“Is it possible to talk about something other than football? The night has already been invited for a long time by the window which overlooks the streets of Munich. It’s midnight at Schumann’s Bar, the popular address in the Bavarian capital, and Michael Reschke tries to deflect the topic of his two table neighbors’ conversation tonight in December 2014. “98% of them talked about it tonight. there, he explains to the Parisian. The remaining 2% were: Are you okay? And the family, is everything OK? And There you go. “He does not yet know, but the two pipelettes who share glasses with him will find themselves less than seven years later in the final of the Champions League.
Before seeing their duel observed by Europe of football this Saturday evening (9 p.m.) in Porto, Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola and his Chelsea counterpart Thomas Tuchel, sacked from PSG in December, have built their link in Germany. From his first season, the Catalan flies over the Bundesliga, but is challenged by the style of Mainz, 7th at the finish. “Bayern had won both matches, but Pep had been marked by the style of play of this team, describes Michael Reschke, who will become technical director of the Bavarian club the following summer. Despite Munich’s means, Thomas Tuchel had wanted to play to win, and this philosophy had pleased him. “
The name of this young German coach, still unknown, remains in a corner of the skull of the Spaniard, who has become a legend with his phenomenal Barça, author of a sextuplet in 2009. When Michael Reschke comes knocking on the door of his office after the training, Guardiola tilte. “I told him I was having dinner with Thomas Tuchel. He told me he wanted to come, and canceled another evening he had planned, ”remembers the man who is now in charge of European football at the ICM Stellar Sports agency.
Guardiola, “the idol” of Tuchel
At Schumann’s, where the trio meet, Tuchel – then without a club – is impressed by the one he considers “his idol”, dixit Reschke. “When he was the coach of FC Barcelona, I watched almost every match”, explained in April the former Parisian coach. Quickly, the discussion livens up. Guardiola lets loose to the German how much he appreciated his strategy in their duels. Tuchel grabs him with questions: why did he adopt such a tactic with Barça? Why did he play this match without a real top striker? How does he explain that his right side is positioned in midfield?
The exchange is intense, between glasses of wine and glasses of champagne. The table becomes a tactician’s blackboard, and the two men use the means at hand to dissect outstanding actions. “The salt shaker was Messi, the glass of red, Iniesta, laughs Michael Reschke. It looked like a game between two chess players. It was intense to watch. “
Another meeting will follow two months later, where the trio will become quartet with the addition of Peter Hermann, ex-staff member of Bayern. Head to another Munich restaurant, the Brenner, and a good fish dish. “We talked about football, and more about football. That’s all, Guardiola explained about this dinner on Tuesday. We talked about everything and nothing, feelings, our love for the good and less good players of the moment. “
The tone will be less playful this Saturday night for this clash between two coaches who have already met in the Bundesliga, when Tuchel officiated in Dortmund, then in May with a victory (2-1) for Chelsea. But if Thomas Tuchel is very inspired by the Catalan, the German is not in the same conditions since he only took over the Blues at the end of January, where the former Bayern Munich coach has been polishing his team since 2016.
“But his Chelsea has the same way of defending by pressing as Manchester City,” notes the former Manchester United striker Louis Saha, consultant for RMC Sport, broadcaster of the match (RMC Story also broadcasts the match, in clear. RMC Sport will take the air from 6 p.m. in Porto). We will have a fairly strong tactical fight, with Chelsea ensuring behind before quickly projecting themselves, and Manchester City who wears out their opponents by always finding pass solutions. “Thomas wants the result first and foremost,” describes Michael Reschke. Pep is also attached to the idea of dominating his opponent. »Enough to fuel some heated discussions at Schumann’s Bar or elsewhere.