Audi Cup Finals 2013: Previewing Manchester City vs. Bayern Munich
The Audi Cup may not be the most prestigious competition in the world, but it's going to provide us with a world-class matchup when Manchester City and Bayern Munich meet in the finals on Aug.1.
City, who finished as the runners-up in both the Premier League and FA Cup, clinched their spot in the finals by virtue of a 5-3 victory over Serie A power Milan. Meanwhile, Bayern Munich, fresh off their Bundesliga and Champions League victories, advanced by way of a 2-0 victory over Brazilian club Sao Paulo.
Bayern Munich are one of the top-three clubs in the world, while City are eager to prove that their slew of summer signings will allow them to take the next step as a club.
Here's a look at the top players and storylines to watch heading into the exciting finale of the tournament.
Bayern Munich Player to Watch: Franck Ribery
While he was relatively quiet in the match, his development in new manager Pep Guardiola's system will be one of the key storylines for the club this season. According to WhoScored.com's player rating metric, he was the club's top player last season.
Ribery anticipates that Guardiola's changes in tactics will make the club even more dangerous, telling Bundesliga.com that opponents will have a difficult time keeping up.
Last season we won everything and if we didn't make any changes, our opponents would be more able to adapt to us. The new system makes our game even harder to second-guess. We can change tactics mid-match or switch a few players around to give the opposition even more trouble.
While it's a positive sign that Ribery is on board with the changes, fans will want to see how he actually fits in on the pitch.
Manchester City Player to Watch: Stevan Jovetic
New addition Stevan Jovetic didn't score a single goal, but he set up David Silva's goal just three minutes into the match and was active throughout his time on the pitch.
But Jovetic didn't come to Manchester to rack up assists. He came to score goals. The Citizens scored five goals in the match, but the 23-year-old Montenegrin didn't notch any of them. Scoring against Bayern Munich will be much more difficult, but the match will provide a much better indication of Jovetic's potential contributions to the club.
Key Matchup: City's Attack vs. Bayern Munich's Back Line
City seemingly scored goals at will against Milan but made the match closer than it had to be by giving up three consecutive goals. Things won't be any easier against Bayern Munich.
Led by Philipp Lahm and David Alaba, Munich's defense has long been a strength. Munich kept the offensively adept Sao Paulo side off the scoreboard by dominating possession and denying nearly every advance that the opponents could muster.
How much success Jovetic, Silva and Edin Dzeko can have against the back line will determine whether or not they can upset the German powerhouse.
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