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My Hertha BSC save- An Asymmetric Gegenpress and everything in between.

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Why Hertha? 

I have always had a soft spot for the underachieving team from one of Europes largest capitals that has had  very limited success, indeed Herthas last trophy was the old German League Cup(2002) when it still existed and outside of that they haven't won any major trophy since 1931

There were some benefits to picking Hertha in FM 2020 in that they are financially flush, the expectations  at the start were low and there are some usable German assets in there that have since formed the core of my team and indeed what made me decided to go Gegenpressing . So without any further prattle(because this is a long one) on to the aims.


Our Aims:


1. Win trophies

There is no point doing this if the aim isn’t to win. I want this club to become a major player in World Football and be challenging for trophies every season.

2. Become the rich man’s version of Benfica/Porto

Yes I want to be a major player but I want to do this ethically and in a self-sustaining way  that not only balances the books but makes us one of the richest clubs in the world through player sales rather than cash injections from rich sugar daddies. So recruitment, development and shrewd transfer business are the aim here.

3. Harass the board non-stop till we have the best facilities across the board.

I want the most up to date state of the art analyst, training and youth academy facilities. I will be relentless till I achieve that, thankfully however the board have agreed with me on all of this and we got to work straight away. 

4. Hire the best staff possible across the board.

There is no point having all of this shiny new gear and promising talent if I don’t have the right people in place to use it and mold the players the way I want. I will chase the best staff all over the planet and overpay them if it means they sign for me.  I don’t mind spending millions on poaching the best staff from rival clubs even if it means there is a lot less money to spend on players initially. To put it in to perspective my staff wages makes up 37% of total wage expenditure when I combine them with player salaries.

5. I want to play high pressing, high tempo, fast transitioning and aesthetically pleasing football.

 When I thought about how I wanted to play out my tactic one word came to mind “Blitzkrieg”(more on that later.)

6. End Bayern's Hegemony

Enough is enough I am going to end Bayern’s dominance in Germany, I however am not going to do it by being  a kak  oak(to pinch a local phrase) to other German teams. I am not going to agitate their best young talent in to pushing for a move to me. If a player is listed with an asking price then we can do business, if a player is listed for a transfer then it’s fair enough but I still want to be well thought of off the pitch in Germany so if a team don’t want to sell I will back off.


My self imposed rules


1. 40 million is the max I will spend on any one transfer.

Yes I said I wanted to be like Benfica and Porto but I did say as a rich mans version. As you can see I got as far as my limit once(And this only happened once) but it was a no brainer to go for the transfer listed Havertz and poke Bayern in the eye at the same time. Havertz has since been moved on for 100 million.



2. I want at least two academy products in the squad to have a combined 40 starts during the season.

The end aim is to have a team mostly made up of academy players but I won’t lie I am failing a bit here. I currently have three players regularly starting but I started the game inheriting two of  them and had to pull the youth recruitment apart and start again. I do have a few good players in the pipeline however

3. As mentioned all local talent will only be signed if the selling club is willing to do business, no means no here and disrupting and poaching other teams best players when they don't want to sell makes their players off limits.

4. I am not going to become wedded to players, so no sentimentality whatsoever.

Surprisingly most of my ex-players view me positively despite the fact I have brutally moved most of them on when they had no intention of being moved but I want to stick to my plan of buying, developing and selling at a profit. I don’t care about fan favourites or players pals there will always be new fan favourites and you can always make new friends. I do however have my core players who are the Captain and the two academy players I inherited at the start but this is because they are cheap, do a good job,  are German an not one of them have ever caused a fuss for me so essentially they have made themselves essential due to my own rules and their own mentality.







Edited by Crazy_Ivan
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The Club DNA


I shamelessly pinched this from Shrewnaldos blog but below is my template for what I am looking for as key attributes in all my players. Other attributes are position dependant but these are the core attributes I want throughout our team. 


Our 19 year old Serbian Right Back(11 million purchase) is exactly the kind of player unearthed by my scouts who after a bit of work on some attributes will become a fantastic player that I need to make my system work.



The Scouting:

After badgering the board relentlessly we eventually got the number of Scouts up to 23 and every single region is covered by a “roaming scout.” Roaming Scouts are discussed at length by Espen here but essentially it is a Scout with high attributes in scouting, adaptability and determination who will roam his assigned region expanding your scouting knowledge and finding exactly the types of players you want. In my case I am only getting them to search for youth prospects and Mr Costa has been one of the best at finding talent for me.


I don’t however use scouting or attributes in isolation when looking at players I want to sign. Through this excellent "moneyball" piece by FMVars I have learnt to love stats in both my scouting and  team analysis. It's at invaluable tool that is massively underappreciated on FM but has been very helpful in helping me pick the right players for big matches and to make informed choices in team selection and transfer business.


