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Tomas Tuchel - Borussia Dortmund; Attempt 1

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Hello. I’m new to this forum, but not a new FM player, having played this game since CM03/04. I am fascinated by German football in recent years, and their (counter)pressing-based systems are something I like to emulate in FM. Every year an interesting manager emerges in Bundesliga, we have seen Klopp, Tuchel, Weinzierl, Schmidt, even Hecking. In the past few weeks, since their Europa League debut, I have been trying to make a tactic inspired by Thomas Tuchel’s Borussia Dortmund. I will explain my choices of instructions with a few images from Saturday’s Bundesliga match versus Borussia Monchengladbach.

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First things first – Choice of formation. Knowing that formation resembles defensive shape, I have found this particularly interesting. Sometimes it was 4-2-3-1, sometimes 4-1-4-1, at moments even 4-2-3-1 Narrow, but for a first attempt, I have chosen 4-2DM-2-1-1 Deep (4-2-3-1, actually). The reasoning behind this choice is related to Kagawa’s pressing, that was too intense for a CM most of the time, and 4-4-2-ish defending shape that could be noticed at times. Attacking duty AM + Support striker should be enough to accomplish this. As a “backup” option, I would probably keep 4-1-4-1.

When it comes to choosing Mentality, I first have to take into account basic characteristics of Dortmund’s play – relatively high defensive line, quite high tempo, build up from the back, based on short(er) passes, through balls, narrow positioning, and, of course – high pressing. Basically, I need Mentality that would give me high defensive line, and a good base for tweaking Team instructions. Unlike Klopp’s Dortmund, that was Attacking/Counter, depending on their opponent, Tuchel’s team plays a bit more patiently. Still high, still attacking, but a little less wild. I went with Control – their stats in previous games clearly show they want to control the possession (although Counter can be tweaked to do this). As for Fluidity, I tend to stick to the classic – Balanced. Team instructions I added to this are:

Shorter Passing

Pass into Space

Play Out Of Defence

Play Narrower

Close Down More

Higher Tempo

Their passing is generally short, a few players have permission to attempt long passes (Hummels, Gundogan), but in general, they keep it short, even if they play quite quickly. Pass into space is something I am still considering, since my roles selection (listed below) makes it a redundant. I will probably test without it, and add if there are not enough through balls. Play out of defence and Close down more are quite logical, while Play narrower is related to pressing. Borussia tends to reduce space available to their opponents, so they tend to keep tight, narrow formation, creating an overload on certain areas of the pitch. Since Control mentality gives quite wide play, this will reduce excess width. Higher tempo is also an experiment. Maybe it is even unnecessary, since Control has relatively high tempo itself, but will be tested.

fbxfn.jpg

This is my roles selection. Fullbacks are basically the only players who give width, they have to be set on Attack, WB, because I find CWB overpowered. Maybe Piszczek could pass as a CWB(A). I have noticed that right “winger” (MR, AMR, AMCR, whatever he actually is) tends to stay narrower than his left counterpart (Example 1, Example 2). They both tend to cut inside, but I think that’s down to Reus’ and Mkhitaryan's PPMs. Right one has to be WM in order to sit narrower, but left one could also pass as a winger. Another thing I should test. Kagawa has Close down more and Roam from position, while Aubameyang only has Close down more. Aubameyang's role is also a subject of testing, but from what I have noticed in FM15, CF allows a player to interpret the role as he wants. Not literally, but it is the most "default" striker role, and Aubameyang and, for example, Ibrahimovic won't behave the same when selected as a Complete Forward. Wingers are set to swap positions.

So, testing points:

1. Tempo

2. Left winger role

3. Striker role

4. Anything that comes up while testing.

I will add screenshots of what it looks like in FM in another post.

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Welcome to the forum! Great opening post, and I always like to see people who look at real life systems and detail how they try to interpret it in FM - along with all the refinements that are inevitably needed on the way.

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U have 5 attack-duty players, 4 of them are all wide players, in a flexible team shape. It will expose both flanks of yours if your opponent has decent wingers, like bayern. Or simply exploiting both flanks with a quick counter.

Also there will be a larga gap between kagawa and the 2 DMs that can be exploited (with all wide players on attack duty I can imagine it is quite a big gap) since both A(d) n DLP(s) are roles designed to stay deeper than their teammates. This might work if u play a quick counter style with long balls from behind but short pass+play out of defence will discouraging your defenders to do so. Even with hummels being a BPD

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Welcome to the forum! Great opening post, and I always like to see people who look at real life systems and detail how they try to interpret it in FM - along with all the refinements that are inevitably needed on the way.

