Bayern Munich vs Chelsea: Should We Care About the UEFA Super Cup?

Ryan Bailey@ryanjaybaileyFeatured ColumnistAugust 29, 2013

PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC - AUGUST 03:  The UEFA Super Cup trophy is seen displayed during the UEFA Trophy Display Event on August 3, 2013 in Prague, Czech Republic.  (Photo by Matej Divizna/Getty Images for UEFA)
Matej Divizna/Getty Images

On Friday evening, the 38th edition of the UEFA Super Cup will take place at Prague's Eden Arena between Champions League winners Bayern Munich and Europa Cup holders Chelsea.

It's the first ever Super Cup to take place between consecutive Champions League winners, and the first since 2004 where neither of the managers actually earned their place in the final. 

Based largely on the fact that their dominance of Europe shows no signs of slowing down, Bayern are the favourites to become the first-ever German side to take the silverware away from this competition.

We are being treated to a trophy match between two behemoths of European football, so why is there even a question over whether we should care about watching it?

Even though its premise relies on a clash between the best of the best, a Super Cup simply isn't comparable to a coveted league title win or success in the main European competitions. It is, for wont of a less cynical description, a "glorified friendly."

It is the continental version of the Community Shield: a nice day out for fans (it used to be a nice day out for players before it was moved away from Monaco this year) and an excuse to watch some top-level teams in a low-pressure environment.

Even the sides involved seem to hold back their efforts—just look at how disinterested Chelsea looked last season when they had their proverbial behinds handed to them by Radamel Falcao's Atletico Madrid.

And it's not an exclusively English viewpoint to pooh-pooh the UEFA Super Cup, as both the Supercopa de España and Supercoppa Italiana will usually be a team's last resort for bragging rights.

Frankly, if the UEFA Super Cup was more important, it wouldn't be played a few weeks into the season on a Friday night. 

Normally at this point, I would suggest you spend Friday evening down the pub, at the movies or wherever you usually celebrate the end of the working week.

In this instance, however, I would advise you to stay in and watch the match. In 2013, the Super Cup has been transformed into a thoroughly worthwhile event by circumstance.

This is a game of rivalry, and a game of revenge.

Last May, Chelsea snuck into the Allianz Arena and stole a European Cup right from under Die Roten's noses. That defeat—coupled with the disappointment of finishing second best to BvB in the domestic league and cup—inspired Bayern to devastating form last season.

The treble-winning Bavarians have righted all the wrongs of 2011-12, except one. Club president Uli Hoeness has insisted that their Super Cup tie with Chelsea is not about revenge, but for fans and players, there has to be a strong element of vindication through retribution. 

There is also the rather significant matter of the managerial rivalry between Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola.

The two coaches snapped at each other like cat and dog when they were both in charge of Spain's biggest teams, and they will feel they have much to prove with their new teams in this campaign.

Pep will be keen to show the world that his skills translate outside of Catalunya. The Spaniard already has two victories in this competition (2009 and 2011), so he would not be in the mood to spoil his perfect record.

Mourinho, meanwhile, will want to convey the transformative powers of The Special One, turning a team that was hopelessly defeated in this game last season to one that can send a warning sign to Europe's most-feared side. 

Mou is also known for his desire to instil a winning mentality with his team from the outset. When he first took charge of Chelsea in 2004, he pursued and won the League Cup. Despite it being a competition that most top teams would put on the back-burner, the manager was keen to get his side used to winning ways as quickly as possible.

The Portuguese manager may also regard the UEFA Super Cup as a missing spot in his personal trophy cabinet. His only experience of this game was in 2003, when his Porto side lost to Milan.  

So we have a fierce managerial rivalry, one team hungry for revenge, another hungry to slay a Bundesliga giant and two sides who drew their last domestic matches and who need to show everyone else who is top dog.

Even if you normally don't care about the UEFA Super Cup, you should definitely care about this one. 

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