Pre-Season Friendlies: A guide to Chelsea and Bayern Munich’s tests

New York Red Bulls [8.2] v Chelsea [1.51]; The Draw [4.6]Thursday, 01:05
Live on Chelsea TV

As their position of third in the Eastern Conference (with games in hand on the two teams above them) confirms, the New York Red Bulls possess one of the strongest MLS rosters this year, with English duo Lloyd Sam and Bradley Wright-Phillips key to their success.

Chelsea faced a similar calibre of opponent – a leading force in an emerging but not yet established market – in their two post-season friendlies: Thailand All-Stars and Sydney FC. The results were identical, 1-0 victories which were slim but decisive enough, with the goal arriving in the opening half hour.

You might assume that winning the third edition of the International Champions Cup isn’t a priority for the Blues ahead of a Premier League title defence that they are [2.7] favourites to pull off.

However, they tend to be pretty competitive in friendlies, reaching the 2013 final of this tournament in Jose Mourinho’s first summer back and then prevailing in seven of their bumper ten pre-season contests in advance of 2014/15 to build momentum for their superb Premier League getaway.

Recommended Bets:
Back Chelsea to win to nil @ [2.6]Back Chelsea to win 1-0 @ [8.0]

Guangzhou Evergrande [9.0] v Bayern Munich [1.3]; The Draw [5.5]Thursday, 12:30
Live on BT Sport 1

Having commenced their spell in China with wins over Valencia and Inter, Bayern Munich now have the privilege of facing one of the transfer window’s emerging protagonists, Guangzhou Evergrande.

The Chinese Super League champions are coached by former World Cup winner Luiz Felipe Scolari and have recruited Brazil internationals Paulinho and Robinho in the past month, having previously been an Italian stronghold with Marcello Lippi, Alberto Gilardino and Alessandro Diamanti.

They triumphed over another Bundesliga club last July, relegation-battle-luck-pushers Hamburg, but Bayern have been impressive so far on tour, firing four past Valencia and shutting out recent bogey side Inter, having kicked off pre-season with defeats to Augsburg and Borussia Monchengladbach.

Those reverses weren’t the only setbacks that they have suffered, as there has been speculation that some of their best players will follow Bastian Schweinsteiger in vacating the Allianz Arena, for instance Thomas Muller to Manchester United and Mario Gotze to Juventus.

It is all unsubstantiated speculation at this stage though, while the [5.9] Champions League second favourites are expected to sign widely admired Juventus and Chile midfielder Arturo Vidal.

Recommended Bet: Back Bayern Munich to lead at half time and full time @ [1.75]