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Thomas Tuchel once sat around the dinner table talking tactics and moving salt and pepper pots around with Pep Guardiola.
Now the Chelsea boss gets to show his Manchester City counterpart what he learned when he moves his players around the Wembley pitch today.
Tuchel admits to being a student of the Guardiola way – and that the Spaniard schooled him regularly when they both managed in Germany.
But it was a dinner in a Munich restaurant seven years ago that helped the German gain a real insight into the City manager’s methods.
Tuchel said: “We had dinner and if you go out with Pep, why not talk about football? What else is there to talk about for me? For me he was a huge influence.
“We started to talk about tactics and it was nice. It was about positions on the field and what he did with Barcelona.
“He explained it to me and we had some drawings that we used on the table to go through the positions and the tactical situations on the field.
“We were talking about how he changed Barcelona when he bought Cesc Fabregas and what changed with the team and how to play Lionel Messi as a ‘false nine’ and how to create spaces, playing with a back three and a back four.
“Just two coaches talking normal stuff. We used what was on the table and sometimes it’s easier to explain a formation when you use something.”
Tuchel has faced Guardiola five times as a manager and never beaten him – and claims there is no greater challenge.
He said: “It’s not the ultimate test but it’s the highest level. Bayern Munich with Hansi Flick and City with Pep are the benchmark.
“When Pep was at Bayern, almost every game was a lesson for me. Later I had the opportunity to play against him. It was not always a pleasure.
“We have to accept there is a gap. But we truly believe we can close the gap for one game. We are absolutely confident we have a chance to win this game.”
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- Chelsea FC
- Pep Guardiola
- Thomas Tuchel
- Lionel Messi
- Barcelona FC
- Bayern Munich FC
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