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Possession based 433 (4141 DM Wide)

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I'm trying to make 2 versions of a 433 work (4141 DM Wide in exact FM terms, but it plays like a 433). The 2 systems look similar on paper but there's a big difference in how they (should) play. I'm testing both systems with Bayern. They're the strongest team in the German league, they have the squad to play a possession based 433. If I can't make it work with Bayern, I'm basically lost and shouldn't bother trying with other teams...


What am I trying to achieve?

- 2 different tactics from the same shape/formation to attack opponents in different ways

- functional possession: Winning games is, of course, the main goal. But we want to play in a dominant way. I don't need to completely dominate possession but I'd prefer if we kept 50+ percent possession in most games. Being dangerous but also keeping possession a bit.

- replicate the way Bayern have generally played over the last decade under Van Gaal, Guardiola, Heynckes and now Flick (I'm aware there are differences in how they played under the different managers but the general emphasis on 'dominant football', patient buildup until an opening comes up has always been the same).


Both systems employ 'Positive' mentality and a split pressing block. All front 5 players (with the exception of Thiago) have a PI to press more. I use 'dribble more' and 'be more expressive' (both only apply to the attacking phase in the final third) as it suits my players. But this is not something I insist on. If it helps to enhance performance, I'm more than willing to change this.


Non negotiables in the playing style:

- Play out of defense

- GK distribution to defenders & fullbacks

- Work ball into box

- The use of either a 433 or 4231 system


Here are my 2 systems: The first one (433 Halfback) spreads the ball around with a Playmaker and attacks the opponent on the flanks. The second one (433 Regista) makes use of a creative passer from deep to funnels the buildup inside to the Regista.



433 Halfback: A HB to protect the 2 CB, while both FB run up and down the flanks to provide natural overlaps on the wings (thus no additional overlap TI). Thiago as the focal point in MF in as the sole playmaker and a BBM next to him to provide runs from the center. Both wings on support duty as they should provide double-teams with the attacking Fullbacks. However, Gnabry is a bit more of a finisher (IF role) while Coman is more of a dribbler/creator, so I have him as a IW. Lewandowski can basically morph into any role you want him to play, but for a possession based style I thought a deeper role like DLF-a should do well. The idea is to attack teams down the flanks and use Thiago in a central role to spread the ball around.

Maybe I should add 'focus play down left/right flank' TI with the natural overlaps on the wings?



433 Regista: Same TI as above but different roles. Thiago is in a Regista role and should be THE focal point of our buildup play (think Xabi Alonso or Pirlo). He's basically our Quarterback. Both Fullbacks are in IWB roles to screen and protect the Regista. In front of the Regista are 2 runners from deep who should attack space between the lines. Müller has 20 'off the ball' and outstanding mentals in general, with 18 'stamina' and 19 'natural fitness', so he can run up and down the seams all game. With Müller in an attacking role to create overloads on the left with Coman, I've set Gnabry to an attacking duty on the right. Lewandowski remains in his DLF role.

Maybe I should add 'focus play through the middle' TI with the Regista and both IWB in central areas?


That was my way of thinking. So far the results have been fairly poor, so I need your help to improve both tactical setups. At the moment I'm struggling even against teams like Köln or Paderborn (1-1 in both games, with around 42 percent possession). What am I doing wrong? What do I have to change to make it work?

Edited by burnum
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I'm a novice so I don't really know how the game works, and I'm just curious. Why combine an IW or IF with an IWB? The instructions read like the inverted attackers tuck in up front to allow for overlapping fullbacks or wingbacks. With inverted wingbacks also tucking in as they move up the field, it seems like there's not any width to the formation, and all four players behind Lewandowski crowd into the center on the attack.

I also always thought a DLF role was for a strike partnership typically, so with just one striker it takes away a true center forward option. Lewy seems more like a poacher or a lead-the-line AF kind of guy, at least in Bayern's system? He also seems like a monster for crosses, and the team has I think good crossers.

As for replicating Bayern's current setup goes, have you considered trying Kimmich as the DM? Or in a double pivot (with Thiago, I think?), and Muller central in a 4-2-3-1. That formation always seems to work well in this game, though I understand it's not what you are really going for.

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2 hours ago, burnum said:

@Experienced Defender I could really need your help here... After some testing, the Regista system seems to work half-decently but the Halfback system is completely useless.

I don't have the time to read through your entire opening post, so I'll just tell you what is problematic (IMHO) in each of your 2 tactics. 


5 hours ago, burnum said:


In this tactic, the first problem is your central midfield setup relative to the fullbacks. If you want to have both fullbacks on attack duty, then you need a more covering/holding type of CM roles. But I would avoid having both fullbacks on attack at the same time anyway. I'd rather have one on attack duty and the other also attack-minded, but on support (more precisely - WB on support). Having said that, this would be my setup:


IFat                                  IWsu

APsu    CAR


WBsu    CDde   CDde    FBat


This way you are avoiding one-dimensionality on the flanks and getting more solid cover defensively. The DLF's duty is changed to support so that he could better support the midfield in the build-up phase, given that neither of the CMs is a real attack-minded runner from deep. 

When it comes to instructions, I don't see any point in narrowing the attacking width when you manage a top team like Bayern, who will in most situation face very defensive opposition. Therefore, leave the width on default. Another team instruction that is not needed is run at defence. If you want to utilize dribbling skills of certain players, do that via player instruction "Dribble more" for those specific players. 

Out-of-possession TIs look good :thup: I would only add a split block for the front 3 players

5 hours ago, burnum said:


In this second tactic, the first problem is insufficient defensive protection in relation to the regista. If you want to use a regista, you need to make sure there is at least one player near him who will provide defensive cover.

If you want to use a CM on attack duty, then I would rather pair him with a standard winger on the flank than IW. If you want the IW, then go with a mezzala instead of CM.

So, this is a possible setup for you to consider:


Wsu                                   IFat

CMat    CAR


IWBsu   CDde  CDde   IWBde




IWsu                               IFsu

MEZat   BWMsu


IWBsu   CDde   CDde   WBat


Instructions-wise, you don't need to distribute specifically to CBs and FBs because you have a designated deep-lying PM (regista) and are already using the Play out of defence TI. 

As for other instructions, what I said about the first tactic applies to this one as well.


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