Champions League: Chelsea or Manchester City, are the stakes higher for Thomas Tuchel or Pep Guardiola ahead of final?

Chelsea's head coach Thomas Tuchel, left, and Manchester City's head coach Pep Guardiola.
Chelsea’s head coach Thomas Tuchel, left, and Manchester City’s head coach Pep Guardiola. Image Credit: AP

Are Chelsea in trouble?

Leicester City beat Chelsea on Saturday night to clinch their first ever FA Cup title, signaling possible trouble ahead for Thomas Tuchel’s side.

The 1-0 loss follows from Chelsea’s English Premier League loss against Arsenal on Wednesday, where they similarly conceded one costly goal and scored none. Tuchel took responsibility for Chelsea’s midweek loss to the Gunners without hesitation.

“We had three days, we are on a good run, we had a good mood. The choices were not so good today from my side for the line-up so that’s on me. We were unlucky, of course. But we did everything today to lose,” Tuchel told Sky Sports.

“I’m not happy with my line-up. It’s easy to say afterwards. But it was too many changes, I should not have done it like this. It’s something in particular – but I will not tell you,” the German boss added.

But will he have his squad selection sorted in time to conquer the Champions League final against Manchester City on May 29? Or is the other shoe finally about to drop for the Blues?

Tuchel joined the North London team on January 26 after Frank Lampard was sacked. Despite the sentimental value of Lampard – a former Chelsea hero – being at the helm, Lampard didn’t produce results quickly enough to secure his position at the helm for more than two and a half years.

Meanwhile, 47-year-old Tuchel has managed ambitious teams from the world’s biggest domestic leagues – including Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga from 2015 to 2017 and Ligue 1’s Paris Saint-Germain between 2018 and 2020 – has already made history during his short few months with Chelsea.

With Chelsea’s defeat of Real Madrid in the UCL semifinals earlier this month, Tuchel became the first manager to reach a European Cup or Champions League final in two consecutive seasons with different clubs (last season, he took PSG to the final).

With eleven successive clean sheets immediately after joining Chelsea, he also became the first manager in EPL history to keep consecutive home clean sheets in their first five home matches.

Now Tuchel’s true test awaits. In football’s fickle world, it’s never clear what counts as a mark against your eligibility as manager. Is it enough for Tuchel to simply get Chelsea to the finals of the UCL, even if they lose? Or is it already too much to ask of a manager who’s been at the helm for no more than more than four months – to clench the biggest title in Europe?

For Guardiola, the expectation is even bigger. City have never won a Champions League (compared to Chelsea’s one title) and Guardiola has had four seasons to make it happen. If Tuchel can achieve what Guardiola couldn’t in nearly half a decade, in only four months…

Well, we suppose that’s what makes this game so irresistible. Anything could happen.