The International Champions Cup returns to action on Saturday with four marquee matchups across two continents.
Manchester United vs Inter – Singapore National Stadium (Singapore)
It all kicks off in Singapore where Manchester United face Inter Milan at Singapore National Stadium. It will be the first time the two sides meet since the 2014 ICC. In that game the Red Devils beat I Nerazzurri in a penalty shootout.
United have already played two preseason friendlies; they defeated Leeds United (4-0) and Perth Glory (2-0). Back in the lineup will be keeper David de Gea, who missed the game against Leeds with an illness. Whether Romelu Lukaku will be back in the squad is another story entirely.
The striker has been linked with a move to Inter all summer, which creates an interesting subplot to the matchup. Inter have named 27-players for their tour of Asia and the game against Manchester United will be their first significant friendly of the summer.
Benfica vs Chivas – Levi’s Stadium (Santa Clara, California)
From Singapore, we are heading to East to California where Benfica face Mexican side C.D Guadalajara - better known as Chivas. For Benfica, this will be the first game at the International Champions Cup.
At the same time, Benfica are no strangers to club soccer’s premier summer tournament, having participated in the 2015 and 2018 editions of the International Champions Cup. The club has been busy in the United States already by announcing a strategic partnership with the San Francisco 49ers.
Whether that will give them a home advantage at Levi’s Stadium is doubtful, however. A strong Mexican contingent is expected when Mexican giants Chivas play their second game of the tournament.
The Liga MX side, however, were left somewhat frustrated after their encounter against Fiorentina on matchday 1. Although they were dominant at times, they lost that game 2-1 against the Italians, failing to convert a penalty that could have made the game 2-2. This may provide additional motivation for Tomas Boy's squad.
Arsenal vs Fiorentina – Bank of America Stadium (Charlotte, North Carolina)
Speaking of Fiorentina, the Italian side will be in action against Arsenal at the Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte.
That game will be the be the highlight of the two-day House of Soccer event that will take place in Charlotte. The 2019 House of Soccer event will embrace the best of the soccer community in the Queen City. A soccer culture that is embraced by RSG. “We couldn’t be more excited to be partnering with Bank of America Stadium on this long-term deal at a time when Charlotte has established itself as a premier soccer city,” said Relevent Sports Group CEO Daniel Sillman. As part of the event, there will be a fan march to the stadium ahead of the game.
Meanwhile, on the pitch, both sides will want to build on their matchday 1 victories. For Fiorentina, Arsenal will be an important test, the Europa League finalist, after all, is part of England’s top six. Arsenal, meanwhile, want to confirm their 2-1, last-minute victory against German giants Bayern Munich was a sign of things to come.
Bayern Munich vs Real Madrid – NRG Stadium (Houston, Texas)
Finally, Real Madrid are in action! The record Champions League winners will face FC Bayern, Germany's record champions, in a blockbuster matchup at NRG Stadium in Houston.
It is the biggest matchup of the day, and perhaps the tournament. The two teams constitute European royalty and have met 26 times in European competitions. Bayern have a slight lead in the head-to-head having won 12 out of the 26 games, Real have won 11, and the other three games have been draws.
Real, however, have held the upper hand lately. The Spaniards have eliminated Bayern from the Champions League in 2017 and 2018, both times under controversial circumstances. There is always drama when those two giants meet, and the matchup is the closest thing to a pan-European derby.