Of course, this is just a draft, now I have to try it out and see how it behaves.

U have 5 attack-duty players, 4 of them are all wide players, in a flexible team shape. It will expose both flanks of yours if your opponent has decent wingers, like bayern. Or simply exploiting both flanks with a quick counter.

Also there will be a larga gap between kagawa and the 2 DMs that can be exploited (with all wide players on attack duty I can imagine it is quite a big gap) since both A(d) n DLP(s) are roles designed to stay deeper than their teammates. This might work if u play a quick counter style with long balls from behind but short pass+play out of defence will discouraging your defenders to do so. Even with hummels being a BPD

You're right, there is exposure on the flanks, but that's where pressing comes in. When attacking, Dortmund often looks like this. If I manage to get "wingers" to press opposing wingers/fullbacks on time and overload the opposing player with the ball - this exposure becomes irrelevant, since he will have no passing options. After all, it is a risk Tuchel was willing to take, so I'm just trying to implement it.

As for the gap, I disagree. Since Wingbacks bump forward all the time, there has to be a midfield player that stays deeper than others (Weigl, Anchor man), and Gundogan will go a bit forward and link up play. I will post screenshots of Average positions and some in-match screenshots these days.

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Also, I think the hardest part of any tactical replication is figuring out what formation to use. Teams use different shapes throughout the match, and in FM we are limited to the base defensive shape on the screen, plus whatever it ends up looking like while attacking.

I think your choice of the 4-4(2dm)-1-1 is really wise here. You can press high while also getting the deep creativity from someone like Gundogan, coupled with the security of the anchorman in the double pivot.

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Solid analysis, but I like this one more:

http://spielverlagerung.com/2015/08/17/borussia-dortmund-borussia-moenchengladbach-40-improved-possession-game-fuels-dominant-victory-for-dortmund/

This is an interesting point: "The overall attacking strategy of Dortmund was reflective with the small contrasts in roles of the two full-backs." - but I think that difference between wingbacks is a result of focusing attacks through the left flank. Tuchel is extremely flexible in terms of tactics, unlike Klopp, he is always ready to make small tweaks in his system in order to exploit specific weaknesses (such as Gladbach right side). I expect that Dortmund will sometimes overload left flank, thus allowing Piszczek to go further forward on the right. Against Wolfsberger there was no noticable difference between the two. Front 3 (Mkhitaryan, Kagawa, Reus) positional fluidity is something I don't believe I can replicate (Kagawa's movement, actually), so I would be quite satisfied if I manage to get the wingers right.

Also, I think the hardest part of any tactical replication is figuring out what formation to use. Teams use different shapes throughout the match, and in FM we are limited to the base defensive shape on the screen, plus whatever it ends up looking like while attacking.

I think your choice of the 4-4(2dm)-1-1 is really wise here. You can press high while also getting the deep creativity from someone like Gundogan, coupled with the security of the anchorman in the double pivot.

I expect average positions to look like 4-2-3-1, with Kagawa slightly in front of the wingers. I'll get high pressing through Opposition Instructions (Closing down, Tight marking sometimes). I can see a 4-1-4-1 here, with Gundogan as a MC (DLP(D)), and Kagawa as a CM(A), but I still believe that for most of the time Dortmund defended in two banks of four, and not 4-1-4 in defense and midfield. I expect Gundogan to both start patient attacks from deep and quick counters (like they scored third goal against Gladbach).

Looking forward to following this thread. Enjoyed the opening exchanges.

Thanks mate :thup:

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It is a common logic if some players run forward then some of their teammates should compensate their forward run by staying deep. But if your deeper players are getting disconnected with the front line it will be pointless. Your high tempo might make it up but then u won't get the "build from the back with short passes" aspect that u want.

Here is an article from rashidi, one of this forum's contributor

http://addictedtofm.com/fm-15-team-instructions-explained/

The shape is structured but basically it can give u some aspects to be considered, mainly about how disconnected is the front line n the screen on the back

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Wilkommen an bord!

