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The Stuttgart Academy Of Higher Learning – An Attempt to Learn to Master the Game

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I'm blown away by all the great feedback! Even if I don't manage to respond to all of it I want you to know that I read everything and take it all in. I have to admit the 4-4-1-1 was my least favourite choice of the Assistant suggestions, but some of the feedback here is making me seriously reconsider. I like the sound of a "lance" tactic. Just sounds cool. I know that isn't necessarily the best decision making instrument, but that's how I work.

Tasci as a libero? That's something I hadn't considered. Are you suggesting a 3-man defence Cleon? That would be cool.

I'm not set on the roles at all! In fact, so far I've gone with the description of the roles in order to make sense of it. Haven't looked at the individual sliders at all, and I'm not sure I'm ready for that just yet.

Arab: Yeah, I'm a bit concerned about leaving Harnik out as well. He looks a potent weapon.

I'm posting 2 more tactics in a short while and I think I may have come to a (potentially quite obvious, when you think about it) realization about PPMs. As mentioned I haven't given them much thought in the past, now I see how they can be used to add an extra dimension to your tactic. I'll talk more about that later.

Oh, and keep the feedback coming, I'm loving it :D

Yeah 3 at the back. Probably not a good idea while you are learning though because they can be frustrated, but maybe for something infuture? Back 3's are fun to set up imo :D

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4312start.png

This is the last formation suggested by my Assistant. This is a 2 striker formation with nobody on the wings. Normally I’d think it would be a good idea to get some with from the fullbacks. Boka as you can see adds with down the left wing, Hoogland offers nothing going down the right wing.

4312startmovement.png

The formation brings an AMC into the picture.Hajnal is the more experienced and developed of my two AMCs and would act as a playmaker, even if I told him not to :D I guess. Interestingly, switching him with Torun would add something different to the mix. Torun looks more like a dribbler.

Next up is an old favorite. The good old classic 4-3-3.

433start.png

It looks a lot like the previous formation, just with an additional striker. Harnik, who I’d love to use can also play in that position. This is where the light-bulb moment I mentioned in my last post came to me. By adding a player like Harnik who likes to run down the right wing I can add with to an otherwise narrow formation? Is that right?

433startmovement.png

With Boka going forward is it a better idea to put William Kvist on the left side? Either as a BWM(D) or a CM(D)?

Right. The bad news is I have the flu so I need some sleep right now. The good news is I have the flu so I get to think and write a lot about this. Tomorrow I’ll make a decision. I’m torn between the 4-4-1-1 and the 4-3-3 right now, but I’m still very much open to suggestions.

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Sorry to shove my nose in this, but i have just started a new game as Rangers, and i want to create a tactic to suit my players, but when i use the comparison with other teams and am the best in all catorgaries !! does this mean how ever i set my team to play i should always win ???

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Sorry to shove my nose in this, but i have just started a new game as Rangers, and i want to create a tactic to suit my players, but when i use the comparison with other teams and am the best in all catorgaries !! does this mean how ever i set my team to play i should always win ???

No, it means that you have more strengths than the opposition you are facing. This gives you more options as to how you wish to play, but it doesn't mean anything will work.

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I'm also following the thread. Looks like I can learn a lot from all the different ideas and approaches to the game :)

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So, I’ve settled on a 4-4-1-1 formation. I know, on the surface at least, it doesn’t make the most of the squad I have. Thing is I want to develop players to play the strategy I decide and 4-4-1-1 seems a suitable counter attacking formation.

I took a closer look at the squad and that decided it for me. Harnik is Unconvincing in the MR role, but actually Competent in the DR role. A position that is my sore spot as it is. Although he is not a defender as such at 25 I don’t feel it is too late to school him to be, and I’m confident he’ll be a better option than Hoogland.

The next key element here will be rotation. Cacau can play in the AMC position. Not as good as in the ST position, but good enough. Ibisevic can then get game time as an ST. He’ll probably play as a Deep Lying Forward. Here’s what that will look like.

4411start2.png

Here’s the movement. Remember, the blue arrows can be both the runs with ball and the gets forward whenever possible PPMs.

4411startmovement2.png

Roles are the next thing I’m not sure about, but for now, this is how I’ll line up. I know I'm utilizing some players outside of their best positions, but it's important for me to look more at the system than the individual players.

I’m looking forward to pressing continue for the first time, but there’s still a lot of work to do. I need to look at the prospects I have and the backroom staff. For that I need to read through Cleon’s Ajax thread again.

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Wow! Your realise that with those Tackling, Marking, Positioning, Decisions and Composure stats Harnik is going to get roasted by any half decent winger right? He might be fast enough to make up for some mistakes but he'll be out of position a lot, unable to reliably get tight to opponents to mark them and not great at deciding when to tackle (or succeeding when he does try it). He should provide a lot going forward but if I was you I would keep a VERY close eye on him in pre-season and try and get one game against a team with a good left winger to see how he holds up. Arrange a friendly with Spurs and see how he deals with Gareth Bale :D

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It's the old gutsy me making that decision. I'll definitely try to find a better defensive option, but I actually do prefer Harnik to Hoogland in that position.

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Meet the Prospects

I’ve done a bit of reshuffling in the backroom staff to get people in who are more aligned with the philosophy I’m setting for the team. More on those changes later.

