UEFA Champions League English

Pep Guardiola out for Champions League vendetta over Carlo Ancelotti

Premier League defending champions Manchester City play host to La Liga giants Real Madrid in the first leg of their semi-final tie of the Champions League tonight. City manager Pep Guardiola and Los Blancos boss Carlo Ancelotti, now in his second tenure with Real Madrid, have loads of history against each other.

Both sides currently sit top of their respective leagues, with Ancelotti on the brink of winning his first La Liga title. Should he win, the accomplished Italian will have won all of the top five leagues in Europe as a manager.

Guardiola and Ancelotti have both managed Bayern Munich in the past while both are also Premier League winners,  having been pitted against each other six times, with Pep having the advantage over the Italian winning four and Carlo winning twice. However even though the Spaniard has won two-thirds of their battles, Ancelotti’s wins are held in higher esteem for tonight’s clash as his wins came in the Champions League.

The year 2014 saw Ancelotti’s Real Madrid side up against Pep’s Bayern Munich squad in the semi-final, wherein over both the legs Madrid convincingly beat Munich 5-0, with a 4-0 win coming at the Allianz Arena. Los Blancos continued on their winning journey to clinch their tenth European title that year.

The other times the two managers went squarely against each other was when Ancelotti was in charge of Everton where in the three Premier League games they met, Pep and City won all three with an aggregate score of 10-2. City also booted Everton out of the FA Cup at the quarter-final stage at Goodison Park in 2021 with a 2-0 win over the Toffees.

As for comparisons regarding both their tenures at Bayern Munich, Pep again has the edge although both managers met with tremendous success but but without either lifting the Champions League with Bayern Munich. Guardiola managed a total of 161 games in all competitions (with a win percentage of 77%) whilst the Italian only took charge of 60 games and had a win percentage of 72%.

Throughout the course of their individual careers as managers, Ancelotti has managed considerably more games (1,174 – 746), Pep has the better win percentage over the span of their managerial careers (74% to 59%) but it’s hard to argue against the greatness of Ancelotti and the consistency over his career.

Tonight’s much-anticipated encounter promises to be a clash of tactical minds and it will be interesting to see how Real Madrid set up at the Etihad knowing that away goals are not a factor anymore, whilst it would also be fascinating to see how Pep will approach tonight’s game?