Really good analysis so far and i'm looking forward to seeing how you get this tactic functioning. As a de facto Gladbach fan (no choice where I live in Germany really!), the game wasn't one to remember, but I was massively impressed with BVB and their improvement from last season. I think you already hit on the key difference between Tuchel and Klopp in that he is prepared to exploit opposition weaknesses but not fully to the detriment of his system. Klopp is very much a one style man and I think he knew his game was up and felt the club would benefit from a breath of fresh air, massive respect for him to stepping aside in such a professional manner, recognising the club/fans/players as more important than his own ego.

@rninejr

I know you're trying to help but I think it's important to acknowledge that the OP is trying to recreate a tactic from real life rather than use FM logic/theory to create a balanced/near perfect tactic. Sometimes a tactic doesn't need good balance if there is a particular part of the field which can be consistently overloaded by good intelligent players. This is part of the essence of what Tuchel (and the OP) is trying to create, the pressing down the wings and in the channels should give the deeper midfielders ample opportunity to dictate the play and open up space for the forwards to exploit.

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I don't think he has too much problems with this setup. He has set up a 4-4-1-1 kind of formation which translates into a 4-2-3-1 when attacking. Unless he uses a real 4-2-3-1 with the same duties then there could be a problem with disconnection between the front and back. The DLP(S) do have the tenancy to bring the ball up too rather than just trying long passes.

And he can also give roaming to his wide Ms or AM so that they can have more freedom to move around whenever they deem fit.

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Wilkommen an bord!

Really good analysis so far and i'm looking forward to seeing how you get this tactic functioning. As a de facto Gladbach fan (no choice where I live in Germany really!), the game wasn't one to remember, but I was massively impressed with BVB and their improvement from last season. I think you already hit on the key difference between Tuchel and Klopp in that he is prepared to exploit opposition weaknesses but not fully to the detriment of his system. Klopp is very much a one style man and I think he knew his game was up and felt the club would benefit from a breath of fresh air, massive respect for him to stepping aside in such a professional manner, recognising the club/fans/players as more important than his own ego.

@rninejr

I know you're trying to help but I think it's important to acknowledge that the OP is trying to recreate a tactic from real life rather than use FM logic/theory to create a balanced/near perfect tactic. Sometimes a tactic doesn't need good balance if there is a particular part of the field which can be consistently overloaded by good intelligent players. This is part of the essence of what Tuchel (and the OP) is trying to create, the pressing down the wings and in the channels should give the deeper midfielders ample opportunity to dictate the play and open up space for the forwards to exploit.

Yeah you're rite. Afterall he didnt post the result yet so maybe I brought it up too early

I don't know how dortmund plays under tuchel since bundesliga isn't aired here in my country that's why I can only offer my opinion from FM perspective. Let's wait for his update then

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Wilkommen an bord!

Really good analysis so far and i'm looking forward to seeing how you get this tactic functioning. As a de facto Gladbach fan (no choice where I live in Germany really!), the game wasn't one to remember, but I was massively impressed with BVB and their improvement from last season. I think you already hit on the key difference between Tuchel and Klopp in that he is prepared to exploit opposition weaknesses but not fully to the detriment of his system. Klopp is very much a one style man and I think he knew his game was up and felt the club would benefit from a breath of fresh air, massive respect for him to stepping aside in such a professional manner, recognising the club/fans/players as more important than his own ego.

Danke schön :D Now that you've mentioned Gladbach, I'm actually impressed with Favre's style in last 4-5 years. I would really like to see him in a top club (Bayern). As for Klopp, I agree, he is an advocate of one-dimensional style of football, and a great motivator. His primary (maybe only) playmaker was pressing. Tuchel has more modern understanding of the game, and he is more flexible. Although his Mainz side was never possession-based side, he studied Guardiola's Bayern and implemented some ideas in Borussia, now that he has technically better players who can perform that way.

I don't think he has too much problems with this setup. He has set up a 4-4-1-1 kind of formation which translates into a 4-2-3-1 when attacking. Unless he uses a real 4-2-3-1 with the same duties then there could be a problem with disconnection between the front and back. The DLP(S) do have the tenancy to bring the ball up too rather than just trying long passes.

And he can also give roaming to his wide Ms or AM so that they can have more freedom to move around whenever they deem fit.

That's correct. DLP(S) combined with Gundogan's PPMs should replicate his movement quite well. I was thinking about roaming for wingers, but I would still like to maintain defensive shape, so that will wait. Reus and Mkhitaryan have PPMs that could make them roam from the wing (Reus: Move into channels, Cuts inside, Mkhitaryan: Cuts inside, Comes deep to get ball). As for Kagawa (AMC), he has Roam from position and Close down more added :)

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jynjv.jpg

Just a quick screenshot, I have to say I didn't quite expect to see this, since I'm using 4-2DM-2-1-1. Occured a few times during the match, though. Nice.