Here are the most promising prospects at the club. Tutors won’t be assigned just yet as I need to see what I’ve got to work with.

timowernerstart.png

Timo is the one we’re all hoping for at the Stuttgart Academy. He has the potential to go all the way. At the tender age of 16 there is plenty of time to train him for the DLF(S) role he needs to play. We’ll start with the worst attributes for that role; strength, passing and dribbling. I have a few mentors coming in and I will want to use one of those on him. He definitely needs to lose the Fairly Sporting personality he has today.

steffenlangstart.png

Lang doesn’t have superstar potential, but with our current woes at right back he needs to become an option fast. This year I want to focus on the defensive side of his game. That means Positioning, Marking and Tackling on a 4 month rotation. He has a balanced personality, which I’d obviously like to change to something more professional.

robinyalcinstart.png

Although his natural game is as a DM, that’s not a role I need. Fortunately he is also accomplished in the DC position and that’s what I’ll use him as. This season I want to work on his Strength, Jumping and Heading in 4 month rotation. I think I’ll have the Resolute Tasci tutor Yalcin.

raphaelholzhauserstart.png

Holzhauser is a central midfielder and I will want to use him in that role. I think he ought to be a little stronger so I’ll work on his strength. His Marking and Tackling could also do with a bit of improvement this season. Finally I’d like to take his Off the ball attribute up a notch this season as well. That’s a 3 month rotation. Raphael is fairly ambitious which is a good starting point. I’ve decided to let the fairly professional Tomas Hajnal tutor him with the aim of transferring a few PPMs as well. Hajnal has decent PPMs for the type of midfielder I want Holzhauser to become.

ranikhedirastart.png

Khedira is another DM. That won’t fly at the New Stuttgart so part of his training this season will be for the MC position. With some key training he looks like he could become a decent BWM. Although Kvist is light hearted I think he’d be a good tutor for Khedira. Besides MC training he’ll work on Marking and Tackling primarily this season.

odisseasvlachodimosstar.png

A goalkeeper. Well, that’s different I suppose. I’ll work on his Handling, Positioning and Agility this season.

kevinstgerstart.png

Stöger is an AMC and so far I’ve decided to try out a Trequartista type role in that position, so I’ll work on Stöger to become that type of player. I’m hoping to get Litmanen in to tutor him. This season I’ll work on his Strength, Stamina, Composure and Finishing.

francescolovricstart.png

This young Midfielder will spend a lot of this year in the Gym and on the track working on his strength and Stamina. I’ll also look for a good mentor for him.

ericberkostart.png

I need MRs and Berko is going to be one of them, so he’ll be on MR positional training. Additionally he’ll work on Stamina, Agility, Balance and Quickness this season.

danieldidavistart.png

Didavi is injured right now, which is a shame cause he really needs to show some development this season if he is going to reach his potential. He is expected to be out for 4-6 months so little can be said about his development right now.

antoniorudigerstart.png

Rüdiger has the potential to become a decent Bundesliga defender. The fact that he can also play at right back might mean he will get some game time this season. He is fairly ambitious which is a good starting point. He needs a tutor. Composure needs training, Marking, Tackling and positioning also needs a bit of work.

andrweisstart.png

Decent looking young keeper, who due to the standard of our keepers might get some match experience. Handling, Positioning and Agility are the focus points.

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Love the thread.

If it's the 4411 in the post #58 you're using, I can see the reason for few chances as it lacks players in the box to finish off the moves. Perhaps you've counted too much on the PPMs? Personally I see the forward going PPMs as a booster for the instructions, but for instance not sure of the really long forward arrow for the CB in the picture; perhaps it's just a tad too much of wishful thinking.

How about giving Tunay attacking duty as he likes to cut inside, perhaps he would end up in a position to finish off some moves.

Waiting for the update tomorrow.

-SnUrF

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Ok. Taking one more game tonight.

You're right SnUrF. Basically there are two problems. I don't score, and the defence is leaky. The latter I'm hoping can be taken care of through training. The former, I'm definitely going to try your suggestion.

That brings up a question. How do you plan your attack? It's obvious this formation will lack bodies in the box. How do I solve that problem?

I've set the AMC up to be a Trequartista, is that a good or a bad idea? I have my ST in a supporting role to support linkup play with the midfield, but seeing as he's my only man in the box it seems an inefficient role.

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Good thread.

When people say putting someone on Acceleration, Passing and Shooting on a 3 month rotation, does that mean Acceleration for 3 months, then Passing for 3, then shooting for 3, or, Acc for 1 then change to Pass for 1, then Shooting for 1 and repeat until they've done 3 months worth? Does it make a difference? How long do you have to train to notice an improvement?

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Good thread.

When people say putting someone on Acceleration, Passing and Shooting on a 3 month rotation, does that mean Acceleration for 3 months, then Passing for 3, then shooting for 3, or, Acc for 1 then change to Pass for 1, then Shooting for 1 and repeat until they've done 3 months worth? Does it make a difference? How long do you have to train to notice an improvement?

It means each one for 3 months before changing to the next one. If you want to see what sort of changes to expect then have a look for my Ajax thread a little further down and you'll see quite a few examples in that :)

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I promised an update yesterday, so, sorry about that :D

As I told you I'm in a bit of trouble. Form stinks and the tactic just isn't working. Here's our latest game, against Frankfurt, which didn't quite end the way we could have hoped. We lost 3-1.

Here's how the teams positioned themselves throughout the game.

