International Champions Cup action continues in Miami this weekend as Manchester City face off against Bayern Munich on Saturday evening.
Both the English and German champions are expected to field weakened teams as they’ve already done in the tournament, with several key players still on vacation following the World Cup.
City struggle with reserve squad
The Citizens come to the Magic City with two defeats in the tournament, falling 1-0 to Borussia Dortmund in Chicago and 2-1 to Liverpool in New Jersey. The squad has been limited by the absence of most of the starting eleven, although notably the tournament has seen the debut of Riyad Mahrez after his transfer from Leicester City. Another interesting appearance was that of Joe Hart in goal, likely an effort to put the wantaway goalkeeper in the shop window for the summer. Hart has expressed a desire to find a new club after falling out of favor with manager Pep Guardiola.
In other news out of Manchester, Benjamin Mendy has joined up with the club tour and could make his pre-season debut against the German side. Mendy had a bright start to his Manchester City career until an ACL injury sidelined him for all but the very end of the Premier League season.
Bayern find their footing under new coach
Bayern Munich arrive to play their first cup in Miami in 26 years with a 2-0 loss to Juventus and a 3-1 win over Paris Saint-Germain. Against Juventus they were able to dominate in shots and possession but unable to produce any goals. Newly-hired coach Niko Kovac continues to experiment, with his side also missing numerous major players. Renato Sanches has begun to shine again after a dismal loan spell at Swansea City, which faced relegation to the English second division. The young Portuguese scored a spectacular free-kick goal against PSG, his first for Bayern.
Colombia national team fans in Miami will be disappointed to learn that James Rodriguez has linked up with the Germans in Miami but is not expected to feature in the match. Manuel Neuer is another significant name who continues to be rested after being rushed into the Germany squad following a season-long injury. Kovac will look to limit his risks in playing Neuer and knows he can count on the goalkeeper’s quality even if he misses the pre-season.
A chance for the youth
Both clubs will benefit from playing key youth players who will have a chance to stake a claim in their teams and draw the attention of their gaffers. Some will be hoping to break through to the first team and avoid a loan spell abroad.
Bayern should be considered the favorites with a better tournament record and some more experience in their squad, including Arjen Robben, David Alaba, and Franck Ribery.
Either side will be looking for a win on Saturday. Although the managers downplay the importance of the summer cup, there’s no doubt the teams would prefer to head into the home stretch with a victory and positive momentum heading into the league season.
Barring any surprises in the line-ups, this is Bayern’s match to lose.