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This christmas my best friend gifted a documentary series on the world cups that focused especially on the winning teams. After looking through them I felt inspired to try and make a replication of one of the world cup winners. 

I was ready to try and replicate 1970s Brazil or Spain 2010 but after giving it much thought I decided that it would be more fun to go for a less celebrated winner. I finally decided to try and replicate the 1990 World Champion, Germany.

That Germany had some great players like Matthaus, Brehme, Augenthaler, Voller or Klinsmann but above all it was a team of hard working, disciplined, determined players and one of the earliest exponents of Geggenpressing.

Lets talk about the first XI:


Bodo Illgner: Illgner is not often talked about when the best german goalkeepers of all time are disscussed, his early retirement from the national team (at 27 years of age after the 1994 world cup fiasco) is partly to blame. He is the youngest Goalkeeper to win the world cup (23 years of age) and the only foreign Real Madrid Goalkeeper to be celebrated by los Merengues until the arrival of Keylor Navas. Perhaps the most gifted german keeper when it came to reflexes he also used his heigth (1.90m) and good jumping ability to impose his authority on the air. He made great use of his size and reflexes to stop one on ones a quality which came in handy when playing with the high german defensive line and was also a famous penalty stopper. He could deliver long accurate kicks to his more advanced teammates but was not a modern Sweeper like his Neuer or ter Stegen. His one achilles heel was handling and in a few occassions his tendency to simply parry the ball led to goals from a bad rebound.


Stefan Reuter:  "Turbo" was one of the fastest footballers of his age often sprinting 100 metres just below the 11 second mark. He was also a decent dribbler and a good crosser but his greatest asset was his brain. He could think as fast as he run and was a disciplined wingback who knew when he could march forward and when he was required to stay back and cover the spaces left by his teammates. His good sense of positioning and his great speed joined forces with his anticipation to make him a great counter to even the best wingers of his time. A good balanced wingback who could create chances for his team but who never neglected his defensive duties.


Jurgen Kholer: He might not have been the tallest (1.86) but his fierceness and physical strength made him a wall that few could hope to surmount. His jumping made up for those centimetres other even bigger players had over him and coupled with his expert heading he was the main aerial threat the german national team could make use of. He was not the fastest but was by no means slow and was one of those footballers who was born a veteran. Rarely was he caught out of position, even during his younger years he could lead a defence and used his awareness to cover for Augenthaler's forward runs during the world cup. Augenthaler was charged with directing play from the back but Kholer could also be trusted to deliver a good pass when needed both long and short (he was no Ronald Koeman but his technique was good for the time).


Klaus Augenthaler: Germany's Libero during the World Cup. He was neither extremely fast nor a noteworthy dribbler but he had an eye for long passes and an adventurous spirit that pushed him to march deep into the opponent's half acting as a deep passing option to recicle possession. Having great defenders behind him and a hardworking team in front of him he wouldn't usually find himself in a must win one on one but he was capable of dealing with them when needed. He was not that strong on the air and could find himself out paced but he was a smart player who could more often than not be trusted not to take undue risks.


Guide Buchwald: The man who was tasked with marking Diego Maradona out of the game and succedeed. Fast but not the fastest, strong but not the strongest, his combination of pace and physical presence meant he could wrestle with the meanest players on the field and that is exactly what he did. When marking he was like a shadow, imposing himself on his prey and stopping them by all means necessary. His agressive style was prone to result in free kicks against his team but it would often pay off since he was able to nullify players of Maradona's caliber with consistency. He was mostly remembered for his relentless style of defending but he was also comfortable enough with the ball on his feet to help bring the ball to the midfielders through passes and to recicle possession.


Andreas Brehme: One of the trump cards of the team. Brehme was a good dribbler despite not being as fast as Reuter and was more aggresive with his forward runs than his fellow wingback. His main asset was the long ball in the form of crosses, long passes and long shots. He could produce fast, curled and accurate long balls with a greater ease than any other wingback before or since. His great technique was also seen with set pieces and he was chosen as the crucial penalty taker in the final against argentina over Matthaus.