Stuttgart

overlaystuttgartfrankfu.png

Frankfurt

overlayfrankfurtfrankfu.png

So, it's a 4-4-1-1 vs. a 4-2-3-1 and they made us suffer.

Defensive Woes

As the image below shows our marking for set pieces is horrific. One problem is that the defenders just aren't good enough. It has to be said that Tasci, Kvist, Kuzmanovic, Ibisevic and Kvist have all been or are injured right now. Still, letting TWO opposing players get to the ball first is unforgivable.

frankfurt10nocornermark.png

The next goal is symptomatic in many ways. We are starting our build-up play when Hoffer disposseses Yalcin.

frankfurt21preludeballl.png

The ball is fed to Aigner.

frankfurt21preludehoffe.png

Who strolls past our defenders for an easy goal.

frankfurt21aignerscores.png

Next is another Stuttgart classic, a throughball (albeit in the air).

frankfurt31oczuoatohoff.png

A bit of acceleration. A header.

frankfurt31hofferheads.png

A rebound. A pounce.

frankfurt31hofferpounce.png

And we're out of the game. The problem with set pieces is about training and setting up the defensive set pieces properly, at least partly. We were always going to be weak on set pieces due to our aerial disabilities. The thing that bothers me the most is the defending against crosses. I hate nothing more than watching my defenders watching the crosser do his thing without trying to stop it. I think, especially when I'm so poor in the air, I need to bring the crossers down.

Solitary Guns

Starting on a positive note, here's our goal.

stuttgart11throughball.png

It's Kuzmanovic with a brilliant throughball to Okazaki who scores from the edge of the area. That's part of our problem, and we just got lucky on this occasion if you ask me.

stuttgartshotemptyspace.png

There's nobody there to back up the front man.

And again.

stuttgartscoringchancee.png

All game we only have one shot near the penalty spot, the rest are from the edge of the area.

stuttgartshots.png

This is how I initially set up the team for the game.

stuttgartfrankfurtstart.png

And this is how I finished the game.

stuttgartfrankfurtend.png

Here's what I think.

First of all, I need more bodies in the area. My striker is far too Isolated. How do I get that though? Is it just one of the limitations of the 4-4-1-1.

Defensively, I need to stop the crosses and that means the crossers. I also need to set up defensive set piece instructions.

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I'll be curious to know how you solve the isolated striker problem - it's one I've suffered with a lot in FM13, even with wingers/IFs in the AML/AMR position.

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After a humiliating 5-2 defeat at the hands of Bayern Munich the Stuttgart board regret to inform you that your services are no longer required.

To be fair Ribery, Robben and Müller tore us a new one.

Ironically, in spite of such a heavy defeat, I feel as though I was making progress.

Usually I'd just go on holiday and send out job applications, but since this is about learning tactics more than making a career of it I'll load the save from a point just before the first friendly.

Tactically, I've worked on a 4-4-2/4-2-2-2 variant that seemed to work fairly well (relatively speaking).

I'll post more details about that tomorrow.

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I recommend moving the midfielders to DMC positions when playing a 424, and set them to DM support. This will improve the defending greatly in my experience. Also, it allows more space for your deep-lying forward(s) to drop deeper and your wingers to cut inside. I have created such a tactic using Classic tactics, so I don't know to which degree it is possible to do so using the TC, but it shouldn't be too far off. If you are interested, I could attempt to do so and report back with my findings.

The 4-4-1-1 formation should work fine, although out of the top of my head it is better to play defensively with an "attacking formation" or offensively with a "defensive formation", so perhaps the selected Counter style is really the root of your problems. Counter isn't designed to let you play quick attacking football, rather it is a careful, possession-oriented style that informs your players to not risk too much going forward so if the defensive line is rather deep and the players are told to stand off, that would explain the lack of attacking options in those screenshots. Also, Counter as a style is rather defensive and defensive tactics are narrow, allowing the opponent space on the flanks, which they will exploit.

A lone striker won't be enough of a threat as a main target early on in the attack, even when he has an attacking midfielder behind him. This is why it is advisable that the striker in that 4411 should be on support duty or even a DLF on support, looking to bring his teammates into play before entering the danger area. How much of a threat did you find your AMC to be? Did he occupy the space of the striker much?

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Solid feedback BiggusD :thup:

I'm at work again after the flu, but I got so hooked on this game it's virtually all I can think about :D

I was considering using DMCs instead of MCs in the 4-2-4, but that would take two of my best options out of the game (at least in their favoured positions).

In the 4-4-1-1 formation I didn't find the AMC to be too much of a threat, however, my first option (Cacau) was injured early on. Yes, he did occupy much of the same space as the striker.

Just to make sure I get your point. A formation that looks offensive should use the Defensive style (the 4-2-4) and a more defensive formation (say the 4-4-1-1) should use a more attacking style?

During the reboot I bought Toby Alderweireld from Ajax (sorry, no screenshot right now). He looks a decent defender and now I have to admit I'm considering a 3-3-2-2 formation :D

With two Ball Playing defenders :D

That's probably a bad idea, but it sure sounds fun.

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I've got Oxford City top of League 2 at the moment on a variation of 3-3-2-2. I use

...................GK

.....CD(X)....CD©.....CD(X)

WB(D).......AnM(D)..........WB(A)

.........AM(A)

.....................AP(S)

.........CF(S).....AF(A)

It's very solid defensively, even with my meager players. If I have the Anchor Man as a Right Footer, MCL as Left footer and AMR as Right footer then they play some lovely stuff through the middle. Against 442 I carve them open time and again. For a bit of variety I use the same formation but have both WBs as (A) then swith the MCL to (S) and the AMR to (A). This way I can go after teams down the flanks rather than through the middle, works better against 41221.

