Fresh off a historic treble, Manchester City needs no introduction and represents a brutal start to this tranche of Bayern Munich pre-season friendlies.
Just three and a half months have passed since they humiliated Bayern in the UEFA Champions League (UCL) quarter-finals. And if anyone expects Man City to go easier on Bayern this time because of the friendly setting, they are in for a shock.
A repeat of the 3-2-4-1 formation that saw Bayern held to a 1-1 draw at the Allianz Arena is likely, giving Die Roten an almighty task if they want to gain control of the midfield and avoid chasing shadows.
Notably, City hasn’t lost a preseason friendly since going down 1-0 to Girona in August 2017. And even that is hard to use as a fair yardstick, given City Football Group (CFG)’s stake in the club, which was made that same year. After all, it would be poor diplomacy for Man City’s main musclemen to launch into risky challenges against what amounts to a new sister team.
Just three days before taking on Bayern, City are also engaged in J-League World Challenge action, where they will play Yokohama F-Marinos. Like Girona, they are part-owned by the CFG, so it can be expected that Pep Guardiola’s men will reserve most of their energy and resources for the Bayern clash.
Amongst them will likely be the £25m acquisition of Mateo Kovacic, who directly replaces the departing Ilkay Gundogan. Assuming City go full strength, he’ll play alongside Bernardo Silva, the man who notched a goal and assist against Bayern in their Etihad humbling back in April.
Given the time difference and conditions in Tokyo, Man City’s three extra days of acclimatizing to the Far East also play into their hands.
Prediction: Bayern 0, Manchester City 2