Pierre Littbarski: He was known as "The Demon of Baviera". He was fairly short but seemed to have the ball glued to his feet. In many ways he was a prototype of iniesta. He could tear teams apart with unstopable runs and a clever pass into the space he created with his slaloms. He never really adopted the hardworking ethic of his team mates but he was far from passive and his attacking displays made up for his lack of sacrifice in defence (he played as the right midfielder and had Reuter on the wing who balanced this deficiency with his discipline and concentration.


Lothat Matthaus: Captain and star of the team. If there was ever a Box to box playmaker he was the one. He was all over the pitch offering himself as a passing option and giving great clever passes himself. If the team had doubts about the way to proceed the ball was given to him who never was born with the elusive gift of making something out of nothing. Tireless and driven he represented better than any other player the Kampfgheist 1990 germany was known for. His arsenal included dangerous long shots, killer passes, diving tackles, defence splitting long balls, clinical penalties and he could even perform the occasional dribble. In a way he was an even more complete footballer than Cruyff or his coach beckenbauer. His efforts earned him the Ballon D' Or that very year.


Thomas Hassler: He was somewhat overshadowed by both Littbarski and Matthaus but he was a great footballer himself. Talented but not a genius like Matthaus and not as flashy as Littbarski. His main contribution to the team was his work ethic and clinical passes and shots. Yet another excelent set piece taker. He should not be written off as a sligtly worse Matthaus since his precision when passing the ball was second to none and his willingness to work hard was crucial when covering for Brehme's more reckless runs.


Rudi Voller: By 1990 Voller was on the late stages of his career and had developed into a great poacher who could read passes into space with deadly speed. Even in his 30's he was fairly fast for a Nº9 and his goalhunger was comparable to Buchwald's defending tenacity. He was fond of flickling shots inside the net with just one touch and rarely hesitated infront of the keeper. Tied with Klinsmann as Germany's third greatest goalscorer behind the Klose and Müller with a more than respectable 47 goals in 90 matches. He held the best goals per game record for his national team until Klose came around.


Jurgen Klinsmann: "The white shark". Tireless, fast and very mobile. He had a knack for taking shots with any part of his body from anywhere imaginable. He was good at dribbling but in his case it was more about abusing his speed than his technique. He is tied with Vollër as the third greatest goalscorer for Germany with 47 goals in 108 matches. Like Voller he often opted for first time shots.


They played a 532 and dominated most games through their superior midfield, hard working players and solid defenders but have been unfairly remembered as dull because of the very negative tactics employed by most other teams during this tournament. The final stages of the commpetition saw them win while scoring just one goal and none from open play, However they were facing one parked bus after another so this was to be expected. At their best these players' joined efforts resulted in electric proactive football where they dictated the course of the game with clever movement, crisp passes and the ocassional genius of their many talented attacking players.


Leaving instructions aside my current interpretation of the roles is the following one:


The following traits/instructions will be needed to make an accurate replication.

Sweeperkeeper Support: Instructions= More direct passing

Central defender defend right: Instructions= none / traits= none

Libero Attack: Instructions= none / traits= Get further forward, tries long range passes.

Central defender defend Left: Instructions= mark tighter / traits= Marks opponents tightly

Wingback support right: instructions= none / traits= none

Complete Wingback attack left: instructions= shoot more often / traits= Get further forward, Curls ball

Mezzala attack right: instructions= Dribble more / traits= Dribble through the centre, play way out of trouble, Killer balls

Carrilero support left: instructions= none / traits= Dictates tempo, hits free kicks with power.

Attacking midfielder support: instructions= roam from position / traits= dives into tackles, tries long shots, tries killer balls, comes deep to get the ball, arrives late into opponents area.

Poacher attack: instructions= none / traits= tries first time shots.

Advanced forward attack: Instructions= Roam from position, shoot more often / traits= attempts overhead kicks, Tries long shots, knock ball past opponent, likes to round keeper.


I have chosen Arsenal as the team to use during this save not because their squad is particularly suited for this form of football but because I want to recreate the team step by step and add different aspects of their play little by little as I develop/buy the players needed for this kind of football.