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Solid feedback BiggusD :thup:

I'm at work again after the flu, but I got so hooked on this game it's virtually all I can think about :D

I was considering using DMCs instead of MCs in the 4-2-4, but that would take two of my best options out of the game (at least in their favoured positions).

In the 4-4-1-1 formation I didn't find the AMC to be too much of a threat, however, my first option (Cacau) was injured early on. Yes, he did occupy much of the same space as the striker.

Just to make sure I get your point. A formation that looks offensive should use the Defensive style (the 4-2-4) and a more defensive formation (say the 4-4-1-1) should use a more attacking style?

During the reboot I bought Toby Alderweireld from Ajax (sorry, no screenshot right now). He looks a decent defender and now I have to admit I'm considering a 3-3-2-2 formation :D

With two Ball Playing defenders :D

That's probably a bad idea, but it sure sounds fun.

It is difficult for me to translate my ideas into TC terms, so to be more specific, what I am saying is that Attack tells your team to push up and play widely and quickly with longer passing range (direct), and it tells your players to run forwards quickly when you gain possession of the ball, and be more attack-oriented mentally so that they will take more risks and pass more forwards than sideways and backwards. Counter tells your team to drop deeper and play narrowly and slowly with a shorter passing range (short), and it tells your players to wait a bit before running forwards when you gain possession of the ball, and be more defense-oriented mentally so that they will take less risks and pass more sideways and backwards than forwards.

In other words, if you have many players in advanced positions (like the 424), once you win possession of the ball the advanced players will look to charge forwards immidiately and since the distance they can run before hitting the offside line/opposition defense is quite short, their movement will stop quite quickly. Consequently, the pass must come to your advanced players immidiately or the passer will have to either run with the ball and shoot, or pass backwards/sideways, and that is something he is instructed not to do. So long story short, if you want to dominate play and push the opponent backwards using a 424 formation you must attack patiently while pushing up and closing down aggressively, and the Attack style/strategy is not designed to do this continental style of football. However, if your players are already rather deep by default, like in the 4411 formation, then more players will be available for a pass when you gain possession, and movement will last longer before it stops.

So the 4411 formation could have the Attack strategy selected while the 424 could have the Standard strategy selected, and they would remain rather balanced tactics. But I would somehow make both push up and press heavily and play rather wide. The key is Tempo, which should be relatively quick with 4411 and relatively slow with the 424.

I can experiment a bit when I get home tonight, to see if I can translate my ideas with the TC.

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Argente: I my notepad, which I'm hiding from my boss, shows something very similar :D

BiggusD: I don't want to take up your time, but that would be extremely helpful.

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http://www.sendspace.com/file/r6kzb9

Here's the TC translation of my Classic tactic. Gave me 4 victories, 1 draw and 1 loss the first six league matches, and looked similar to the Classic version, except the defense was a bit more dodgy tbh. This could be to the poor quality of the Stuttgart defense, though. Cacau scored 7 in 8, and I won both 6-3 and 4-2 so the offensive capabilities seems intact.

Very important; must be played with Play Wider and Push Higher Up shouts.

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Hey BiggusD, just got into work and now I wish I was home to test this :D

You're right, the Stuttgart defence isn't very good. Right now I'm torn between the 4-2-4 and the 3-3-2-2 I was talking about. I tried messing around with that last night, but didn't create a screenshot. Here's how it's set up though.

Balanced

Attacking

Everything at default Except I decided on Drill Crosses. I did that because it seems to make more sense with forwards who aren't exactly Olympic high jump champions :D

Here are the individual roles, positions etc.

GK: Ulreich - GK (For lack of a better option)

DCR: Tasci - BPD(X)

DC: Maza - LD(D)

DCL: Alderweireld - BPD(X)

WBR: Harnik - WB(A)

DM: Bah - Anchor Man (D)

WBL: Boka/Molinaro WB(Auto)

MCR: Kvist - DLP(S)

MCL: Kuzmanovic - CM(A)

STR: Cacau - DLF(S)

STL: Ibisevic/Okazaki - AF(A)

I realize it may be too soon to play around with a 3-back defence, but I just love the shape. I love how I it automatically creates a lot of passing triangles. Looking at Cleon's Deep Lying Playmaker thread I like the idea of eventually turning the Anchor into a DLP, however, I suspect the Anchor man helps a lot with defensive stability. I decided to go with an attacking style due to your advice BiggusD. Results were from firendly matches, but still promising. In the first match we beat Ballymena United 2-0 (first match with the new tactic), then Distillery 5-0, and finally I arranged a friendly against Gladbach to get some more competent opposition and we beat them 3-0. I do have a few questions to the above.

Is it a problem using 2 Ball playing defenders?

Would turning Cacau into a Trequartista hurt the tactic given the Trequartista's attacking duty?

How about the wingbacks? I'm thinking I should make alter the duty according to the oppositions strength so the least attacking wing back is on the side where the opposition is strongest, does that make sense?

I'm still going to check out your 4-2-4. With your results it will allow me to learn a great deal BiggusD. The advice about style really made a difference to me yesterday and I'm hoping it will carry into competitive matches. My main worry with the 3-3-2-2 is the lack of quality defenders at Stuttgart. Alderweireld is a definite improvement, but the backups are very poor.

