Bayern Munich will contest their first match in the United States in a decade on Thursday when they take on Mexican giants Chivas Guadalajara at Red Bull Arena. Having won the Champions League in 2013 and followed it up with the Club World Cup, the most successful team in Germany are now eagerly looking to boost their presence across the Atlantic. But, together with a clear commercial element, the tour, which will also see them play Major League Soccer’s All-Stars in Oregon next Wednesday, is crucial preparation ahead of the new season.
"We are in the beginning of the season and of course all these kinds of games are important and we travel with a lot of desire to the United States because it's a huge country and we are so pleased to be there,” Guardiola said, according to Goal.com.
It was a successful first season for the former Barcelona coach, having retained the Bundesliga title and the German Cup, yet tinged with the significant disappointment of a heavy defeat to Real Madrid to relinquish their crown as European champions. There is little time for Guardiola to prepare for a new season that begins with the German Super Cup in less than two weeks’ time followed by the start of the Bundesliga just over a week later.
Guardiola remains without his German World Cup winners -- Manuel Neuer, Philipp Lahm, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Jerome Boateng, Thomas Müller and Mario Götze -- as well as semifinalists in Brazil Arjen Robben and Dante. All eight are set to meet up with teammates for the first time ahead of the contest with the MLS All-Stars.
For the clash with Chivas, the Bavarians will have Franck Ribéry available, after the Frenchman returned from an injury that ruled him out of the World Cup. Their major arrival of the close season will also be on show in the form of Polish striker Robert Lewandowski, who has already got his Bayern career up and running with four goals in three preseason games.
Rather than the big names, the focus of American eyes, though, is likely to be on a 19-year-old with just one competitive appearance for Bayern’s first team to his name. German-born Julian Green was something of a controversial selection in Jürgen Klinsmann’s squad this summer, but he made an instant impact on the biggest stage by scoring with his first touch against Belgium in the Round of 16. The winger has a slight knee injury that will likely restrict his involvement at the home of the New York Red Bulls to a cameo appearance, but he is eager to impress.
“I can’t tell you how excited I am to come to the US and take part in Bayern’s summer tour,” he said, according to Bayern Munich’s official website. “I want to show people as soon as possible that I can score goals for FC Bayern in big games - and not just in friendlies.”
The match comes at a very different time for Chivas, which is two games into the Apertura. After recent disappointments, the 11 times Mexican champions have begun the current campaign with a draw and a win as well as a victory last time out in the cup. Despite having another Liga MX contest on Sunday, manager Carlos Bustos has taken a strong team to New Jersey for the fixture with Bayern, including veterans Carlos Salcido, Omar Bravo and Mexico striker Aldo de Nigris.
Where to watch: The friendly between Bayern Munich and Chivas Guadalajara will kick off from Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey, at 8 p.m. ET. Coverage will be provided by ESPN and Univision Deportes, with a live stream available on Watch ESPN.