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Burnum 4321 Double Volante - Great Underdog Tactic - back-to-back promotions, Paderborn to Champions League in 3 yrs

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Ok, first of all I need to say a few things:

1.) We all know that those 3-striker tactics are the way to go this year. So far they seem superior to everything else. But what real-life team plays 3 pure strikers (unless in the last couple of minutes, when chasing a goal)? Thus I consider these tactics a bit of an ME exploit and refuse to use 3 pure strikers.

2.) This tactic was specifically designed to be an underdog tactic. It's awesome if you're a smallish team but it won't work for every team. If you're Real, Barca, PSG, Bayern or one of those Manchester teams you might want to look for something else. This tactic works best the more attacking your opponent plays against your team.

3.) I didn't create this tactic from scratch, it is basically an evolution of Mr.Rösler's Oathkeeper tactic. set up the formation in a completely different way but playing style goes back to "Uwe". Of course I checked with Mr.Rösler and got his permission to publish my tactics here. You can find his original tactic here: https://community.sigames.com/topic/420948-oathkeeper-for-1812-–-final-thread-results-analysis-bournemouth-2nd-107-league-goals-on-the-counter-attack/

4.) Match preparation is important - don't just test a tactic for a game or two and expect immediate results. Give it a go from pre-season and make sure your team is fluent with the tactic. This should apply to all tactics, not just mine.


The Formation:



Team Instructions:



Download link:

Burnum 4321 Double Volante.fmf


What's the tactical philosophy?

When playing as an underdog you usually can't play too attacking. Still we have an 'attacking' mentality in this tactic - how does this make sense? Let me explain...


First and foremost, this is a defensive tactic which uses 8 men behind the ball when the opponent has the ball. In front of the keeper we have our standard back-four with 3 players in the DMC position, making this a very deep basic shape. We also have our 3 attacking players (IF on the outside with a DLF up front) manually set to close down as much as possible. So we sit deep, protecting our own box with 8 men while still creating a lot of pressure on the ball.

Once we have recovered the ball, usually in our own half, our 3 attacking players and the 2 Segundo Volantes swarm forward and create havoc. While technically we employ an 'attacking' mentality, this is essentially a tactic that sits deep and relies on fast-paced counter attacks.


You don't need the best players to have success with this tactic. You just need some cheap lads who fit the system...


Player Roles:


GK: Just get the best keeper you can and use him to his strengths. If you have someone who's a good Sweeper Keeper, use him as a Sweeper Keeper. If he's more of a traditional Keeper, set him as a 'normal' GK.

Guys that I used: Dominik Reimann (BVB II), Wouter Beukers (Dutch youngster)

Perfect fit: Just get the best keeper you possibly can...


CD: Make sure they're good in the air (Jumping, Heading, Strength) and can cover (Positioning, Marking, Tackling). If they have good mental stats or/and are quick, that's a nice bonus.

Guys that I used: Lukas Boeder (SCP), Mamadou Doucouré (Gladbach II)

Perfect fit: John Terry, Jamie Carragher, Daniel van Buyten


WB: First and foremost we need players who can cover the flanks and protect us from crosses and cut-ins from wide players. If they're decent going forward that's a nice bonus but not necessary.

Guys that I used: Felix Herzenbruch (SCP), Jordy Gaspar (Monaco Reserves), Kyle Walker-Peters (Tottenham Reserves)

Perfect fit: Eric Abidal (defense first), Phillip Lahm (great allrounder)


DLP: He doesn't need to be fast but he needs good mental and technical stats. Usually you can get a good veteran player for cheap to play this role. This is basically a glorified Anchor Man, sitting in front of the back-four, providing coverage without too much movement. Once we recover the ball, he's often involved with a pass to start the counter. Defensive skills and passing are key for this role.

Guys that I used: Aykut Soyak (SCP), Carel Eiting (Jong Ajax)

Perfect fit: Sergi Busquets, Xavi Alonso in his later days when he wasn't mobile anymore but still a great passer


VOL: These guys are the true heroes of this tactic. You need 2 real workhorses who are willing to run all day. Work Rate, Teamwork, Stamina, Positioning, Off the Ball, Passing are all important for them. When in defense, they close down the opposing team deep in our own half. Once we get possession, they move up the pitch and support the counter-attack, often arriving late in the area for a shot opportunity. These guys are basically Box-to-Box guys playing in the DMC strata.

Guys that I used: Niklas Dorsch (Bayern II), Kenneth Paal (Jong PSV), Fankie de Jong (Jong Ajax), Pedro Chirivella (Liverpool Reserves)

Perfect fit: Arturo Vidal, Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, Tiémoué Bakayoko, Leon Goretzka (retrain as DMC)


IF: Speed kills! You need the to get forward as quickly as possible once the counter-attack is on. These can either be true IF or pacey strikers who can also play on the wing. I have a preference to play them on their inverted foot (lefty on the right side and vice-versa).

