In what appears to be the next big rivalry in English football, tomorrow’s showpiece will be the third time Thomas Tuchel and Pep Guardiola have gone head to head in 2021 alone, with the Blues boss triumphant in the previous two meetings.
But Chelsea come into the game having scraped a top-four finish in the Premier League, and lost the FA Cup Final to Leicester City, raising doubts in the squad at the worst time.
Guardiola, meanwhile, saw his team win the Premier League but put in a few unconvincing displays afterwards before thumping Everton last weekend.
Both Chelsea and City are in Porto, arriving on Thursday, and we will have all the latest ahead of tonight’s kick off with reporter James Robson on the ground.
Stick with us for all the build-up to the’s clash, including updates from both camps…
Latest team news
Chelsea are set to have goalkeeper Edouard Mendy and midfielder N’Golo Kante fit to start tonight
Mendy has recovered from bruised ribs sustained in the Premier League season-closing loss at Aston Villa on Sunday. Kante has shaken off his latest hamstring problem.
There was a scare for Manchester City in training on Friday when midfielder Ilkay Gundogan collided with captain Fernandinho.
But Gundogan is not being said to have a serious injury.
We’re back and it’s game day.
So, here’s the lay of the land.
Manchester City are looking to win the Champions League for the first time and are making their debut in the final. It would be a third title, though, for manager Pep Guardiola, who won it twice with Barcelona.
Chelsea are seeking a second Champions League title, after 2012, which is the last time they reached the final. Thomas Tuchel is the first manager to reach the final with different clubs in successive seasons, having lost with Paris Saint-Germain last year.
Tuchel confident Chelsea penalty practice can pay off
We’ve already seen one epic penalty shootout in a major European final this week and Chelsea’s practice from 12 yards has left Thomas Tuchel confident that his side can triumph via that route in Porto if necessary.
“We always practise penalties when we face a match where it’s possible it could go to penalties,” he said.
“Can we simulate the pressure, the fatigue, the occasion, how it will feel tomorrow? No, we cannot.
“But still we believe we can take care about some patterns, and about a certain rhythm and certain habits during penalties. Which we did.
“And honestly, the penalty shootout was fantastic in terms of quality from the takers, I’ve never seen anything like this – 20 penalties in a row and no misses.
“And so, so strong, and so well taken.
“And we have identified the guys who should take the penalties for us, but I don’t know who in the end will be on the pitch.
“So we need to be well aware, but we are prepared and if we go to penalties we go in there together.”
Tuchel: Chelsea must be courageous and brave
Here’s more from Tuchel as he plots a third triumph over Manchester City in a matter of weeks…
“We are well aware that Man City is the benchmark with this team and manager over the last years, but in football you are always able to close the gap. We have done that twice and we will try again tomorrow.
“How did we do it before? We were courageous and brave, we suffered together and we were strong as a team with belief and quality and we did show up in every single minute. This is pretty much it.
“Tomorrow will be a very different line up I think from Man City. But nevertheless we have the experience of how much we had to suffer, the experience of how brave, how courageous we need also to play in certain moments of the game.
“For me it’s about too, about this tomorrow, it’s always tough to play against City, Bayern or Barcelona when Pep is at the sideline.
“They create and he creates this team with this huge belief, and this huge success, and continuously winning mentality.
“So they are maybe at the moment the strongest team in Europe and maybe in the world, and they have a huge gap, they have built a huge gap between them and us in the league.
“But we closed the gap for 90 minutes in Wembley, we closed the gap for 90 minutes at City, and this is what we want to do tomorrow.”
Tuchel wants long-term Chelsea deal
Thomas Tuchel has given a clear indication that he wants to sign a long-term contract at Chelsea, James Robson reports from Porto.
The German was handed an 18-month deal to succeed Frank Lampard at Stamford Bridge in January, but will have a strong case for a long-term agreement after guiding the Blues to a top-four Premier League finish and into both the FA Cup and Champions League finals.
“I’m just so happy to be here,” Tuchel said ahead of Saturday’s showdown with Manchester City in Porto. “I have never felt so good since I was in Mainz and this feels like the perfect place and the perfect moment.
