So, we’ve got our players in place for the team after a previous article went over my preferred personnel changes. If you missed it, you can find it here (editors note: link the previous mannschaft planen article here), but if you want a refresher, here’s the low-down.
Randal Kolo Muani – €100m
João Cancelo – €50m
Manuel Ugarte – €40m
Alexander Nübel – €20m
Yann Sommer – €10m
Marcel Sabitzer – €25m
Sadio Mané – €35m
Bouna Sarr – Donated to charity
“Not another #@$!ing three at the back system, please!” – Ineednoname probably
Thomas Tuchel’s most successful teams have all used the 3-4-2-1. From his 2020 Paris Saint-Germain team, to the 2021 Champions League winning Chelsea team, all the way back to Tuchel’s very first top level job at Borussia Dortmund in 2016. I present to you, Tuchel’s final form in Bayern colours. Now, there are some key personnel factors I want to make sure are known.
The wing backs will always be picked such that one wing back can invert while the other is more comfortable going wide, and then the two interior forwards will adapt to those wing backs. For example, if the left back is João Cancelo who prefers to invert, the left winger should be Kingsley Coman who is comfortable going wide. There are innumerable different permutations in these positions. Konrad Laimer, while offering depth in midfield, will also be used as a right wing back where he can use his pace and ability in tight spaces on the counter.
The biggest change by far will be the role of Leon Goretzka. This is not something I think is likely to happen as Goretzka has his own ideas and thoughts about where he should be played but this is simply the only way he can perform well. I am electing to make Leon Goretzka a centre-back. Goretzka simply does not have the ability in the final third to make a positive impact, often spurning chances with a loose touch or poor shot, and this combined with a lack of involvement in build up makes him essentially a non-factor in midfield. I think moving Goretzka to centre-back will allow him to play his best passing game which is a methodical but moderately progressive one, and he can of course utilise his massive frame in defense, maybe stepping ahead of the defensive line at times to recover the ball while the other centre backs drop if playing against a two striker or false nine system. The same applies to Matthijs de Ligt too, essentially turning the central defender into a libero.
I won’t be putting De Ligt in the libero role here because the Bundesliga doesn’t really do false nine or two striker systems, rather the team will resemble this most of the time when on the ball.
The three centre-backs of course take the width of the pitch to resist the press, and all three capable forward passers so finding options shouldn’t be an issue. New signing Manuel Ugarte operates as the screening number six, picking up the ball from the centre-backs and distributing it forward to the wing backs or to Joshua Kimmich. Kimmich plays as an Achten, but with Mazraoui and Davies present ahead of him he has as many options as he did even when he plays as a number six. Kimmich is the centre of everything in build up, as he can play penetrative passes for Randal Kolo Muani to run into but is also capable of spreading play from side to side. He really glues together the attack.
Kolo Muani is capable in the air and extremely quick so launching counters using his pace should be a priority, as well as getting crosses in which has been something Bayern have struggled with. While Bayern are great at creating opportunities to cross, the crossing itself has been subpar and will have to be a major topic of training.
This is the shape I would envision with the libero in place, along with the wing back roles being mirrored for demonstration purposes. I prefer Benjamin Pavard to Dayot Upamecano in this system as Pavard is stronger in the tackle and there is not need for a ball player from deep as Goretzka/De Ligt and Ugarte would provide enough simple passing options.
The more observant amongst you may have noticed that this system has a midfield box of four, very similar to Pep Guardiola’s current Manchester City team. That is no accident. In the age of the 4-2-3-1, the midfield box has proven wildly successful at allowing teams with good passers to play through high presses. Leroy Sané subs in for Thomas Müller here in the number ten role, which works better as Müller would be stranded with no real ability to open up space for others but Sané’s ability to run through the defense and play killer balls from deep would be well served receiving from the midfield box.
I think overall this combination of systems applied as and when the opposition’s shape calls for it will be the best way for Bayern Munich to go forward.
What do you think of these systems? Are there any tweaks you would make? Let us know in the discussion below.