UEFA Super Cup: FC Bayern vs. Chelsea | Preview

Alex Livesey

Be it revenge, hardware or a personal rivalry, Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho don't have to look far for motivation for Friday's UEFA Super Cup in Prague.

It was the most bitter defeat, but it was also the first chapter of the greatest season FC Bayern has ever known.

As of the twenty-third hour of the nineteenth day of the fifth month of 2012, every last player on Bayern Munich were losers, chokers, gutless athletes incapable of fulfilling the last true measure of glory, condemning their careers both domestic and international to failure.

Changes were made near the top of the Club's structure with Matthias Sammer replacing Christian Nerlinger as sporting director despite Jupp Heynckes keeping his job as the team tried to move forward from a second consecutive trophy-less season.

Dante, Martinez and Mandzukic were brought in among others and a year and six days later, the same gutless, choking losers officially became one of the best teams in history by beating rivals Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League Final.

Meanwhile, defending European Champions Chelsea had just squeaked past Benfica to win the other trophy in Europe, eliminating Sparta Prague, Steaua Bucharest, Rubin Kazan and FC Basel along the way.

At the time, Pep Guardiola had already been named the new manager of FC Bayern effective July 1, as Jose Mourinho was widely accepted to be the next manager of Chelsea though no formal announcement had been made.

Now, both teams are several matches into their respective seasons and the results are about the same in the sense that there is still a massive bit of unfulfilled potential in both squads.

Chelsea and Bayern are both undefeated in their leagues (and FCB in the DFB-Pokal) and are both coming off of a draw in their last match, albeit one tied Manchester United away and the other Freiburg.

Bayern followed up an hour or so of dominating possession and chances with a half hour of instability and conceded a goal just minutes from time. Captain Philipp Lahm (who only played as a substitute) later lamented, "We have only ourselves to blame."

He continued, "We had many chances to get a second before (the equalizer)."

And he was right. Bayern didn't struggle to create chances, which if anything is an encouraging sign heading into this match.

Much worse is the apparent injury to Bastian Schweinsteiger, who was replaced by Franck Ribery since Bayern were out of defensive midfielders at that point in the match with Javi Martinez also out with injury and Can, Tymoshchuk and Gustavo with other clubs.

In a relieving announcement late Wednesday night, the FC Bayern website said that Dr. Müller-Wohlfahrt had cleared Schweinsteiger to play and furthermore, will take part in the team's final training session.

Chelsea, on the other hand, had a part in making many people feel silly for being so excited about their Monday evening clash at Old Trafford.

Not only was the final score (0-0), but there was a genuine lack of attacking effort on the part of Mourinho's side who made very few efforts to move off the ball and seemed content with a scoreless draw from the opening whistle.

As far as who we can expect to see take the field for the teams, David Alaba, Jerome Boateng, Arjen Robben, Franck Ribery, Mario Mandzukic and Philipp Lahm were all deliberately rested and should be in the Bayern team.

With Schweinsteiger's injury, Martinez would be the natural choice to fill in but he is also recovering after returning from Spanish national team duty in terrible shape. Look for Kroos, who has experience in the defensive midfield, to take over for Basti, should the ankle become a problem again or if Pep doesn't think he is fit. This is perhaps concerning though, as Kroos has little experience playing without a partner in that section of the field. Not exactly a field general of the Augenthaler or Matthäus mold in the minds of many, it would be interesting to see how he handles the situation should it arise. Thiago Alcantara is definitely out with an ankle injury, and his future is much more clear as he will be out for the next month and a half at least after having surgery to repair a ligament.

For Chelsea, former Leverkusen man Andre Schürrle and former Werder player Kevin De Bruyne both played in Monday's scoreless draw. Many didn't rate Schürrle's performance highly, but lack of proper service was mainly to blame as he was one of the few CFC men to make a serious attacking effort. No telling on whether or not Mourinho will stick with the German to lead his attack with other options available in the forms of Demba Ba and Fernando Torres. Ba, despite not traveling to Manchester earlier in the week, is in Prague with the team.

Juan Mata didn't play either, as he was never brought off the bench. He seems to be a lock to be featured and will pose a serious threat to the Bayern backline who have looked at the worst of times shaky and chaotic this season.

As for the two men leading the teams into battle (despite neither being responsible for the teams qualifying for the privilege), Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola have a bit of a history if you haven't heard.

Pep is (7-5-3) against Mou all time, but in European competitions the two have split successes with Mourinho's Inter beating Barcelona in 2010 and Pep's Barcelona beating Mou's Real Madrid in 2011, both in the semifinals of the Champions League.

The match is at the usual European start time of 20:45 German time, or at 1:45 pm for those in the central timezone on the American continents.

It can be found on FOX Sports 2 in the USA, and on ZDF in Germany.

Like the 2012 Champions League Final, it seems the match will be Reds vs. Blues, appropriately enough, chromatically speaking.

The match is in Prague's Eden Arena, which opened in 2008 and is home to SK Slavia Prague. It has a capacity of 21,000, which would make it the smallest venue in the Bundesliga and second smallest in the Premier League in front of only Swansea's Liberty Stadium.

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