“I’m so happy to be here, so whatever will come will come. We cannot force things, but, of course, this is my point of view and this is very clear.”
Abramovich expected in Porto for final
Roman Abramovich is expected to be in Porto for the Champions League Final and a first meeting with Thomas Tuchel, writes James Robson from Portugal.
Chelsea’s Russian owner is hoping to see his club crowned kings of Europe for the second time under his rule when they face Manchester City at the Estadio do Dragao on Saturday night.
And the billionaire has been urged by captain Cesar Azpilicueta to continue his support for the club as they bid to end Pep Guardiola’s domestic dominance.
“He always showed that desire to make the club a winner and to always try to get the best for the club,” said Azpilicueta. “But I don’t want him to stop there because he and everybody in the club do an amazing job off the pitch and I think it is remarkable.
“We are very grateful to have him with us.
“Chelsea always fights for everything and we have to go step by step. It is true that in the Premier League we finished fourth and that is not where we want to be and we always seek to improve every season. Obviously that’s our challenge next season.
“Tomorrow it means a lot just to be European champions – it is a massive achievement. Then we will focus on what is coming next season.”
Lineker to leave role with BT Sport after Porto final
Gary Lineker will step down as the host of BT Sport’s Champions League coverage following this weekend’s final between Manchester City and Chelsea in Porto.
The experienced broadcaster and former England striker has fronted BT’s coverage of Europe’s elite club competition since 2015.
However, Lineker – who has also hosted BBC’s Match of the Day Premier League highlights programme since 1999 – confirmed on Friday that he would be turning down an offer to renew his contract as he instead now looks to “do things that I’ve always promised myself I’d do”.
One thing on that list is for Lineker to follow his beloved Leicester City across Europe with his sons after the FA Cup winners booked a spot in the Europa League for next season, narrowly missing out on a Champions League berth in heartbreaking fashion on the final day of the campaign for the second year in a row.
Announcing his BT Sport departure on the eve of the 2020/21 Champions League Final, Lineker tweeted: “Porto’s mouth-watering all-English final this weekend will be my final Champions League show for BT Sport.
“I’ve loved hosting the best club tournament in world football and I’m genuinely proud of being part of the their truly groundbreaking coverage over the past 6 years.
“I would like to thank BT Sport for their generous renewal offer, but after much thought, I have decided to call it a day. I feel it’s time to do things that I’ve always promised myself I’d do: such as follow Leicester across Europe with my sons (how many opportunities will we have?)
“A big thank you to everyone at BT Sport, both in front of the camera and behind. You’re one hell of a team. It’s been a joy working with you. Well played.”
Man City suffer Gundogan injury scare
Manchester City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan suffered an injury scare on the eve of the club’s Champions League Final meeting with Chelsea.
The German international sustained a knock to his thigh during Friday’s last training session at the Estadio do Dragao in Porto after a collision with City captain Fernandinho.
However, it is being widely reported that City do not consider the issue to be anything serious, with Gundogan still expected to be fit to feature in Saturday’s all-English showpiece.
The former Borussia Dortmund star is a key player in midfield under Pep Guardiola, having made 45 appearances across all competitions for City in 2020/21 and scored 17 goals – including three in the Champions League.
Azpilicueta: Werner contribution ‘has been massive’
“I always try to help him. We know that we are human beings and when things aren’t going out way we can suffer but we are here supporting each other.
“Timo’s contribution overall in the team has been massive. He’s a very important player for us. As a striker he would like to score more goals and its important he has this desire and ambition.”
Azpilicueta out to prove doubters wrong
“This season we have had everything. We had two months with bad results, a change of manager, and to get here where we are today is massive credit to the group, to the manager.
“We have been working so hard and we want to make it special and to make it special we have to win tomorrow. It’s the biggest trophy we can achieve as a club and we want to make it happen.
“A lot of people doubt this group and this club and now the only thing we have to do is leave everything out there tomorrow. We have the fans back which is massive and we want to make history and we have it in front of us.”