'All set for a good match'
Two years at the helm yielded four trophies, including the yearned-for tenth Champions League triumph (La Decima ): Real Madrid is a special club for Carlo Ancelotti. He coached Los Blancos from 2013 until 2015, and Wednesday brings the first reunion with his former club. The Audi Football Summit between FC Bayern and Real Madrid kicks off at New Jersey's MetLife Stadium which will be packed to its 82,000 capacity at 19.30 local time (1.30 CEST).
"Of course the match is special," Ancelotti said before the final friendly on the tour, speaking of "nice memories" of his time in Madrid. "I'll meet old friends, many people and players I worked with. And of course Zizou. He was my player, he was my assistant," the Italian said, paying tribute to football legend and Real coach Zinedine Zidane. "He's got everything you need to be successful with Real, experience and - most importantly - charisma. I wish him the best," said Ancelotti, before adding with a grin: "But more in Spain than in Europe."
Real without Ronaldo and Kroos
However, the reunion with Zizou and Real is only a side issue. "It's the last friendly before our first competitive fixture," commented Ancelotti, referring to the Supercup final against Borussia Dortmund on 14 August. The Bayern head coach has a lot of work ahead of him before then, especially as he has to fine-tune his tactics when the EURO participants resume training after the US tour. "My first task at a new club is to get to know the players and establish a relationship with them. Then we'll develop a style of play based on the characters in the team," he explained.
But first the focus is on the meeting with Real. Both sides will be missing some of their big-name players. Among others, Real will have to make do without World Player of the Year Cristiano Ronaldo and former Bayern pro Toni Kroos, but "it's all set for a good match," an excited Philipp Lahm commented: "It's something special. Two top teams go head-to-head. Both usually make it to the Champions League quarter or semi-finals, sometimes the final. It will definitely be a good match."
Real Madrid also contest their third and last International Champions Cup match. The Spaniards have lost 3-1 to Paris Saint-Germain and won 3-2 against Chelsea so far.