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jynjv.jpg

Just a quick screenshot, I have to say I didn't quite expect to see this, since I'm using 4-2DM-2-1-1. Occured a few times during the match, though. Nice.

This is likely down to using a control mentality, so the DLP-S is more inclined to get forward than he would be if you were playing, let's say, on counter or defensive.

It looks like a really nice set up.

I'm trying something somewhat similar with Arsenal, but I'm starting with a base 4-4-1-1 with a CM-D / DLP-S combination in central midfield.

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It's AMC that surprises me. I expected him to form a line of two with Aubameyang (ST), but not this. I am glad that 4-1-4-1 defensive shape appears in some parts of the game without needing to change formation itself. As for 4-4-1-1, I prefer 2DM line, since DM strata offers better holding roles than MC strata, but CM(D) and DLP(S) should work just fine.

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It's AMC that surprises me. I expected him to form a line of two with Aubameyang (ST), but not this. I am glad that 4-1-4-1 defensive shape appears in some parts of the game without needing to change formation itself. As for 4-4-1-1, I prefer 2DM line, since DM strata offers better holding roles than MC strata, but CM(D) and DLP(S) should work just fine.

I'm in preseason so I'm experimenting with the 2CM's and also 2 DM's. Not a huge difference, but having 2 DM's would mean we wouldn't need to push up as much, which would be nice.

But in terms of your tactic, I am surprised to see that as well. Does Kagawa have any PPM's that would cause him to stay back more?

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But in terms of your tactic, I am surprised to see that as well. Does Kagawa have any PPM's that would cause him to stay back more?

He has Comes deep to get the ball. I wanted him to do just that, but didn't expect that he'd do it so perfectly :D

Screenshots time :D

Before I start with the screenshots, a few tweaks in TI. I added Work ball into box after my first friendly game and an extremely high number of long shots. I also removed Pass into space, but added Prevent short GK distribution. Through balls happen a lot, even without Pass into space selected, and Prevent short GK distribution is something Dortmund do play, but doesn't quite work as it should without AMRL. Still, it does no harm, so I left it.

cyzqj.jpg

Just a little space overload. Nothing special came out of this, but nice to see they're trying to combine in a small space.

zccpd.jpg

Pressing, part 1. Polish duo closes down opposing winger, only viable option he has is completely harmless. Kagawa's positioning could be better, had he been somewhere between three Freiburg players, Frantz would have had no safe options.

hgmhy.jpg

dzwzd.jpg

Pressing, part 2. Jojic presses Javi Martinez, with Kagawa limiting his passing options. Aubameyang staying too far up the pitch, not something I like.

ygybp.jpg

cwggl.jpg

rhzjm.jpg

pdxzy.jpg

Blaszczykowski starting the attack, but since he has no options forward, he leaves the ball to Jojic, while continuing to run down the left. Kagawa and Aubameyang finally in positions to contribute. In picture 2, Kagawa drops deeper to pick up a pass from Jojic, but Aubameyang makes a crucial move - he goes forward, binding opposing defender to himself, thus preventing him from helping his fullback with Blaszczykowski (picture 3). Kagawa plays a through ball to the Pole who is quicker than his marker and creates 2 on 1 situation, with Mkhitaryan waiting for potential rebound.

fzcjg.jpg

jmxny.jpg

flkmg.jpg

Counter-attack after a free kick. Kagawa pulling the ball for quite some distance, playing a very risky pass, even though Kampl was more logical option. Aubameyang is left 1 on 1 with the goalkeeper. Fantastic play by Kagawa, pure inspiration.

mnfqg.jpg

Some more positioning. Kagawa dropping deeper was not a one-time thing, he does it in every game. PPMs seem to be crucial in replicating a real-life tactic.

pcrdb.jpg

Last one - I posted an image of how I expected players to behave (click here), I guess this looks quite good. High defensive line, wingbacks giving width, narrow wingers, and a playmaker linking the lines.

I'm struggling with possession consistency. I can achieve high percentages, but they vary too much during a game. Also, I didn't manage to make Mkhitaryan shine. Two things I will adhere to in the coming games. I still don't have Gundogan and Reus, so I guess I'll have to wait for them to recover to see the real potential of this tactic.

