As I start to write this, mid-table, out-of-Europe Manchester United hold a 2-1 lead over La Liga favorites and defending Champions League trophy winners Real Madrid at the Big House in Ann Arbor, MI, in front of the largest football crowd ever in the United States.
And it's not like United have been lucky; they've looked quite decent, even excellent at times. Rooney's got magic hair, Mata's got magic feet, and Ashley Young is now the greatest Ashley to have ever played left (wing)-back. As Manchester City draw with some random Greek team a bit further to the west, and United run out 3-1 winners, we might as well just hand the Premier League title to Louis van Gaal's men.
With Arsenal and Manchester United both winning friendlies today, Chelsea and City are effectively out of contention for the title— Alexander Netherton (@lxndrnthrtn) August 2, 2014
Manchester United's reward is now to pack up camp and fly down quickly to Florida to play another game in less than 48 hours. Chelsea may have filled their preseason schedule to the brim as well, but that's just ridiculous. Who needs on-the-ball training when you get some excellent jet lag and how to travel training instead? Sure to be useful for a team without any European commitments. But I digress.
Here's everything you need to know about Chelsea's latest, slightly shorter-range travels, wherein they'll face probably their toughest opposition this preseason.
Date / Time: Sunday, August 3, 2014, 16:00 BST; 11am EDT; 8:30pm IST
Venue: Weserstadion, Bremen, Germany
Forecast: Sunny and quite warm, but with a decent chance of a thunderstorm. And I mean a thunderstorm with rain and lightning, not with overreactions and assumptions and jumps to conclusions. Or both?
On TV: Chelsea TV (UK); elsewhere
Online: Chelsea TV (everywhere but in "France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Portugal, Brazil, Africa, the Middle East and Indonesia")
Werder Bremen team news: The four-time winners of the Bundesliga (last in 2003-04) have fallen on harsher times recently (somewhat mirroring their ex-star, Marko "Hero of Hyrule" Marin's career), finishing mid-table at best since achieving third place in 2009-10. A couple years ago they even needed the help of the mighty Kevin De Bruyne to stave of relegation. Things aren't looking that much better for the upcoming season either, especially when you consider that they have ex-Chelsea (haha, what were we thinking?) Franco Di Santo leading the line. His four goals in 23 last season inspire even less confidence than Torres, Sutton, and Kezman combined would.
Midfielder Izet Hajrović is one of the new recruits in Bremen; you may remember the young Bosnian from our trip to Galatasaray last season when he was pulled on the half hour. Apparently he was so bad that Gala even refused to pay him. While that's just my dramatic speculation, Hajrović was allowed to leave for free after filing a complaint with FIFA over unpaid wages.
A few other players worth mentioning are former top Dutch talent Eljero "BALR" Elia ("You, too, can BALL SO HARD for the low-low price of €75/t-shirt!"), former object of non-Azpilicuetian desires Theodor Gebre Selassie, former Football Manager all-star Felix "not quite Toni" Kroos, and
former currently highly promising and coveted, 19-year-old striker Davie Selke.
Werder start their league season one week after Chelsea but will have a cup game the previous weekend, so this match will be their penultimate chance to get ready for business. The green-whites, who will reportedly wear their fancy new away kits against Chelsea, have yet to lose this preseason (5 wins, 2 draws).
Chelsea team news: We should be expecting appearances from Didier Drogba, John Obi Mikel, Thibaut Courtois, and perhaps Eden Hazard as well. The final batch of World Cup returnees, the three Brazilians and André Schürrle will join up after the match.
Previously: In 2006, back when Werder had the likes of Miroslav Klose, Per Mertesacker, and Diego Ribas and Chelsea had the likes of John Terry, Petr Čech, and Didier Drogba, the two teams were drawn together in the Champions League group stages. A 2-0 win at the Bridge in September was followed by a 1-0 loss in November after Chelsea had already qualified for the knockout rounds. Of course, Jose Mourinho was probably none too happy, especially after his pre-match boast of "I only play football to lose when I play against my kids."