Thank you for readin such a long post. If any of you have something to say about my analysis of the 1990 team or the players feel free to post, All of this I have gathered from clips, a documentary and other internet sources so I could be overlooking something.


See you soon.

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This is my current tactic with Arsenal:


Agressive roles on a balanced mentality and a 5122 shape. I have based this initial tactic on last year's Real Betis, the one that bet Barcelona at Camp Nou. Some might be sceptical about the Defensive Midfielder Support but I trust Torreira's Inteligence (17 positioning, 16 decisions, 16 anticipation) and in a Balanced mentality he doesn't venture that far up the field.

I have gone for a DM rather than an AM because I lack a quality Libero and because I don't entirely trust my current defenders aside from Sokratis who is already 30 years old. 

The following analysis comes from our Game against Brighton:


Because Brighton defend in a narrow block and didn't truly preassure our back line Cech had 4 or five options at his disposal during goal kicks.




Our opponents narrow block was couldn't really deal with Tierney, Bellerin or Lichtsteiner who could often run into space to swing crosses at our strikers. This crosses resulted in may corners and even more importantly the wide positioning of the flank players tore the block wide open from time to time and allowed space in the centre for my midfielders.

The game ended in a 3-0 win at home.


There are several things I want to focus on from this match: 

Torreira won the five one on ones he faced and commited three fouls but saw no yellow card. Because he is short (1.68m) he failed to win duels on the air but this did not translate in a chance for our Brighton because of my defenders. He saw the ball more than anybody else because his task was to link play horizontally and vertically. A task he performed perfectly with a 92% success rate out of 85 passes. However when swinging the ball inside the box he was not as good as Tierney.

Tierney had a great game, dribbling down his wing with ease and putting dangerous crosses. He won all his tackles and headers and 1/5 of his crosses found their target which I would consider a good attacking display against a low block.

It is very telling that Guendouzi did more than Özil in half the time. He is sadly one of the team leaders so rather than get rid of him I am going to try and have Guendouzi overtake him game after game.

I have great plans for De Jong but I will rather talk about them in a later post.

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During the season I was faced with two problems I was not expecting.

The first problem was the fact that we had too many midfielders to only field three at a time so I ended up using a 4-3-2-1 in order to keep my players happy with their playing time. I am not going to talk about this 4-3-2-1 because as a tactic it is neither in the spirit of the thread or anything more than a temporary measure.

My second problem was a string of injuries to key players like Aubameyang, Tierney, Bellerin and Torreira during the key month of the season that saw us playing against Tottenham, Chelsea, Chelsea again, Liverpool and tottenham again without a chance to take a breather.

Despite these hurdles Arsenal overachieved big time, Winning the Carabao Cup, reaching the final of the of the FA cup and ending runner ups behind Liverpool on the league. My one dissapointment was the Euro Cup where Chelsea (hazard + morata to be more precise) tore us to shreds in a 5-0 aggregate. Kante and Kovacic worked hard to restrain our midfielders while Alonso and Azpilicueta kept our wingback in check so we didn't even manage to create decent chances against them.





I have a lot to think about in regards to Arsenal's future and a very ambitious tactical concept in mind that will help me take steps towards the recreation of the 1990 german national team while keeping my midfielders happy.

It is far too easy for me to focus on my defeats against Chelsea but what I must really focus on is improving the squad both in terms of personnel and tactics.

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Julian Nagelsmann is the most promising manager not only in the Bundesliga but in all the footballing world.

That is a bold thing to write down but one that I believe to be true, if I am not mistaking the man is only 30 years old and he can already be considered an astute tactician despite his youth and relative lack of experience when compared to his peers. This is even more surprising given he claims that coaching is "30% tactics 70%social skills".

What I am most interested in replicating is his success at Hoffenheim a team that was facing relegation when he picked it up and which he developed into a european classification contender until he was signed by RB Leipzig.

With Hoffenheim he employed a proactive yet balanced 5-3-2  based around careful build up play from the back and intense yet organised pressing.

This is my current interpretation of it:


Sweeper keeper support: Pass it shorter.

