Real Madrid, AC Milan and Tottenham Hotspur will challenge Bayern Munich for the 2015 Audi Cup at the Allianz Arena in Bavaria this summer, as reported by Sean Gallagher of the MailOnline.
The schedule for the twice-yearly pre-season competition has also been confirmed as Bayern look to defend their crown in the tournament which begins on Aug. 4. You can see the full schedule below, as reported by Spurs' official website:
|2015 Audi Cup Schedule|
|Tuesday, Aug. 4.||5:15 p.m. GMT/12:15 p.m. ET||Real Madrid vs. Tottenham Hotspur|
|Tuesday, Aug. 4.||7:45 p.m. GMT/2:45 p.m. ET||Bayern Munich vs. AC Milan|
|Wednesday, Aug. 5.||5:15 p.m. GMT/12:15 p.m. ET||Loser 1 vs. Loser 2.|
|Wednesday, Aug. 5.||7:45 p.m. GMT/2:45 p.m. ET||Winner 1 vs. Winner 2|
La Liga giants Real Madrid will kick things off with a tricky semi-final tie against Spurs, who finished fifth in the recently concluded Premier League season. This match will see former White Hart Lane stars Gareth Bale and Luka Modric take on their old club for the first time since leaving in 2013 and 2012, respectively.
The victor of this tie will go on to face whoever wins between Bayern and Milan. Organisers are perhaps hoping Madrid and Bayern progress to the final, with the two non-Champions League sides left to battle it out for third place in the second day's opening fixture.
Bayern have won two of three Audi Cup tournaments, beating Manchester United in the 2009 final and Manchester City in the 2013 iteration. Barcelona are the only other side to lift the silverware, overcoming Bayern 2-0 in the 2011 showpiece.
The 2015 competition marks the first entry of Madrid and Spurs. Aside from hosts Bayern, Milan are the only side to have appeared in all iterations of the exhibition event. The Italian team have finished third once and last on two occasions.
This is the first year not to feature South American teams, with Boca Juniors, Internacional and Sao Paulo appearing in past years.
Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino noted the importance of taking part in such an event, as reported on the club's official website:
The Audi Cup will provide us with a great opportunity to take on top-class opposition in a fantastic stadium. It will be a good test for our squad and I am sure our fans will enjoy this experience too. This competition will also form an important part of the final stages of our preparations with the Premier League season beginning just a few days later.
While it's easy to dismiss the importance of pre-season preparation, the Audi Cup will provide all teams with the opportunity to establish confidence ahead of their respective domestic campaigns.
Risky tactical switches can be applied, and youngsters can be given an opportunity to impress without consequence. The exercise is also vital to establish match sharpness.
A less pressure-filled environment often means plenty of showboating and entertaining football ahead of business beginning once more.