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The positioning of Kagawa isn't entirely unusual, and is partly a result of some tweaks to the Match Engine that came towards the end of the FM15 development cycle. Early on in FM15's lifespan, any Attack Duty player in the AMC line just wouldn't track back, but each update improved their defensive contribution to the point that perhaps he isn't high up enough often enough for what you're after here!

Great to see some new screens showing how things are panning out. Keep it up :thup:

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mcgcd.jpg

He is high up enough :D I understand what you're getting at, but I only posted screenshots of transformation to 4-1-4-1 only caused by PPMs. I enjoy using an AMC in my tactics, and until now, I haven't seen this type of behaviour so often. Most of the time when defending Kagawa and Aubameyang form a block of two, making my formation something between 4-4-2 and 4-4-2-0, depending on who's moving - Kagawa while pressing, or Aubameyang while preserving energy. I am satisfied with their behaviour, for now it is Mkhitaryan that bothers me.

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I think Kagawa was a false 10 instead of a normal AM. He moved a lot more forward than the AM role suggests. Mekitarian is a playmaker. That is what he does best bring in the assists. I think he is WP (a). Dortmund plays Counter, as they had plenty of them in the Darby match. I think everything else is find

Here some links if you need help

http://www.whoscored.com/Players/28421/Show/Henrikh-Mkhitaryan

http://www.whoscored.com/Matches/969092/MatchReport

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I think Kagawa was a false 10 instead of a normal AM. He moved a lot more forward than the AM role suggests. Mekitarian is a playmaker. That is what he does best bring in the assists. I think he is WP (a). Dortmund plays Counter, as they had plenty of them in the Darby match. I think everything else is find

Here some links if you need help

http://www.whoscored.com/Players/28421/Show/Henrikh-Mkhitaryan

http://www.whoscored.com/Matches/969092/MatchReport

I completely disagree.. If OP set his mentality to "counter" it would conflict with all the things he wants to do.

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I completely disagree.. If OP set his mentality to "counter" it would conflict with all the things he wants to do.

I disagree with that point of view because he will still press players high up the field but he will be able to recycle possession and counterattack just like the mentality states. Not only that if you read the whoscored link, it states that Dortmund DID counter but kept possession of the ball

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First off, i love what you have created Der General! I think you have found the right blend of tactical roles to go along with your players and i believe you are on the right track here. For your issue with Mkhitaryan, how about trying him as a WM(A) with the PIs to cross less often and cross from byline. I have given such PIs to my wide men before and it got them to be more effective with their dribbling and crossing in the final third which i believe Mkhitaryan was providing in the match against gladbach. His PPMs already add flavour to his role so no need to stress yourself too much with his movement in the game. Even giving him cross less often as the only PI will give you some unexpected results=) As they always say on this forum, less is more.

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I think Kagawa was a false 10 instead of a normal AM. He moved a lot more forward than the AM role suggests. Mekitarian is a playmaker. That is what he does best bring in the assists. I think he is WP (a). Dortmund plays Counter, as they had plenty of them in the Darby match. I think everything else is find

Here some links if you need help

http://www.whoscored.com/Players/28421/Show/Henrikh-Mkhitaryan

http://www.whoscored.com/Matches/969092/MatchReport

Kagawa moves forward, but also to the sides, basically he has a free role in a way. That's what I've achieved with AM(A) and Roam+Close down more. Few years back, with Lewandowski in front of him, he was more of a SS(A), or a false 10, but now participates in midfield more than ever. Mkhitaryan as a playmaker - no. He would attract the ball to much, something he didn't do in match. Basically, his only difference to Reus in the past few matches is width - one stays narrower, the other one stays wider.

Control doesn't mean I don't play counters (see screenshots above - Kagawa, Blaszczykowski). I had a dilemma between Control and Counter and chose Control because of defensive line, higher tempo and better passing distribution. Take a look at this table by The Hand Of God:

YEDBSx1.png

Basically, they fit in Control almost perfectly. They did stretch play, overloading one flank and leaving Schmelzer to exploit the other, high tempo, short passing in defense. I selected Play narrower in order not to lose a base for pressing. Counter would require more adjustments than Control, although it is not completely wrong choice.

