UEFA Champions League Final in Porto, Man City vs Che Preview: Pep Guardiola seek first European crown with Manchester City against Thomas Tuchel resurgent Chelsea

UEFA Champions League Final, Man City vs Che Preview: Pep Guardiola Manchester City against Thomas Tuchel resurgent Chelsea
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UEFA Champions League Final in Porto, Man City vs Che Preview: Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City are just 90-minutes away from their first European title but a transformed Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea stand in their way in Saturday’s all-English final in Porto. It is the third time, the Champions League final will be player between two Premier League side, out of which Chelsea has been part of two. The first all-English final took place in 2008 between Manchester United and Chelsea, followed by the 2018-19 clash between Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspurs. And these are the two clubs whose own transformations in the last two decades under mega-rich foreign owners have done the most to change forever the landscape of the Premier League.

UEFA Champions League Final in Porto, Man City vs Che Preview:

Not so long ago, the idea of Chelsea and City meeting in the biggest club game of all would have been laughable. Their only previous encounter in a final came in 1986 in the short-lived Full Members Cup, when Chelsea won 5-4 at Wembley.  That was before the Premier League and modern Champions League existed, before Roman Abramovich bought Chelsea in 2003 and before the Abu Dhabi takeover of City in 2008.

The west London club had a head-start in terms of becoming big-spenders and as a club they have the experience of this stage before, having beaten Bayern Munich on penalties on their own turf in the 2012 final. They have also won the Europa League twice since then.

City, though, have never made it this far but are finally here, after 13 years of enormous investment from the Gulf and four previous years of disappointment under Guardiola, the man who was hired principally to win them the European Cup.

We are quite a similar team to what we were in the past when we were knocked out. The margins and little details this year fell down on our side whereas before it was the opposite,” said Guardiola, who is looking to win his third Champions League as a coach, a decade after his last victory with Barcelona.

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UEFA Champions League Final in Porto, Man City vs Che Preview: Pep Guardiola’s men start as favourite

After romping to the Premier League title, their third in four seasons, and having also won the League Cup this season, a City side starring the likes of Kevin De Bruyne and Ruben Dias are the clear favourites at the Estadio do Dragao.  Chelsea, though, have beaten City twice in the last six weeks, first in the FA Cup semi-final and then at the Etihad Stadium in the league.

I could not expect a tougher opponent,” Guardiola said.

UEFA Champions League Final in Porto, Man City vs Che Preview: A transformed Chelsea side

They have been transformed since Thomas Tuchel replaced Frank Lampard as coach in January, even if they did finish the domestic season with three defeats in four games including the FA Cup final against Leicester City.

We have arrived here. This is an incredible achievement and once you arrive you want to be on your very best, but it’s City with Pep on the other side who are maybe at the moment the best in Europe, maybe in the world,” said Tuchel, who was given a boost as fitness concerns Edouard Mendy and N’Golo Kante returned to training on Wednesday.

It is on us again to close the gap for 90 minutes and the good thing is we did it already.  In football everything is possible and in a final everything is possible.

With Portuguese authorities allowing the Estadio do Dragao to be filled to 33 percent capacity, there will be 16,500 spectators in total, including 6,000 fans of each club.

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Portuguese police have said dealing with such an influx of English fans as the country opens its borders again will be “an operation of great complexity”