Even the best Scouts however get it wrong and I have  actually on more than one occasion  almost lost out on quite excellent players off of the back of  a scout giving me a 2 and a half star rating on a player. Now I have my scouts searching for young players with the key DNA attributes that I like. Those players go in to the shortlist and they are all measured by their stats, attributes, mentality and other positive/negative factors to give me an overall picture of the best one to sign.

I went over all my senior scouts heads when I signed Kana. I did not see a down side to him, he ticked the attributes, mentality and stats I like and if I had set my scouts up as some gamers have it on FM he wouldn't even make it to my email list as the scouts had him as average at best. He is brand new to my team so maybe the scouts are right but its a calculated risk I am willing to take with minimal downside.


Edited by Crazy_Ivan
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The tactic:

 Blitzkrieg: Tactic calculated to create psychological shock and resultant disorganisation in enemy forces through the employment of surprise, speed, and superiority in materiel.”

This description is what I envisioned when planning my tactic. I want my team to be relentless from minute 1 to minute 90, I want to be inside the oppositions head days before we play them. I want hem having sleepless nights thinking about our speed, ferocity and technical efficiency. Possession is not the aim of the game here, there are no trophies for possession just for winning and and it's Teutonic technical efficiency and precision that we are aiming for.  I do however also want to have my cake and eat it, I want to be solid at the back. I hate, and I mean hate giving up lots of shots but specifically clear cut shots. I could win a game 6-0 and be mad at myself or the players that we gave up more than one ccc so personally I actually value defensive solidity above goals.

One thing I have learned both on here and through other mediums is to keep the tactic as simple as possible and I have literally set up my Assymetric Gegenpress tactic straight from the tactics creator and kept the overall TI’s as it was laid out from the creator with a positive mentality which I increase or decrease as I see fit during the match. Any tweaks will be done through PI’s after careful analysis of  how they work within the system and tend to be individual player dependant.

Here it is:



In terms of positions and roles:

GK: Is a Sweeper keeper on support. He has some excellent goalkeeping attributes coupled with great agility, composure and anticipation. The one thing he is out producing his attributes on is his distribution. He is set to pass short to the CB’s but this guy has an ability to choose the right moment to produce a long pass with brilliant accuracy that turns  in to a deadly counter instantly, he is literally hitting a 90% plus pass rate doing this nearly every game. Of course my outfield players are helping him here through their decision making  and work rate by heading up the field and finding open space for him to launch a Schmeichelesque long throw or Ederson bullet pass but this is still impressive.



CB’s: I have gone for two traditional CB’s which I have tuned to close down less in the hopes they don’t get carved open by chasing players all over the pitch. They are all very quick with the right attributes to deal with a high press and any threats that might come from that.

LB:  A bog standard Fullback whose aim  is to provide over lapping runs and width on the left side and help with my attempt at creating an overload..  

RB: Is my Serbian kid and he is set as an IWB. Having him move inside when we have the ball provides two things. A simple passing outlet for my DLP if he needs it and it allows him to intercept counter attacking  passes or clearances in the middle where he basically becomes a 2nd defensive midfielder. With his superior reading of the game he has options to intercept in the middle, move wide to intercept a threat or move back in to the CB slot if my pacey CB has to deal with any high oppo wingers who are beyond the IWB.

There is one other vital thing playing him as an IWB does for my team. It draws defenders in to the centre to track him. An asymmetric tactic is brilliant at creating overloads and I want an overload on the left side of the pitch to create space for one of my most lethal players which is my right winger.

Highlighted in yellow you can see how he becomes that second DM and forms a neat passing triangle in the centre. 


Here you can see the space my fastest best dribbler has in an isolated 1 on 1 thanks to my IWB moving to the centre and drawing a defender away from the wide areas.


DLP: The heartbeat of the team and the quarterback of the team. With a fast transitioning tactic I want him to be quarterbacking the counterattacks finding the open man but also to basically act like a DM midfielder and shield my defence.  I signed Dzenis Burnic as a back-up but again his stats in cameo appearances were so good that he got the job full time. You can see his attributes scream back-up player for a top team but he is another guy who is just massively outperforming his attributes.


He has a 92% pass completion rate which is huge when you see how many long range passes he tries, he has 8 assists in 19 games which is not meant to be his forte in my tactic but I tuned him up to take more risks and he hasn’t disappointed.  It’s his defensive work that is truly remarkable however, he just seems to make the right decisions at the right time that allows him to be in the right place and with his 90% tackling rate he is definitely out performing his attributes defensively.

Burnic's last game.


CM: Is a  Mezzala, he is going to drift in to the half spaces to the left and and help create that overload on the left that frees up the right. He is quick, he is clever, he is creative and he is tuned up to take more risks. He has just turned 20 and needs some work but he already has 5 goals and 12 assists in 21 European and Bundesliga games combined. One aside that he has is that he is 6ft 2 and isn't awful in the heading department so he has the opportunity to win some clearances from the opposition clearances which helps too.