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Teeny weeny update.

As mentioned I was sacked in record time in the first attempt and went back to a backup from just before the first match.

I've settled on a 3-3-2-2 much like above with a few changes.

Balanced

Attacking

Everything at default Except I decided on Drill Crosses. I did that because it seems to make more sense with forwards who aren't exactly Olympic high jump champions

Here are the individual roles, positions etc.

GK: Ulreich - GK (For lack of a better option)

DCR: Tasci - BPD(X)

DC: Maza - CD(D)

DCL: Alderweireld - BPD(X)

WBR: Harnik - WB(A)

DM: Bah - Anchor Man (D)

WBL: Boka/Molinaro WB(Auto)

MCR: Kvist - CM(A)

MCL: Kuzmanovic - DLP(S)

STR: Cacau - DLF(S)

STL: Ibisevic/Okazaki - T(A)

The main changes are changing the central DC from LD to CD, switching the 2 midfield positions and changing the advanced forward to a Trequartista. I did this due to observations from my first two games.

First of all, Hoogland played the LD role and missed a lot of passes so I figured changing him to CD might help, I'm still not sure the role was the problem. When I review his missed passes it's usually clearing headers and the reason those rarely make it to my own players is, believe it or not, nobody seems to be in the right position, or the opposition is too strong for them.

Then I changed the Advanced forward to a Trequartista. I did this because the AF wasn't getting involved in the game.

Finally I noticed my right wingback was missing a lot of passes. Reviewing those passes I noticed he really didn't have any options. Cacau was in a positional battle near the box, surrounded by opponents and the central midfielder was too withdrawn. I decided it might help having the more attacking midfielder on than side and it seemed to help. Since my left Wingback is less attacking the more withdrawn role of the Treq and the DLP helps with passing on that side as they mirror the right side better, just slightly lower on the pitch. This also gives us a couple of good central passing triangles between the forwards and the midfielders.

The next game is the first in the league and that game will show us where we stand.

Right now this post http://community.sigames.com/showthread.php/332520-Passing-Analysis-Guidance?p=8332108&viewfull=1#post8332108 is a very important part of what I do. I'm working on creating a checklist based on this. A checklist I can go through before and during every match. In time I'll probably know what shouts works well in which by heart, but right now a checklist seems to be the way to go. Tons of other threads I'm also looking closely at.

Oh, and I won the first cup game against Aindling 3-0 (decent, but less convincin than I hoped) and the first Euro League game against Sarajevo 2-0. In that game I created 35 chances. I'll have to work on being more clinical. I think I need to read up on the different style of play (counter, control, attacking etc.).

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Been a while since an update, mainly due to lack of playing time. Sitting here sipping my morning coffee at work contemplating my save.

I decided to play the 3-3-2-2, but had very mixed results. I don't think I'm quite ready to do a 3 back tactic just yet. I gave my squad another good look and realized I was (despite following the 12 step guide) still not utilizing my main strengths. My team is strongest in midfield and in attack. I have some good wing players, Harnik in particular, and a few more with potential coming through the ranks (Stöger and Torun). So, I decided to go back to the initial 4-2-4 idea.

BiggusD's tactic (he posted it earlier) was a very inspirational. It didn't quite fit the way I envisioned the team playing, but it was a very good starting point. I think, tonight I'll put a few screenshots together for you. Here are the basic settings though.

Fluid

Counter

Direct

More Expressive

Stand Off More

More Cautious

Man-Marking

Default

Default

GK: SK

DR: FB(S)

DL: FB(S)

DCR: BPD(D)

DCL: LD(D)

DMCR: DM(D)

DMCL: DM(S)

AMR: W(S)

AML: W(S)

STCR: DLF(S)

STCL: DLF(A)

PPMs play an important part in adding different threats to the team. If I want a player on the wing who cuts inside I'll use Torun. If I want a fullback to be more of an offensive threat I'll use Boka or Molinaro and so on.

I started 4 games ago with something that looks like the above and have won 3 and drawn 1 (beating Schalke was very satisfying).

I still concede a few more goals than I like, but the quality of my goalkeeper and my defenders play a big part in that. I have dubbed it "The Banana Defence" and I'll show you why tonight :D

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I failed utterly with that 424 classic tactic in a save with Sunderland. They just weren't up to it! Later me and my friend started a save in Germany with Gladbach and Hannover, but this time it was he who failed utterly :p So now we started a 5-year holiday save (starting in the year 2017) with me being Chelsea and he Arsenal, and this time I am going with a 3-2-2-1-2 tactic that I tested with Crystal Palace to great success. So far, just a few games in, it is working excellently - but of course again the Chelsea team is fantastic. Hazard, Douglas Costa and Oscar as the wingers and attacking midfielder are just an amazing trio!

So while you abandoned the 352 and went for the 424, I abandoned the 424 (been using it for 3 years now) and adopted the 352 ;)

It's a formation with two defensive midfielders, two wide midfielders, an attacking midfielder and two strikers. Of course three central defenders. Played some amazing football so far, and since the reason I tried this formation was that playing against it I could observe no thrace of defensive weaknesses on the flanks, I am happy to say that this oberservation is correct and that the three-defender system if implemented correctly has an inherent advantage on the 4-back system. It was the flat 352 I had the most trouble with in my Lazio save (with the 424), and employing two defensive midfielders and an attacking midfielder instead of the flat three I think I have added even more inherent strengths to both attack and defense.