I disagree with that point of view because he will still press players high up the field but he will be able to recycle possession and counterattack just like the mentality states. Not only that if you read the whoscored link, it states that Dortmund DID counter but kept possession of the ball

As I said, I would have to alter defensive line and individual passing, this way I have it both set. From what I've noticed, counters are triggered by Hummels (BPD), Gundogan (DLP) and pressing, so that looks quit like BVB against BMG. Also, higher mentality works well with pressing (see post #22).

First off, i love what you have created Der General! I think you have found the right blend of tactical roles to go along with your players and i believe you are on the right track here. For your issue with Mkhitaryan, how about trying him as a WM(A) with the PIs to cross less often and cross from byline. I have given such PIs to my wide men before and it got them to be more effective with their dribbling and crossing in the final third which i believe Mkhitaryan was providing in the match against gladbach. His PPMs already add flavour to his role so no need to stress yourself too much with his movement in the game. Even giving him cross less often as the only PI will give you some unexpected results=) As they always say on this forum, less is more.

This might be an interesting idea, since crossing was mainly down to wingbacks. Will try something like that. :thup:

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But then again, the Work Ball Into Box TI already cuts out crosses. It'll be quite redundant to have that PI on.

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Nice thread. Will be following. Also interesting to see your choice of 2DM in the formation.

I have read commentators say that Tuchel is not the best replacement for Klopp as they are so similar but if I look at your analysis it seems they are quite different. Let's see if he can bring Dortmund back to being challengers - the Bundesliga definitely need someone to challenge Bayern.

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That's nice formation. I've used the same on my Spartak Moscow save (same TIs + roam from position), but had different roles. WM(s) with cut inside for the left wingman, W(a) for the right and I used RGA and DM(d) with close down less as my midfielders. It was a perfect mix of agression, creativity and cover. Perhaps you might give it a try

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Curious to hear your choice of using Play Out Of Defence combined with having a DLP in front of the defense. Won't it limit your DLP's creativity as the TI suggests maximum short passing for defenders/defensive midfielders?

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I would say their setup resembled more a 4-1-4-1, but the ME can interpret the 4-2DM-2-1-1 in a curious way, as we can see from one of your screenies.

Weigl being the main shield of the defense, and then 4 creatives, each one to their strengths, creating havoc in the attacking midfield to allow Aubameyang to find some space in the box.

I'm a little biased because I think the 4-1-4-1 is one of the best formations to use in FM. It is solid both from the middle and from the flanks, and with one or two small adjustments you can design it to be a threat from any area of the pitch.

In this case, with the use of Reus as a very attacking right midfielder and Mikhtaryan as a more creative wide player, it's interesting to see that you can create chances from anywhere in the final third.

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Curious to hear your choice of using Play Out Of Defence combined with having a DLP in front of the defense. Won't it limit your DLP's creativity as the TI suggests maximum short passing for defenders/defensive midfielders?

No, it won't. His primary idea isn't to stay deep and hit long passes (although he did that sometimes, managing to get an assist against Gladbach that way), but also to bring the ball up and link up play. He will try longer passes when possible, but mostly offer support in build-up.

I would say their setup resembled more a 4-1-4-1, but the ME can interpret the 4-2DM-2-1-1 in a curious way, as we can see from one of your screenies.

Weigl being the main shield of the defense, and then 4 creatives, each one to their strengths, creating havoc in the attacking midfield to allow Aubameyang to find some space in the box.

I'm a little biased because I think the 4-1-4-1 is one of the best formations to use in FM. It is solid both from the middle and from the flanks, and with one or two small adjustments you can design it to be a threat from any area of the pitch.

In this case, with the use of Reus as a very attacking right midfielder and Mikhtaryan as a more creative wide player, it's interesting to see that you can create chances from anywhere in the final third.

4-1-4-1 is a great formation, I like it too because of its flexibility, but this formation allows me to press even higher with Kagawa and Aubameyang, while keeping two banks of four. Yes, it might be achieved in 4-1-4-1, something like Anchor/DM(D) + DLP(D), but this more resembles Borussia. After all, Kagawa was never a MC, but an AMC who dropped deep the same way Half-back drops between central defenders sometimes. He pressed higher than a CM can press without leaving huge gaps, and ran both into left and right channels, what could be a bit more difficult to replicate from a MC position.

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Really good thread. I'll be particularly interested to see how you go about implementing the small tactical changes to exploit opposition weaknesses that you mentioned earlier - whether that comes from team instructions, players instructions, changing some roles or just changing personnel and allowing each players' characteristics and PPMs to influence shape and movement to exploit particular flanks etc.

