The one who stands as the winner will be the sensation of the moment, the other will be only the second most difficult competition to win. So Guardiola, unanimously the best coach in recent years, accumulates ten years without touching this trophy. A countdown that can die tomorrow.
Manchester City: Ederson; Cancello, Dias, Laporte, Walker; Rodri, Gündogan, De Bruyne; Mahrez, Foden and Silva.
Chelsea: Mendy; Chilwell, Silva, Rudiger, Christensen, Azpilicueta; Jorginho, Kanté; Mount, Werner, and Havertz.
Referee: Mateu Lahoz (ESP)
Stadium: Do Dragao (Porto)
Hour: 21:00 CET (19 GMT).