Central defender defend right: pass it shorter

Ball playing defender cover: none

Central defender defend left: pass it shorter

Complete wingback attack left: pass it shorter, close down more

Complete wingback attack right: pass it shorter, close down more

Defensive midfielder Support: none

Central midfielder support left: get further forward, roam from position, move into channels, close down more

Central midfielder support right: get further forward, roam from position, move into channels, close down more

Deep lying forward support right: close down more, roam from position

Advanced forward attack left: close down more, roam from position


When we are in possession we invite the opponent to press our defenders who with the help of the DM and the keeper will bypass this first line of pressure and give the ball to our more offensively oriented players.

The WBs are important not only as ball crossers but as finishers, because of our naturally wide shape and the DM helping with ball circulation our WBs can often find themselves in  one on one against their markers.

What I like above all else about this tactic is it's solidity something that we severely lacked during the previous season and which cost us the league almost at the end.





That is the same Bournemouth that finished 6th last season scoring 60 goals.

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It's crazy that you have less possession, yet you are absolutely hammering them on shots. Has the bpd performed well or are you still looking for a decent libero? 

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10 minutes ago, EnigMattic1 said:

It's crazy that you have less possession, yet you are absolutely hammering them on shots. Has the bpd performed well or are you still looking for a decent libero? 

De Jong is my Libero, that is clear but as of now he is either playing in midfield or as a BPD because I am using a DM.

I am using a DM because I still don't believe in my central defenders as individuals, the Libero is a very demanding role for your defence so I am sticking to using three at the back + a defensive midfielder until I train/buy some better defenders.

The thing about their possession is that it is sterile possession, my split press makes it hard for them to both bring the ball out of the back and make dangerous passes once they get their attack going. Once possession is won we don't simply hoof it into counter attaacks but find a near pass from which to start building our attacks. The whole point of our attacking structure is to either:

A) cross the ball to our strikers

B) Make space for our midfielders to shoot

Everything passes through our WBs so it is a good thing that I enjoy the services of both Bellerin and Tierney.

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Impressive looking results but Can I ask, how are your goals scored? In the two graphics above you had a total of 57 shots, 23 of which were on target, scoring a total of 5 goals, yet you only produce one CCC in all that. I know CCC can be a misleading stat but a return of one from all those attempts seems low. 

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18 minutes ago, dazza11 said:

Impressive looking results but Can I ask, how are your goals scored? In the two graphics above you had a total of 57 shots, 23 of which were on target, scoring a total of 5 goals, yet you only produce one CCC in all that. I know CCC can be a misleading stat but a return of one from all those attempts seems low. 

Our goals are either headed crosses, shots from outside the penalty area or one on ones between the Keepers and a Complete Wingback attack . Although I will say that my chances are better than what the number of CCC I do feel our attacks could be better.

I am currently experimeting with Whipped or Low crosses to see if there is an improvement to our offensive output.

I also need to experiment with corners. We are getting a lot of corners in our favour but because I haven't really touched upon them I can't say I am happy with our execution.


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This second season saw us winning the premier league for the first time since 2004. we raised our goalscoring tally to 74 (4th in the season) and only conceded 27 goals (joint lowest in the season). This time it was a two man race between us and previous champions Liverpool. We have yet to win against Chelsea.

We started the season struggling to score despite our solid defensive efforts so I gradually changed the 5-1-2-2 until it looked like this:


I tailored the crosses for my strikers, told my team to be more expressive to exploit the intelligence and technical ability of my midfield and increased tempo and width to see make defending harder for the opponents. Everything else remained the same.






We got knocked out of the champions league by Borussia Dortmund who are playing the final against Bayern Munich, retained the Carabao Cup and once again lost the FA cup final only this time against Zidane's Manchester city.

This next season I will finally introduce the Libero in my tactic but I am not sure I can replicate the 1990 German team yet so I will simply be following the next logical step in the road to my desired goal and build a tactic with the Libero even if it won't be a replication just yet.

With things going the way they are I will have finished this project by my 4th season at the club.

Champions league.png

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My latest save file got corrupted.

Not a horrible loss since I save often but I am going to use this "chance" to start a new project that has been on my mind.

Will be rotating a season of each save.

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