Manchester City are set to begin a new era under Pep Guardiola this summer, and the Citizens have a fantastic set of clashes to prepare themselves for the upcoming season, including one against his former club Bayern Munich.
Pre-season matches are important for the managers, as they get to assess their squad quality and fitness. In the case of managers who have only recently taken over at the club, like Jose Mourinho at Manchester United, Antonio Conte at Chelsea and Guardiola himself, it becomes even more crucial as it gives the players time to adapt to the manager’s philosophies and working methods, while also helping them to get fit in time for the start of the new season.
Guardiola will start his tenure as City manager by leading his men out against top European opposition who are also looking to find their feet after a long summer. He faces his former club Bayern Munich in Germany, before they jet off to China to face Manchester United and Borussia Dortmund. They finish their tour with a match against Arsenal. This pre-season may be one of the most important he has ever presided over and these games will surely go a long way in helping the 45-year-old shape the team in his image.
Guardiola’s first match as City manager would see him go back to his old stomping ground, the Allainz Arena. His first match would be against Carlo Ancelotti’s Bayern Munich side and his former club would surely be looking to show him what he left behind. All eyes will mostly be on Guardiola to see what kind of football he’s going to make City play, and how much of his philosophy his team would have adapted to since he took over.
National Stadium, Beijing
International Champions Cup
Arguably the most anticipated match of the summer, as two of the greatest managers in the world go head-to-head in China at the International Champions Cup. Though a game and a tournament of little consequence, both Mourinho and Guardiola will be under intense pressure to win this game and we can be sure that neither will be taking it lightly. It will be the start of a new chapter in their long rivalry and both will be well aware of the psychological edge a victory would give one over the other.
Longgang Stadium, Shenzhen
International Champions Cup
Guardiola will know them well from his time in Germany. But Dortmund won’t be the force they once were, with Hummels, Mkhitaryan and Gundogan all having left the Westfalenstadion. However, Guardiola will not take Thomas Tuchel’s side lightly and even though they are significantly weaker and still recovering from losing out such top players, they will be great opposition for the former Barcelona manager to test his team against. City will surely take the opportunity to keep a close eye on Aubameyang and see how he fares. Should he impress, Guardiola and City may once again dig deep into their pockets to get their man.
Ullevi Stadium, Gothenburg, Sweden
It has rarely ended well for Wenger when he’s clashed with a team managed by Guardiola. Now Pep will look to continue with his great record against the veteran Frenchman as they come up against Arsenal in their final pre-season game in Sweden. Barcelona and Bayern have heaped misery on Arsenal over the past few years. Now Guardiola will certainly look to continue the trend with City.