City’s first pre-season assignment is within touching distance…
Pep Guardiola’s side kick off their 2016/17 preparations with an intriguing friendly against Bayern Munich and there are plenty of sources of intrigue.
Club journalist @markbooth_mcfc picks out but five of them…
1 Instant Return
Following three seasons at the helm at Bayern, Pep Guardiola will find himself in the unusual position of preparing a team in the away dressing room at the Allianz Arena on Wednesday night.
It’s an instant return for the man who won three Bundesliga titles in three years as he faces off against a team he knows inside out.
Carlo Ancelotti will be the man who will be occupying Pep’s old seat in the home dugout after taking the reins in the summer following a year out of the game.
While the game won’t have the same intensity an in-season UEFA Champions League meeting between the sides would have, both managers will be eager to see a positive performance and to learn as much as they can about their new squads.
2 City's Got Talent
With the Copa America and Euro 2016-contesting players still to return, this is a huge opportunity for City’s brightest young talents to catch Guardiola’s eye and make inroads into the first-team squad.
The likes of Tosin Adarabioyo, Angelino, Brandon Barker, Sinan Bytyqi, Bersant Celina, Aleix Garcia, Manu Garcia, Angus Gunn, James Horsfield, Cameron Humphreys and Pablo Maffeo all have experience of being around the senior setup but the combination of pre-season, absentees and a new manager gives all of them a chance to accelerate their progress, starting in Munich.
It’s a clean slate for everyone and it’ll be fascinating to see which youngsters step up to the plate.
Whether it’s a UEFA Champions League group stage showdown or an exhibition match, when City meet Bayern Munich, there tends to be fireworks.
The teams have met six times competitively and there have been three wins apiece with 19 goals across those clashes – an average of 3.1 per game.
Add in the Audi Cup final in 2013, when Pep had just assumed control at Bayern, and you sense we could be in for another friendly classic on Wednesday night.
Exhibition matches are an opportunity for managers to experiment with players and tactical systems before the real business begins, so whatever happens on Wednesday, it’s probably best to try not to draw too many conclusions on the way City will play in 2016/17 from this first piece of public evidence.
We say “try” because it’ll be impossible not to try to read a little into Pep’s thoughts on his overall vision for City when the whistle sounds at the Allianz Arena and of course that’s all part of the fun.
Will he spring a surprise or two in terms of players’ positions or will he keep his cards close to his chest for this first public outing? We shall see…
Bayern Munich, Manchester United, Borussia Dortmund and Arsenal – these are the four teams that stand between City and the big Premier League kick-off against Sunderland in August.
It’s a mouthwatering line-up for the Blues as they travel 13,000 miles from Manchester to Munich to Beijing to Shenzhen back to Manchester and then onto Gothenburg.
With the UEFA Champions League play-off round to come, it’s an important few weeks for a globe-trotting City side looking to get up to speed for the challenges ahead.
You won’t miss a kick here on ManCity.com as we kick off our coverage of #cityontour on Wednesday morning.
Bayern Munich v City, Wednesday, 20 July (Munich)
City v United, Monday, 25 July, (Beijing)
City v Dortmund, Thursday, 28 July, (Shenzhen)
Arsenal v City, Sunday, 7 August, (Gothenburg)