The Bet Enthusiast Report – UEFA Super Cup
Bayern Munich are as short as 1.36 to win the UEFA Super Cup and 1.72 to beat Chelsea in 90 minutes. The holders of the Champions League and Europa League meet in Prague on Friday evening to determine who is the best side in Europe. However, whatever the outcome Munich showed much the better form of the two sides last season during which they were champions of Germany and Europe.
The date for this match has worked in Chelsea’s favour in the context of the early running for the Premier League. Their home match against Aston Villa was brought forward which means they began the new season with two matches in front of their own fans. Those matches were both won and the hard earned draw against Manchester United means Chelsea are the league leaders though they have played one more game than the other leading contenders.
There was no doubting Munich’s status as the best team in Europe last season and arguably they have the strongest squad in world football. The nucleus of the German national team has been strengthened with the contribution from Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery, internationals for Holland and France.
No European side has ever won the World Cup in South America but Germany have the strength to break that trend in Brazil next summer. The side brings together the best players from Munich and Borussia Dortmund but it is Munich that supply the more influential players.
The German champions were massively impressive in winning the Champions League last season. They combine strong defending with midfield players that can move quickly from box to box and forwards with good scoring records at the highest level. The whole project came together perfectly in the 7-0 aggregate win over Barcelona in the semi-final of the Champions League
Lionel Messi was not fully fit for that tie but even a more telling contribution from the best player in the world would not have changed the outcome. Messi was given no space to operate and was closed down by two or more defenders when he received the ball. Munich’s strategy was so effective that Messi moved further away from areas where he could do most damage to receive the ball.
Similar tactics will probably be adapted against Chelsea which means Oscar and Eden Hazard will have a limited amount of space in which to influence the game. That would suggest there will be few chances for Chelsea but Fernando Torres doesn’t seem to have the confidence to convert a high proportion of opportunities. Wayne Rooney looks unlikely to move to London so Jose Mourinho will have to look elsewhere to add a proven goalscorer to his squad.
Chelsea won the Europa League last season after beating Benfica in the final. They scored late in the game to secure a first Europa League trophy in the history of the club. They wasted a golden opportunity to win the Champions League in 2008 when John Terry missed a crucial penalty against Manchester United but made amends in winning the competition two years ago with Robert Di Matteo in charge.
Mourinho wants to stay at Chelsea for an extended period of time but lengthy contracts are not part of Roman Abramovich’s strategy. When Chelsea visited Manchester United on Monday Mourinho was the fourth man in charge over the last four years of the fixture. Even the Special One will have to win the Premier League and/or the Champions League over the next three years to keep his job.
Chelsea played without a striker on Monday night Old Trafford. Their intentions were clear almost from kick-off and that was to avoid defeat. It was a game of few chances and Chelsea got the point they played for, though the entertainment was poor for such a significant fixture. It was a better result for Chelsea than United but at least David Moyes did not lose the first home game in his new job.
Mourinho has made it clear that Ashley Cole, Frank Lampard and John Terry will play in most of the important games. That never looked likely under the previous regime and it was only late in the day that Lampard was offered a new contract. Mourinho looks like building his team around these three stalwarts from his first spell in charge, in addition to Petr Cech, still the first choice goalkeeper.
Munich have also added to their squad since winning the domestic double in Germany and Champions League last season. They have signed Mario Goetze from Dortmund and also have the option to buy Robert Lewandowski from that club before the start of next season. That means they will be stronger relative to Dortmund so this season will probably provide that side with the best opportunity to win honours before their closest rivals become even harder to beat next season.
Chelsea and Bayern Munich have played each other three times in the Champions League. Chelsea famously beat Munich in the final of the 2011/2012 competition after extra time and penalties. The match was played at Munich’s home ground where Cech made a crucial save from an Arjen Robben penalty during extra time.
The sides also met in the Champions League in 2005. Chelsea won the first leg at home 4-2 and were beaten 3-2 in the second leg which meant they progressed. The most recent match is more significant in identifying the potential winners of the Super Cup but on a neutral ground Chelsea should not be dismissed.
However, Munich lost just one home game in all competitions last season and won the Bundesliga by a massive 25 points. The Super Cup is not a priority for either club so until the starting line ups are announced its difficult to have an opinion. Pep Guardiola is the new manager of Munich and he will want to put down a marker for the rest of the season. The two sides are good enough to progress to the latter stages of the Champions League when they could meet again and Guardiola will be keen to establish an edge over Mourinho and his Chelsea side in Prague on Friday night.