Guys that I used: Timothy Tillman (Bayern II), Julian Green (Stuttgart), Vaclav Cerny (Jong Ajax)

Perfect fit: Arjen Robben without all the injuries (right IF), Julian Brandt (left IF), Alexis Sanchez


DLF: Just get the best striker you can get and make sure he isn't too slow. I've had success with smaller speedsters as well as with bigger strikers. Big body, good technical/finishing skills, decent speed.

Guys that I used: Fiete Arp (HSV U19), Odsonne Edouard (PSG Reserves), Adalberto Penaranda (Venezuela)

Perfect fit: Robert Lewandowski, Alváro Morata



In Post #2 I'll show you some of my results with an extreme underdog team.

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Started in German 3rd Division with my hometown team Paderborn. Expected to finish 5th, we easily got promoted, mostly using this tactic. After promotion we had the smallest budget of any 2nd Division team, yet we still managed to get promoted instantly. After 2 promotions in a row, we entered the Bundesliga as 1000-1 underdogs, expected to finish 18th (out of 18) with basically no money to spend at all. Signed a bunch of no-names and loanees, finished 2nd position (only behind Bayern), using this tactic exclusively for the entire season.


First Season (3rd Div): Expected 5th, finished 1st



Second Season (Bundesliga 2): Expected 12th, finished 1st



Third Season (Bundesliga): Expected 18th, finished 2nd



Bundesliga Results:



Just to show you how much of an underdog we are, take a look at the wage budgets per season (in Euros): We're dead last by a wide margin...




In post #3 I'll give some additional information like training or in-game tweaks...

Tabelle 1.jpg


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Just the usual training routine - use pre-season to get the tactic fluent. As soon as the tactic is fluent, switch to a normal training routine.

I use 'Defensive Positioning' in most games. Only if I play at home against smaller teams I occassionally use 'Attacking Movement'.




In-game tweaks:


General tweaks:

- When playing an opposing formation that doesn't use anyone in the DMC position (e.g. a standard flat 4-4-2), tick 'exploit the middle' TI.

- If your opponent has a dominant player in the AMC position, change the DLP to an Anchor Man.


When chasing a goal late in the game:

- change DLP to support duty (you might as well change him to Anchor Man if you expect a lot of pressure through the middle)

- change DLF to attack duty

- change both Wing Backs to attack duty


When defending a lead late in the game:

- change both Wing Backs to defend duty

- change both Segundo Volantes to support duty

- change both Inside Forwards to support duty

- tick 'be more disciplined' TI

- (optional) switch mentality to 'Defensive' and tick 'waste time' TI - if you do this I recommend unticking 'use offside trap' TI


What to do when I get someone sent off?

To prevent getting someone sent off, I usually either sub a player who's been booked or tell him to ease off tackles (PI).

If someone is sent off, there are usually 2 scenarios - either you're content with the current score and just need to bring the result home or you're still in need of a goal.


When you're happy with the current result (e.g. when you're leading):

- take off one of your IF (to replace the player who got sent off) and move the other remaining IF to the AMC strata, tick 'exploit the middle' TI

- (optional) you might as well add the steps from above to defend a lead late in a game

Result: We concentrate on keeping our 8-men-defense to bring home the result. The striker and AMC are our 2 attacking players while the 2 Segundo Volantes will still offer support from their deep positions.


You still need a goal and can't concentrate on shutting up shop:

- take off the DLP (to replace the player who got sent off)

- set one Segundo Volante to support duty and the switch the CD on the opposite side to a 'Ball Playing Defender'

- (optional) you might as well add the steps from above on how to chase a goal late

Result: When chasing a goal while being a man down, we're in a very difficult situation to begin with. We can't just sit back and defend, so we have to take risks. We keep our attacking trio on the pitch and also keep the Segundo Volantes. However, with the DLP now gone, we need one of the Volantes to be more responsible with his forward runs (thus setting him to support duty) and we also need one of the Centre Backs to play those opening passes which the DLP used to play (thus changing one CD to BPD).


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  • burnum changed the title to Burnum 4321 Double Volante - Great Underdog Tactic - back-to-back promotions

Finished 2nd with local minnows SC Paderdorn in the German Bundesliga, only trailing FC Bayern. I used this tactic for the entire season (as well as the last season, when we achieved promotion from 2nd Bundesliga). This was achieved without any major signings, my team consists of former 3rd Division players and a bunch of youngsters/loanees.


Pictures in Post 2 are updated... This thing is for real. If you play with an underdog team, this is the way to go.

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vor 17 Stunden schrieb macca72:

Will try this - out of interest did you consider making this strikerless?

Could work quite nicely with a shadow striker.

I consider using strikerless tactics or tactics with 3 strikers an exploit of the ME and simply refuse to use these. I will always play 1 or 2 strikers in all of my base formations (as 99 percent of real football teams do).

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2 hours ago, burnum said:

I consider using strikerless tactics or tactics with 3 strikers an exploit of the ME and simply refuse to use these. I will always play 1 or 2 strikers in all of my base formations (as 99 percent of real football teams do).

This. How the game, with such fundamental flaws, make it to release is beyond me. Excusing the fact that people who can't play without such exploits or glitches are VERY vocal when it comes to anyone suggesting the ME be repaired.

