05/28/2021 at 6:30 AM CEST
Dinner at the Schumann’s Bar in Munich it is already part of the history of the Bundesliga. The Bavarian restaurant was the first personal meeting point between Pep Guardiola and Tomas Tuchel. It was the 2014-2015 season, Pep was at Bayern and Tuchel on a sabbatical after leaving Mainz. With the help of Michael reschke, then a Bayern manager, the Catalan coach met a young man who had caught his attention.
The previous year, Guardiola had faced Mainz de Tuchel and was impressed with his rival’s proposal, so when the opportunity to meet in Munich arose, he did not hesitate to take advantage of it. Reschke, who was present at the dinner, defined it like this in The Athletic.
“I was a mere spectator. It was like watching two chess masters, it was hard to keep up with them. They were able to recall dozens of tactical moves from many years ago and talk about their influence. It was all action, reaction. They were so involved that even the waiters were afraid to approach. It lasted almost four hours & rdquor;.
Years later, Martí Perarnau revealed in his book ‘Pep Guardiola: The metamorphosis’ a second meeting between the two. It occurred when the German was already training in Dortmund.
On Borussia de Tuchel’s first visit to the Allianz Arena, Pep dynamited his rival’s plan with a tactical twist: he dispensed with his midfield area and urged the defenders to connect directly with the forwards. Center-back Jerome Boateng finished the game with two assists on goal. Bayern won 5-1. Shortly after the game, Tuchel called Pep to ask if he wanted to sit down and analyze what had happened. Guardiola agreed, despite the misgivings of members of his ‘staff’, as Perarnau also relates in his book, aware of the danger of revealing certain information to his great rival.
The last casual meeting they are known to have occurred less than a month ago. On May 8, Chelsea visited the Etihad Stadium in a Premier League match. Before the start of the game, when Guardiola was preparing to attend the media after arriving at the stadium, he ran into Tuchel in the changing room tunnel. What followed was 10 minutes of light-hearted talk, between gestures of what seemed tactical contributions or suggestions on how to outline the body with respect to the ball. They said goodbye with a friendly clash of hands, of those who know that fate will bring them back together.
Six years have passed since the dinner at Schumann’s Bar, and both have changed clubs and countries, but the essence remains unchanged. This Saturday they will not have the glasses and cutlery of the Bavarian restaurant at hand to formulate tactics. Nor will Michael Reschke be listening, but ‘la orejona’ will do it, waiting for a privileged mind to lift her to the sky of Porto.