I've been playing a 4-4-1-1 with Man United on FM14 (so I still have Kagawa) and play in a similar way, albeit with 2 CMs instead of DMs. I had been using Kagawa as an AP(A) but have been considering changing to AM(A) to make him more mobile and because he has attracting the ball too much in attacking build-ups, and this has given me another nudge to do this.

I had been using a DLP(D) and CM(S) behind Kagawa, but because my midfielders are all creative and I don't have a suitable ball playing defender, I'm wondering whether a dual DLP approach (one D, one S) would work in a similar way to your set up?

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Really good thread. I'll be particularly interested to see how you go about implementing the small tactical changes to exploit opposition weaknesses that you mentioned earlier - whether that comes from team instructions, players instructions, changing some roles or just changing personnel and allowing each players' characteristics and PPMs to influence shape and movement to exploit particular flanks etc.

I've been playing a 4-4-1-1 with Man United on FM14 (so I still have Kagawa) and play in a similar way, albeit with 2 CMs instead of DMs. I had been using Kagawa as an AP(A) but have been considering changing to AM(A) to make him more mobile and because he has attracting the ball too much in attacking build-ups, and this has given me another nudge to do this.

I had been using a DLP(D) and CM(S) behind Kagawa, but because my midfielders are all creative and I don't have a suitable ball playing defender, I'm wondering whether a dual DLP approach (one D, one S) would work in a similar way to your set up?

I would advise against this. What will happen is you will end up with both the DLP-d and the DLP-s sitting on top of each other. And that can be bad because they'll essentially crowd each other out thus limiting each DLP's effectiveness.

Keep using a DLP-d alongside a CM-s but give the CM-s the hold position and more risky passes PIs. That'll make your CM-s behave more like a DLP-s.

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Tested it with Frankfurt, only signing was Ilsinho for free.

oUprdpM.png

Away against S04. They had one player sent off, but we were already two goals up by then.

tnkr743.png

We were drawing with 10 men against Hoffen away. Then we got one more sent off. Then we grabbed the winner.

LFiWgOG.png

The team defends as a team, they push and press like animals. Goals are mainly coming from the AMC and the wide midfielders. It really transforms into a 4-2-3-1 when attacking. The only drawback I can see is the yellow/red cards. It seems that the two CDs are prone to getting booked.

Still haven't played Bayern or BorDor. We shall see how it fares over a whole season.

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Bayern tore us a new pooper at Allianz. We never came close. There could be something to be done differently against superior teams.

qnGzKxF.jpg

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I had been using a DLP(D) and CM(S) behind Kagawa, but because my midfielders are all creative and I don't have a suitable ball playing defender, I'm wondering whether a dual DLP approach (one D, one S) would work in a similar way to your set up?

Dual DLP is an interesting idea, I tried it on FM14, but not by picking 2 DLP roles. I picked natural deep-lying playmakers in DM positions as DM(D) and DM(S) with more risky passes. Their attributes and PPMs have adjusted their behaviour, so they actually dictated tempo, but didn't attract ball too much. I was quite satisfied, since I didn't have one primary playmaker (which I would have, had i selected DM(D) and DLP(S), for example), but two players who naturally take over playmaking duties, but not getting in each other's way.

Updates? How is this project going in the long term?

No progress yet, I've got work over my head these days. I see you've tried it on Frankfurt, impressive results. Meier is absolutely great. High number of players booked is a consequence of pressing, I select ease off tackles for players who get booked, and tend to keep red cards relatively low. I'm glad it works well for you so far. :)

As for Bayern game, I expect that Tuchel goes back to a more direct counter-attacking style against superior sides, like he successfully did while managing Mainz. Tweaks are definitely needed, Tuchel is known for his adaptability, so I guess passing into space behind Bayern's high defensive line, targeting quick forwards (Aubameyang, Reus) could be a viable option. Another option is Kagawa - AMC could have just enough space to run into. I played Supercup game against Bayern, lost on penalties, 1:1 regular time. Didn't want to change anything, but trying to keep the ball against Bayern is not the smartest thing to do. :D

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It sort of lost its magic after awhile. Probably due to the players being mediocre. GKs are a joke etc.

I did notice that the tactic struggles against 4-4-1-1 formations, which is like 40% of the Bundesliga after some time. All the draws you see in below picture came from 4-4-1-1 opposition.

