The Champions of England and Germany met for a sweltering encounter in the International Champions Cup this afternoon, with Die Bayern running out deserved 3-2 winners.
The match gave both sides an opportunity to show off some new acquisitions and test their mettle against top European opposition before the season begins in earnest.
While the players recover from the extreme Singapore humidity, here’s a look at four things we learned from the encounter…
4. Thomas Muller Looks in No Mood to Make Way for Bayern’s Young Prospects
Muller’s place in the Bayern team was the subject of much speculation last season, with former Bayern sporting director Matthias Sammer taking the extraordinary step of imploring Bayern boss Carlo Ancelotti to recognise that Muller is the ‘future and soul’ of the team in the past few days.
The summer arrivals of Kingsley Coman, James Rodriguez and Corentin Tolisso seemed to suggest the German international’s time at Bayern might indeed be coming to an end.
But the six-time Bundesliga winner answered his critics emphatically in Singapore, poking home Franck Ribery’s superb cross on 11 minutes before blasting home a beautiful 30-yard curler on the 25 minute mark to make it 3-0. At just 27, Die Bayern’s fan favourite still looks like he has something to prove.
3. James Rodriguez May Take Some Time to Blow Off the Cobwebs
The announcement of James Rodriguez’s two-year loan deal with Bayern was hailed and one of the best (and strangest) signings of the summer. The Colombian announced his quality on the biggest stage of all winning the Golden Boot in the 2014 World Cup as he powered Los Cafeteros to the Quarter-Finals, before signing for Real Madrid.
However, James had few opportunities to build on his obvious potential at the Bernabeu, especially since the arrival of Zinedine Zidane. His decision to move to the Allianz Arena was reportedly made in order to get more game time, but his failure to convert a number of chances in this sweltering encounter, despite Franck Ribery’s best efforts suggests he may take a bit of time to get up to speed.
2. Michy Batshuayi May Yet Be a Key Player for Chelsea
The Belgian was used sparingly by Antonio Conte last season, making just 20 appearances in the league, despite his £33m price-tag.
But with Diego Costa almost certain to leave the club and Alvaro Morata experiencing only his first season in the Premier League, Batshuayi proved he can be a reliable goal threat, burying Morata’s flick from close range to make it 3-2.
The former Marseille forward scored the goal that clinched the title for Chelsea against West Brom last season and looks ready to challenge new-boy Morata for a place in the Chelsea side.
1. Chelsea Will Have to Step Up Their Game in Europe Next Season
Yes, it’s a pre-season friendly and it would be foolish to read too much into the result. However, Rafinha’s goal within five minutes of the match, followed by Muller’s quickfire double exposed the fact that the Blues faced mostly mediocre English teams all season, and will have to tighten up against the top sides.
For all that he brings creatively, Cesc Fabregas struggled with the physicality in midfield and Tiemoue Bakayoko may a more suitable partner for N’Golo Kante against top sides who will dominate possession.
The Blues looked uninspired without Pedro and Eden Hazard to provide an attacking outlet and it remains to be seen whether Alvaro Morata can be relied upon to lead the line.