CHRIS SUTTON: Cancelo battle with Grealish will be key in UCL clash

CHRIS SUTTON: Thomas Tuchel once had the wood over Pep Guardiola but his Bayern Munich side won’t be able to dominate Man City… Joao Cancelo’s battle with Jack Grealish will be key in Tuesday’s Champions League clash

  • Manchester City face Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter finals
  • Bayern boss Thomas Tuchel has a good record against Pep Guardiola
  •  Fullback Joao Cancelo could have a big impact against his parent club

For a while, Thomas Tuchel had Pep Guardiola sussed. 

Chelsea beat Manchester City three times on the trot in 2020-21, totally destroying their dream of a Quadruple. 

First in the FA Cup. Then in the Premier League. Then in the Champions League final, on that fateful night in Porto when Guardiola didn’t use neither Rodri nor Fernandinho. 

Instead he used Ilkay Gundogan in defensive midfield and Kevin De Bruyne as a false nine. That muddled game plan only added to the train of thought that Guardiola can overthink these occasions. 

Tuchel walked into Chelsea and denied City their first Champions League trophy. Bayern Munich hope that can happen for them if Tuchel proves to be Guardiola’s kryptonite yet again in this clash of two stellar coaching minds.

Thomas Tuchel’s Bayern Munich will face Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City in the Champions League quarter final

Chris Sutton is backing Man City to just edge the German champions in the tie

 New gameplan needed for Bayern

Bayern are used to dominating the Bundesliga. They score the most goals, take the most shots, play the most passes, keep more possession than anyone else in Germany. 

Yet they would be naive to think that will come easily to them tonight. When Bayern beat Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League’s round of 16, they didn’t concede a goal over two games and they had only 45 per cent possession in the second leg. 

Their patience paid dividends. Bayern are a team packed with pace, from Alphonso Davies to Kingsley Coman to Serge Gnabry to Sadio Mane. I expect Tuchel will set them up to contain and counter in this first leg at the Etihad Stadium.

Do not forget it took one snappy pass from Mason Mount for Kai Havertz to score Chelsea’s winning goal against City in the 2021 Champions League final. Bayern, with their runners breaking behind, can exploit any space they are afforded.

Joao Cancelo may be given a chance to play for Bayern against his parent club

His battle with in-form Cityzens winger Jack Grealish could be a crucial one

 Revenge for Cancelo

When City sent Joao Cancelo on loan to Bayern, I was among those thinking, ‘Blimey, why have they let a player of his calibre leave?’ It felt like Guardiola was cutting off his nose to spite his face. 

Cancelo is now free to face his parent club. While he will still have respect for City, it is a part of sport where a player wants to put one over on an old manager. Cancelo will want to show why Guardiola was wrong to send him packing to Germany. 

Bayern have options across their back line but if Cancelo starts at right back, his handling of the ever-improving Jack Grealish will be key tonight. He’ll know his game inside and out after all of their training sessions together.

Prediction: 2-1 to Man City

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