LW: Is an inside forward, his role is to attack from deeper than an attacking IF help create that overload on the left and help draw defenders away from the centre when he has the ball and is heading towards the box.

RW: Is a Winger on attack, I find wingers to be much maligned by many FM enthusiasts and this nonsense that they are just wasted crossing merchants is entirely wrong imo. My one(or two in my current save) is vital to the tactic. All that space down the flank with one potentially terrified fullback to beat needs an intelligent, lightning fast, phenomenal dribbler to either move inside at pace to provide another body in the box or to beat his man out wide and put a cross in to any one of the attackers in the box.

These  are the overloads I mentioned earlier that you can see here vs my last game against Bayern which is as ever  aided by the IWB moving inside and taking a wide defender with him.


This translates to this vast amount of space for my RW  to work in which in turn creates a one on one which must scare the bejesus out of most FB's when faced with such a fast technically proficient winger.



Here is a typical example of how this works out. This is a CL match vs Shaktar, the overload has created pretty big space and a one on one vs their FB.


He moves forward and spots this in the box which must be any wingers wet dream. Now what would kill me is if he crosses from there and bangs it off the defenders leg.


But with his excellent mental and technical attributes he goes past his man draws the centre-back towards him which in turn creates a mismatch in the box and with that CB in no mans-land the winger puts it in to the box for the Mezzala to slot home.


Both my wingers are 20 years old and have combined in Europe and the Bundesliga for 12 goals and 8 assists in 24 games so this playing out as hoped for.


AM: Is a standard attacking midfielder, I like the clean slate you get with this over the other roles in the AM position and I can tweak him however I want to suit his game a bit more. He already has the “tries killer balls often” ppm so when an opportunity arises he won’t be shy to slip a player through on goal.


Striker: Is an advanced forward with first touch, pace, dribbling, anticipation, composure, off  the ball and of course finishing all being the key. As an aside my very pacey striker is 6 ft2 with great jumping an heading so he is lethal in the air too and he is a gold boot winner last season on the back of these excellent attributes. The aim here is to stand on the defenders last shoulder and receive a defence splitting pass but with his superior ability in the air he is very useful in a crowded box.

That's it. its very simple in terms of how we used the basic template to set it up and next we will see how this plays out since I started out on this particular tactic.



Edited by Crazy_Ivan
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How has it worked out?

This is the general view how our average positioning looks when we don't have the ball and despite being a very high pressing team I very much like the look of this.


This however is a thing of beauty, this is us with the ball and I honestly think this screen grab says enough itself.


This is the shot chart from the last 50 games which shows we are getting our goals from exactly the spots i want to score from.


This is the assists chart from the last 50 games which shows we are a threat from virtually everywhere on the pitch.



 The results:

This was my last season and as you can see we came very close to an invincible season but Bayern denied us. We got to the CL final albeit I think our draw was kinder than others had to go through and City shut us down completely in the final but we shut them down too and it was a fortuitous goal that won it for them. The key for me was the defensive solidity both in goals conceded and the shots that we allowed teams to have. 



This is the current season Bundesliga and CL table and we have just arrived at the winter break have played our last game against an unbeaten Leipzig which we won in a 4-3 cracker of a match. As you can see we have been less stable at the back this season but we did just concede three against a very good Leipzig side and we also integrated 4 new starters in to the team so I can be a bit forgiving.




Some Video Analysis:

Apologies for the graphics quality here I have been doing this on my under-powered laptop whilst going through a lock-down with two young kids. The point of these is to show just how dangerous we are from anywhere on the pitch.

When I created this tactic and had Blitzkrieg in my mind this goal is the very embodiment of what I wanted to achieve. This is my last game I played in that ding dong match against the unbeaten league leaders Leipzig. This goal which starts with the CB breaking up a play and nodding it back to the keeper and  is scored after going from goalie to forward via three other players with just seven touches, yes just SEVEN touches. there is no hint of panic from  the defenders or the goalie,  they have 4 Leipzig players trying to press them but not once is there any sign of a  wild clearance out or a hoof up the field. It’s one touch and measured.

The next one is a perfect example of my overload in action with my DLP pinging a pass to the Winger who is being given far too much wiggle room by the FB.

Some of the other goals versus the better teams we have faced.




Edited by Crazy_Ivan
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Thanks for this, @Crazy_Ivan! I'd been working on my own asymmetrical system. I worked towards something that was defensively very solid but lacked punch in offense. My problem might have been that I played with both an AP and a DLP and had the assymetry the other way around (i.e. the AP in a central role and the DLP on the right side of the center). After reading through your advice and adjusting a few things, I'm currently on a perfect streak in the league with Bayern (took over after they had two disappointing seasons with 6th and 4th place respectively).

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