2. Bundesliga rematch
Chelsea’s initial choice to replace Frank Lampard was Ralf Rangnick as an interim manager. Failing at that, they turned towards one of his many apprentices in Tuchel. Rangnick’s coaching tree is wide, rivaling even Marcelo Bielsa’s, and opposite in the dugout to Tuchel will be another Rangnick apprentice and another manager Chelsea was rumored to be looking at: Ralph Hasenhuttl.
Tuchel and Hasenhuttl have faced off four times before this match, with all four being when both were in the Bundesliga. The first two matches came when Hasenhuttl was at FC Ingolstadt in the 2015/2016 season. Tuchel’s Dortmund were convincing winners both times with a 4-0 and a 2-0 to their name.
The following season, Hasenhuttl had jumped over to newly promoted upstarts RB Leibzig. The Austrian immediately went all in with Rangnick and the Red Bull International style of play, but it still wasn’t enough to get completely past Tuchel. Both sides saw themselves victors of 1-0 wins.
Chelsea versus Southampton exists somewhere in between those four meetings. Southampton isn’t as good as Leipzig was then or as poor as Ingolstadt. Chelsea isn’t as good as Dortmund was then either, though on current form they arguably are the equivalent. This will be a matchup of two of Rangnick’s most successful students at two very different teams quality and form wise. Will past encounters tip the scales? That is the question.