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My big, big problem right now is the keeper(s). They are either not very good, or inexperienced and not very good yet. In recent games the tactic has morphed from a 4-2-4 to a 4-1-3-2/4-1-3-1-1 for two reasons.

1. I feel the DM in front of the defence will help..errmm...the defence. Rhani Khedira, one of my youngsters, have claimed that spot as his own and is close to undroppable at the moment.

2. I have some pretty good central midfielders, especially Kuzmanovic and Kvist who are both good at keeping the ball ticking along.

What I lose is a bit of wing-play, but after evaluating my games I just couldn't justify keeping the wingers in my team. Harnik does ok, but none of the other candidates performed to an acceptable level. Fortunately Harnik can play well in other positions too. The main thing is I believed we suffered because I wanted him to play.

The truth is the 4-1-3-2 is one of my favourite formations. The decision now is whether to launch quick attacks or try to maintain possession and play through the opposition. Although none of my strikers are turtles they aren't setting any speed records either. Something I've overlooked with Ibisevic is that he isn't too bad in the air. Could I consider using him as a Target Man and Cacau as a DLF/Treq?

I've been trying to methodically do what Cleon advices in the "the Full 90 Minutes" thread, but it's obvious to me I need to learn how to read the game better. By that I mean I need to learn what to look out for and how to respond to it.

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My big, big problem right now is the keeper(s). They are either not very good, or inexperienced and not very good yet. In recent games the tactic has morphed from a 4-2-4 to a 4-1-3-2/4-1-3-1-1 for two reasons.

1. I feel the DM in front of the defence will help..errmm...the defence. Rhani Khedira, one of my youngsters, have claimed that spot as his own and is close to undroppable at the moment.

2. I have some pretty good central midfielders, especially Kuzmanovic and Kvist who are both good at keeping the ball ticking along.

What I lose is a bit of wing-play, but after evaluating my games I just couldn't justify keeping the wingers in my team. Harnik does ok, but none of the other candidates performed to an acceptable level. Fortunately Harnik can play well in other positions too. The main thing is I believed we suffered because I wanted him to play.

The truth is the 4-1-3-2 is one of my favourite formations. The decision now is whether to launch quick attacks or try to maintain possession and play through the opposition. Although none of my strikers are turtles they aren't setting any speed records either. Something I've overlooked with Ibisevic is that he isn't too bad in the air. Could I consider using him as a Target Man and Cacau as a DLF/Treq?

I've been trying to methodically do what Cleon advices in the "the Full 90 Minutes" thread, but it's obvious to me I need to learn how to read the game better. By that I mean I need to learn what to look out for and how to respond to it.

If you haven't got the right type of winger I wouldn't play 424 no - they are very important to that tactic, being both playmakers and scorers!

The problem with this is that wingers are by far the most potent threat in this ME, so you are missing out on all their crosses! The 4-1-3-2 is a very defensive tactic, with slow build-up and reliant on the full backs for movement between the lines. Try a flat 442 instead, where the wide midfielders are hard-working, more defensive guys just like yours.

Kuzmanovic and Kvist are both retrainable to DMC... Accomplished is only fractionally worse than Natural and hardly noticeable. On support duty a DMC will do more for the team than a MC on Defensive duty.

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so, you are suggesting sticking with the back 6 from the 4-2-4 and moving the wingers back to MR/ML? problem is, and I find it kind of weird that Harnik is not even competent as an MR. He's actually better at DR. Torun however is ok at MR, so how about Harnik as DR and Torun as MR. Torun likes to cut inside and will naturally create space for Harnik if he is at DR. Will that leave me vulnerable down the right side? Or will the two DMs be able to make up for that potential weakness?

Two DMs would also allow Tasci to Bomb forward like he likes. Is that how you (and by you I mean all of you) think PPMs into tactics?

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so, you are suggesting sticking with the back 6 from the 4-2-4 and moving the wingers back to MR/ML? problem is, and I find it kind of weird that Harnik is not even competent as an MR. He's actually better at DR. Torun however is ok at MR, so how about Harnik as DR and Torun as MR. Torun likes to cut inside and will naturally create space for Harnik if he is at DR. Will that leave me vulnerable down the right side? Or will the two DMs be able to make up for that potential weakness?

Two DMs would also allow Tasci to Bomb forward like he likes. Is that how you (and by you I mean all of you) think PPMs into tactics?

With the wingers in MRL positions it is not necessary to use two DMC's. I think it is necessary to play two DMC's in a 424 if you are going to use it as a balanced tactic and not just as a last resort tactic. Stuttgart is not a strong team so if you go DMCx2, MRL and FCx2, you have a defensively sound tactic at least. It might make it difficult to counter quickly without the Counter-Attack button on, though. With normal/balanced instructions it could prove a good tactic and I use it as a counter-tactic when I need to. Often I take control of the game when I use it.

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What I have found, with the exception of maybe Cacau we aren't strong in either defence or attack. The strongest point we have is the midfield. Personally, I'm more inclined to shutting up shop than going all-out attack, but if you don't have an attacking threat the opposition will respect you're facing a 90 minute onslaught. I've seen this happen a few times and I don't like it much, particularly with the quality of my keepers :D

I can't for the life of me figure out how to create high scoring tactics, I seem slightly better with defensive tactics (slightly). That's what I like about the 4-1-3-2. It's solid, you basically can't get through the middle, sure it's exposed out wide and lacks with in attack, but it just seems solid.