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This tactic is still working under the new patch. Look at the picture of the CL match of my hometown-team SC Paderborn at FC Sevilla. Sevilla have more possession and overall shots, yet 9 of their 15 shots are long shots and they didn't have any CCC all game while 7 of our 11 shots are either clear-cut chances or half chances. We leave the ball to the opponent for the most part but once we get possession we'll hit them on the counter. We've won the game 3-1. I still don't have a good squad, just a bunch of freebies or cheap transfers and some loanees. My biggest signing was 5 million. So you surely can have success with a small team with this tactic.


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  • burnum changed the title to Burnum 4321 Double Volante - Great Underdog Tactic - back-to-back promotions, Paderborn to Champions League in 3 yrs

I’ll give this a go.  Playing as Forest in my first season in thr EPL after promotion.  Only got promotion through the playoffs last season after a late surge so the majority of my team are still Championship quality.  So this as an underdog tactic seems ideal for me.  Only objective is to avoid relegation, and I sit 5 points clear with 10 games to go.  Hoping this will take me over the line!

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I’m playing on FMT so hopefully that issue is mitigated a little bit.  I still think that it does take players time to get used to any change in tactic though.  Only managed to play a few games with it this morning but it has taken me 8 points clear of the relegation zone and secured safety.  Very happy considering I was predicted to finish rock bottom 20th!

Still got pumped in the couple of games I’ve played against the big teams, losing by 3 and 4 goals but their squads are absolutely ridiculous compared to mine.  Going to invest heavily in the defence in the summer and see where that takes me with the tactic next season.

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Sometimes the skill-gap between your own team and the biggest teams in the game is simply too big to overcome. The tactic usually works well against team who are better or slightly better than you but of course you can't expect to beat Man City or Arsenal with a team expected to battle relegation. But you'll have a good chance beating any team aside from maybe the top 4-5 in England.


In Germany I've always struggled against Bayern and Dortmund, as the gap in player quality is simply too big for the tactic to overcome. On a good day I might get a result against Dortmund but I still get my butt kicked twice a year against Bayern. However, if I have a chance against those other 15-18 teams (depending on the league you're playing in) you're still in good buisness...

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  • 2 weeks later...

Right, giving this a whirl on my very inconsistent first season with Crystal Palace. Can’t get any run going, get tanked away from home, etc so this is the new hope! Sitting in 10th with 4 games to go coming off the back of 4 straight losses

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I would like to thank you for this formation Burnum.  I've tried a few listed here (FuSS/Knap) with my lower league Conf South save.

Yours has by far been the most effective.  I have pulled the mentality back from attacking in the tough matches but promotion arrived straight away.

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I've had a decent run of success with this formation with underdog teams (finishing 2nd with Werder Bremen) but found that towards the end of the season, performance would trail off, performance of the attacking three would suffer, and the team would create less chance than before. I became especially vulnerable against teams playing a 4-2-3-1 with two DMs. I'm going to continue a save through an entire offseason to see what it looks like after, but was wondering if you've ever encountered similar dry stretches.

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Thank you Burnum, your tactic is incredible, i tweaked the tac a little bit because i like Conte's 3-4-3 Wide, and the result is amazing, my team currently sitting on top of the league with 2 big wins against City and Spurs



Newcastle v Man City_ Match Review.png

Newcastle United_  Overview.png

Tottenham v Newcastle_ Match Review.png

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3 hours ago, ViG1980 said:

Seems as though this is made ONLY for playing against better sides than you.

I just won the Championship with Wolves playing a slight variation of this. Since Wolves were predicted at least a playoff spot, I'd have to disagree - it worked equally well against everyone in the division. The changes I made were purely personal preference - dropped the mentality to 'control' for almost all games; dropped the tempo a notch to cut down on long/poor shots and increase possession a little; switched to 'low crosses' because none of my forwards had decent heading; turned off all the 'tackle harder' PIs because they do nothing except increase cards; and adjusted the fullbacks' role and duty according to who was playing, and who we were playing against.

Finished the season first for goals scored, and second for goals conceded. It did work very well against superior teams, though. We won the Carabao Cup, beating six premiership teams including Man City, Chelsea, and Southampton in the final.

An excellent tactic, in my opinion!

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29 minutes ago, eflakbogdanbeyi said:

whats about OIs?

Assuming that's aimed at me, I don't use them. Ever.

To quote (more or less) Cleon: OIs are the spawn of Satan and just make players do things that I don't want them to do.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Started so UNpromising with Vitesse in Eredivisie - quanhanh's tweaks - I am now 4 games into Eredivisie with 4 wins and sent Real Sociedad back to their hometown after a 2-0 at my own turf - awesome start both at domestic and continental level.

Awesome job, guys.

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On 1/8/2018 at 10:50, quanhanh said:

Thank you Burnum, your tactic is incredible, i tweaked the tac a little bit because i like Conte's 3-4-3 Wide, and the result is amazing, my team currently sitting on top of the league with 2 big wins against City and Spurs



Newcastle v Man City_ Match Review.png

Newcastle United_  Overview.png

Tottenham v Newcastle_ Match Review.png



Can we have ur tac to trial out pls?

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