R39DWet.png

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Third place with Freiburg, it is still an overachievement :)

Yes, and I had a lot of fun with this. It was very cool to watch the team play when they were unstoppable. 0-4 against S04 away was the highlight I'd say.

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Summary after 1,5 seasons with Frankfurt and half a season with Man Utd:

1. My experience is that it performs extremely well when you grab the first goal. I never lost a game after going 1-0 up. It can however struggle against defensive sides, as evident against these 4-4-1-1 teams you constantly face. I found that playing wider helped a bit on that. But most of the time, you'll hammer them with more goals.

2. You are at the mercy of your front 2 and the two wide men. If they're having a bad day you likely won't score. The combo of crosses from your left wingback to the back post, where your right WM will come charging will happen a lot, make sure you have someone capable of tucking away those chances. Also vice versa, with your left WM etc.

3. This tactic is very defensively sound. So much so that 90% of conceded goals will be from set pieces. Even throw-ins (trololol FM). My advice would be to stay sharp on set pieces preparations.

4. I took over Man Utd specifically to see how it does with a much better squad. We smashed some teams, others we drew 0-0 against, never lost against the top teams. However, it needs tweaking offensively. My SS earlier ITT could suggest otherwise, but I think with Frankfurt I was on an insane heater the first 5-6 months. Everything was going my way.

All in all a very decent foundation.

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Let's see if we can get this brilliant thread going again!

I am very, very curious about Thomas Tuchel's new project, i e Dortmund. He seems to be a superb manager that I expect will sooner rather than later bring back Dortmund to the top. I intend to follow him closely during this season at Signal Iduna Park. So far I have downloaded all of Dortmund's games and I have began to have a look at them in detail (after work and when the kids have gone to bed :) ).

I am about to finish my last coaching badges here in Sweden and will finally be able to focus on my team and watching more football. These badges are exhaustive and they demand a lot from the coaches, but at the same time they are a joy to do because you're passionate about football and always hungry for more insight and knowledge. Right now I coach a very determined and skillful team here in Sweden (middle division) and we're about to finish our season and I am already thinking of how to improve our game for next season. I will try to see if I can use some of Tuchel's ideas into my team next season.

As I'm a fan of Dortmund and Tuchel I would like to see this thread come alive again and more people to share their ideas about Dortmund. I am a passionate FM player, when I get the time, and hopefully later on I will be able to share my thoughts about how to set up a Dortmund game in FM and also sharing thoughts about how they play in real life. I must say that I really think the author of this thread has done a good job of replicating Dortmund in FM. Therefore, it would be interesting to see if you have found time to continue with your save or someone else for that matters. As I said, hopefully I will contribute more when I soon will get more time to play and write about BVB.

Also, if someone know of more articles, than those mentioned before in this thread, then I would be very grateful since I am looking for more info and knowledge about Tuchel and his thoughts about his philosophy of how Dortmund will play.

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Very Good OP. I like your interpretation, even though it differs a bit from mine :)

One thing to keep in mind with Tuchel is that he is a big fan of flexibility. He constantly tweaks and adapts his tactics during games, so replicating his style would involve also doing some changes during matches. For example, this year so far what he usually does is he starts the 4-1-4-1 (which can be interpreted in many ways... I had tried something like an asymmetric 4-4-1-1 which worked quite similarly to his system... Might post it when I get back home), then when Dortmund take the lead or don't play particularly well he will swap his wide players and get them narrower in a sort of 4-2-3-1 narrow, allowing his wide backs to push further forward. Those are his two main shapes but he constantly tweaks.

Other points : Dortmund don't cross a lot, except for when there is a great opportunity at the byline, so I would opt for more conservative options down the wings if you want to play like Dortmund (wide mids instead of wingers, more conservative duties for the wide backs...)

Kagawa drops deep, exactly like in real life, if you play another player in his spot it might not work as well. Also, I personally think he's used as a playmaker in Tuchel's preferred system.

Aubameyang's role is difficult to replicate. Out of possession, he harasses opposing defenders relentlessly and moves a lot. In attack though, he is much more central and pushes the d-line by staying high and making quick runs in behind. Sort of a hybrid between poacher and defensive forward... I use poacher with PI Close Down Much More.

If you're interested in seeing my personal interpretation of the system let me know!

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Alright guys, I think I am ready to post my won interpretation of this. I went a complete 180 compared to yours, OP. I went asymmetric and I'll post my interpretation later on. Here is some images from that tho.

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