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Time for a bit of an update I suppose. The first season was one of tactical tinkering with me trying out 4-4-1-1, 4-2-4, 4-1-3-2, 4-1-3-1-1, 3-3-2-2, 3-3-2-1-1 and finally 4-2-2-2. In the end I have settled on the 4-2-2-2 with the 4-1-3-2 as a backup tactic. I have a lot of great players coming through the ranks, particularly in midfield. We are not a high scoring team, yet not defensively solid. Recipe for disaster one would think. At the end of the day we finished 4th, but could have grabbed 2nd with a win in the last match. Was not to be.

In the upcoming transfer window I'll let my offensive wide players go and focus on strengthening my 4-2-2-2 side. Reading Wez07's threads really helped a lot. You see there are two areas where I have really good players. DM and MC with even more great prospects coming through. It would be silly not to make the most of that. One area that certainly needs strengthening is the DR and DL spots. After a good run of wins all 3 of my left backs were injured and I suffered for it. The right backs were always a bit more defensively oriented due to their lack of quality going forward. I'll try to post some screenies on the setup tonight. Unfortunately, my PC crashed halfway through the transfer window last night so I'll have to go through that bit again.

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So, I’ve settled on a 4-4-1-1 formation. I know, on the surface at least, it doesn’t make the most of the squad I have. Thing is I want to develop players to play the strategy I decide and 4-4-1-1 seems a suitable counter attacking formation.

I took a closer look at the squad and that decided it for me. Harnik is Unconvincing in the MR role, but actually Competent in the DR role. A position that is my sore spot as it is. Although he is not a defender as such at 25 I don’t feel it is too late to school him to be, and I’m confident he’ll be a better option than Hoogland.

The next key element here will be rotation. Cacau can play in the AMC position. Not as good as in the ST position, but good enough. Ibisevic can then get game time as an ST. He’ll probably play as a Deep Lying Forward. Here’s what that will look like.

4411start2.png

Here’s the movement. Remember, the blue arrows can be both the runs with ball and the gets forward whenever possible PPMs.

4411startmovement2.png

Roles are the next thing I’m not sure about, but for now, this is how I’ll line up. I know I'm utilizing some players outside of their best positions, but it's important for me to look more at the system than the individual players.

I’m looking forward to pressing continue for the first time, but there’s still a lot of work to do. I need to look at the prospects I have and the backroom staff. For that I need to read through Cleon’s Ajax thread again.

You keep on putting Tunay Torun's arrow pointing inwards. Is that because you've put him on roaming? What's the logic because I see he's a winger in his role. Or is there a cut inside PPM?

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Love this thread.

Only read half of it, have to find a quiet space of time to study the rest in depth.

What I realized when you set up your formation/arrow-pictures is that you are concentrating a lot on the PPMs. While this is a very inspiring and very insightful idea, I think that obviously there should be more factors to consider. I am also at the moment trying to make a wide, fast playing approach work, and I suddenly realized that my right winger had actually very poor crossing ability, so the crosses he was supposed to deliver into the center did never really come. I then started a quick search through my team and realized that my right FB/WB actually has the best crossing stats. He is kind of competent on the MR-position, so I deployed him as the right winger, and it did have an astonishing impact: Suddenly midfield and attack seemed to be much better connected than before.

The frustrating thing about FM is that there are so many tiny little wheels to turn and buttons to push that you can sometimes getting lost in all the options, but the good thing is that small little tweaks can have amazing impacts.

By the way, why did you choose Stuttgart in the first place? It is certainly a very, very difficult team to play. I am playing the Bundesliga frequently, and they always struggle there (as they do, by the way, in reality at the moment). They have a lot of potential, but something somehow does not seem to klick and match up in that team.

I really love your screenshots from the matches, the goals, the errors and so on. I think that all to often people are brooding over tactic boards and stats and are not showing what actually happens on the pitch.

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Only 3 days left of the transfer window and I promised a screenshot. This is how I see us lining up next season. I'm pretty excited about the squad to be honest.

preliminarylineup.png

J-L: I'll get back to you later, headed out the door now.

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Love this thread.

Only read half of it, have to find a quiet space of time to study the rest in depth.

What I realized when you set up your formation/arrow-pictures is that you are concentrating a lot on the PPMs. While this is a very inspiring and very insightful idea, I think that obviously there should be more factors to consider. I am also at the moment trying to make a wide, fast playing approach work, and I suddenly realized that my right winger had actually very poor crossing ability, so the crosses he was supposed to deliver into the center did never really come. I then started a quick search through my team and realized that my right FB/WB actually has the best crossing stats. He is kind of competent on the MR-position, so I deployed him as the right winger, and it did have an astonishing impact: Suddenly midfield and attack seemed to be much better connected than before.

The frustrating thing about FM is that there are so many tiny little wheels to turn and buttons to push that you can sometimes getting lost in all the options, but the good thing is that small little tweaks can have amazing impacts.

By the way, why did you choose Stuttgart in the first place? It is certainly a very, very difficult team to play. I am playing the Bundesliga frequently, and they always struggle there (as they do, by the way, in reality at the moment). They have a lot of potential, but something somehow does not seem to klick and match up in that team.

