Tuesday, 30 July 2013

PRE-SEASON: Audi Cup 2013

Part three of in-depth look at City pre-season schedule

By Aaron Leggott

After their victory in the Barclays Asia Trophy last weekend, the Blues will be looking to go out and win their second piece of pre-season silverware in Munich over Wednesday and Thursday.

The Audi Cup, which takes place over the two days at the Allianz Arena, home of European Champions Bayern Munich, will see City come up against AC Milan,  São Paulo and of course Bayern Munich. 

It is City's and São Paulo's  first appearances in one of the biggest pre-season competition's in Europe, whilst Bayern and Milan have contested every Audi Cup to date.

Photo: Official MCFC Facebook

The competition takes the format of a knockout competition. The winners of the two semi-finals on Wednesday compete for the Audi Cup, whilst the losers face off for third place. 

City have been drawn to play AC Milan in the first semi-final, with the main story being the reunion of Nigel de Jong and Mario Balotelli to their former club. 

And with Bayern Munich taking on São Paulo in the other semi-final, it is expected that City fans will be hoping to see the team tested against the pinnacle of European football on Thursday. 

AC Milan

Photo: Flickr
Founded in 1899, the Rossoneri are one of the most successful clubs in European football and highly respected in the footballing community.

Playing their home games at the San Siro, they are currently managed by Massimiliano Allegri and come into this pre-season on the back of a third placed finish in Serie A last season.

It is expected that a number of Milan's new transfers will be playing a part on Wednesday evening, with Cristián Zapata and Andrea Poli tipped to make an appearance. 

There will also be a chance for Stephan El Shaarawy to show what he can deliver, against the team which has been supposedly interested in this summer. 

However, despite Balotelli and de Jong expected to come up against the Blues, there will be no such chance for Robinho, who is ruled out after picking up an injury against Valencia.

Below is a video of Balotelli's goals since joining AC Milan in January:

Bayern Munich

Photo: Wikimedia Commons
After beating Bundesliga rivals Borussia Dortmund at Wembley in May, Bayern became the champions of Europe and in truth, there won't be many out there who could deny them deserving of that title. 

On their way to Wembley, they dismantled teams with ease and the likes of Juventus and Barcelona were just no match for Die Roten. 

They are now managed by Pep Guardiola after Jupp Heynckes left his post as manager following his treble win last season, and Munich have strengthened considerably ahead of the new season.

Die Roten suffered a 4-2 defeat last weekend in the German Super Cup after Dortmund gained a small ounce of revenge after defeat in the Champions League final, but with the likes of Mario Götze and Thiago Alcântara ready to join up with Arjen Robben, Franck Ribéry, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Phillip Lahm - you'd expect that the Germans will be the team to beat in Europe this season.

Below highlights the success from Bayern Munich last season in all competitions:

São Paulo

Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Seen as the weakest team in this year's competition, São Paulo are the current Copa Sudamericana holders and play their football at Morumbi, a 67,500 all seater stadium in Brazil.

They are one of Brazil's most successful football clubs, winning 21 state titles, six Brasileirão titles, three Copa Libertadores titles amongst many other things.

Currently managed by Paulo Autuori, the Soberano play in the Campeonato Brasileiro Série A and despite finishing 4th last season, they are currently 16th after nine games, just one point out of the relegation zone.

Their current team includes the likes of Lúcio, Ganso, Luís Fabiano and legendary goalkeeper Rogério Ceni, who is set to retire at the end of the season. 

Stay tuned for match reflections, news round-ups and many more with The Sky Blue View as the pre-season schedule heads to a conclusion.

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You can also follow Aaron on Twitter: @aaron_leggott

(c) The Sky Blue View 2013

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