I really love your screenshots from the matches, the goals, the errors and so on. I think that all to often people are brooding over tactic boards and stats and are not showing what actually happens on the pitch.

If you read through the lot of it you'll notice that I switch tactics more often than some people bathe :D That isn't intentional, it just kind of happens. I often get funny ideas and can't wait to implement them.

However, I'm now setting the team up for a 4-2-2-2 tactic. During this summer break I've really revolutionized the squad and the backroom staff with that sole purpose in mind. There are no players left who can't play in one of the positions required by the 4-2-2-2. It is my intent to focus on buying and developing youngsters, but I have made a few investments such as Alderweireld, Denílson and Bendtner that probably doesn't fit entirely into that category.

I chose Stuttgart for 3 reasons.

1. I wanted a save in the Bundesliga.

2. I wanted a team with fairly good youth development potential.

3. I like Kvist as a player type IRL.

As you'll notice I was sacked during my first attempt. The purpose of this thread isn't to outline a career, but instead to focus on tactical elements as well as player development, for that reason I did something I never do. I reloaded a backup. The second time around I managed 4th place which was very satisfying, if not for the fact that 2nd place was in my grasp.

Tonight I'll do some more screenshots about the tactic and in the second season I'll pick out games to analyse. I'll show you how I prepare for the games, how I play them and how it pans out. And then hopefully someone will tell me what I'm doing wrong :D

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Absolutely incredible thread Madminister, just seeing your thought processes in great detail is incredibly helpful in looking at my own game and overlaying PPMs on the tactical map is a genius idea.

For what it's worth, bearing in mind I'm about as far from tactical genius as it gets, my own Counter tactic that I use away to the top teams was failing miserably on balanced and is far, far improved on using a more rigid style that keeps the forwards further up the field and gives my team something to aim for as quickly as possible.

Keep up the amazing work, I'll look forward to future posts with great interest.

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Looks interesting.

Who are Nwanganga and Alderweireld? You're gonna give every German commentator headaches with those two in your team! :D

And is that the young Khedira you're deploying as DLP?

Bendtner seems to be very keen to come to Germany. I have seen him make the move to the Bundesliga several times now in FM2013 games. Maybe it's because he's Danish and the game engine sees some connection between Denmark and Germany? :D

I wanted to sign him with my German team, but I simply couldn't afford his wages. The expectations from his part were absolutely crazy.

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I chose Stuttgart for 3 reasons.

1. I wanted a save in the Bundesliga.

2. I wanted a team with fairly good youth development potential.

3. I like Kvist as a player type IRL.

As you'll notice I was sacked during my first attempt. The purpose of this thread isn't to outline a career, but instead to focus on tactical elements as well as player development, for that reason I did something I never do. I reloaded a backup. The second time around I managed 4th place which was very satisfying, if not for the fact that 2nd place was in my grasp.

Tonight I'll do some more screenshots about the tactic and in the second season I'll pick out games to analyse. I'll show you how I prepare for the games, how I play them and how it pans out. And then hopefully someone will tell me what I'm doing wrong :D

Oh, don't get me wrong, I love the idea of trying a save with Stuttgart, especially because they seem a bit more tricky to manage. And I certainly love the idea that you try over and over whenever you are sacked, to get a deeper understanding of the game. That's what forums like this are for, after all. :)

Would be nice if you could post some pictures from game situations. I'd be very interested how the squad presents itself on the pitch, because I usually prefer wide formations and haven't so far really experimented with a narrow formation like the 4-2-2-2.

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Looks interesting.

Who are Nwanganga and Alderweireld? You're gonna give every German commentator headaches with those two in your team! :D

And is that the young Khedira you're deploying as DLP?

Bendtner seems to be very keen to come to Germany. I have seen him make the move to the Bundesliga several times now in FM2013 games. Maybe it's because he's Danish and the game engine sees some connection between Denmark and Germany? :D

I wanted to sign him with my German team, but I simply couldn't afford his wages. The expectations from his part were absolutely crazy.

Alderweireld is from Ajax and I can't quite recall where I signed Nwanganga from.

Yeah, Khedira proved to be immense for me in the latter part of the first season. He wasn't the one I expected to shine in the first season, but when given the chance he took it and has been one of my most consistent performers ever since. He may not be a natural DLP, but he can do a job. The roles are flexible, so sometimes he'll be playing as a DM or an Anchor Man as well. There are a lot of talented youngsters and I'd do well to do a more thorough walk through of the squad once the transfer window shuts.

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Absolutely incredible thread Madminister, just seeing your thought processes in great detail is incredibly helpful in looking at my own game and overlaying PPMs on the tactical map is a genius idea.

For what it's worth, bearing in mind I'm about as far from tactical genius as it gets, my own Counter tactic that I use away to the top teams was failing miserably on balanced and is far, far improved on using a more rigid style that keeps the forwards further up the field and gives my team something to aim for as quickly as possible.

Keep up the amazing work, I'll look forward to future posts with great interest.

I'll do more with screenshots and team instructions and so on tonight.

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Madminister, have you had a fiddle with the Target Man tick box yet? I'd be interested to see if your experiences are similar to mine.

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Madminister, have you had a fiddle with the Target Man tick box yet? I'd be interested to see if your experiences are similar to mine.

Unfortunately not yet. Still working my way through the summerbreak and I've left my first friendlies to the ever competent Ass Man :)

Will get some games in tonight :D

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