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Help with Dortmund - i'm losing the will here!


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Hey all,

I used to play FM a lot back in the day - especially when younger in the Championship manager days. I used to love the pick up and play ability. Got frustrated with the FM series as it's far more complex and I always manage to get sacked or just do badly!

Bought a new laptop couple of weeks back and thought i'd give FM another go - but i'm struggling again already!

I've started a save with Dortmund & I just can't seem to find any consistency even though I feel as if i'm playing logical tactics (I'm sure you'll point out that what i'm doing actually isn't logical!).

My team / system is screenshotted. I'm trying to pass the ball out from the back whilst playing a passing type game & pressing high up the pitch. I have Guerreiro as attacking with Reus cutting into leave some space. This has worked fairly well to some degree. Witsel playing more defensive to try and cover for when Guerreiro  pushes forward. Is the pressing game & short passing the right way to play with Dortmund?

I just got spanked 5-0 away to Bayern which is why I'm now calling for help! 

I still don't really understand how everything pieces together - but I really want to learn & enjoy the challenge! Just need some more knowledge on what exactly what you guys think i'm doing wrong and how you'd solve the potential problems as in my head, I should at the very least be top 2 with Dortmund & i'm around 9th.

image.thumb.png.a2ce6344c060d32228a5a5de2c74546c.png

Any help or tips much appreciated!

 

Also - how should I look to adapt things when playing away? Especially against the bigger sides...

Edited by Paul Barton
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I had a similar experience jumping from CM 01/02 then FM 2007 and finally 2020. My advice would be to start with a much smaller team and in lower leagues. Dutch or Belgian second divisions are a great place to learn basics of managing a reasonably sized squad, staff and youth teams. The expectations are typically much more progressive and don’t require almost immediate success. 

I’m having a much better time managing a large club now after really learning the ropes with smaller clubs first. 

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I found the best way to learn is to hit the steam workshop or the tactics downloads on other sites. Find tactics similar to what you are looking to do and try them out. What have they done that you haven't? What works and what doesn't? Use the knowledge to adapt the tactics to your own styles. 

Can see straight away your back line is far too deep for a high press for example, but have a look what others with a lot more experience do to get these things to work, learn and adapt. Don't be afraid to simply take what works or that you like for yourself, totally realistic lets be honest, haha. 

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From the outset I'd say your tactic is actually quite nicely balanced and the roles/duties selection is good too.

Think about how you're going to defend and how you're going to score goals, it sounds like Mr. Obvious but when asked the question a lot of people simply don't know.

I dislike the 4-2-3-1 shape with the CMs in the CM strata. It's far too gung-ho and can produce results like the spanking at Bayern every now and again. Moving these players into DM gives you more solidity at very little expense to your attack (think about what you want your CMs to do, you can do exactly the same with them in DM but they'll also cover more defensively). Think DLP/SV combo to replicate your current pairing. My own preference in a high pressing tactic is a regista and it works wonderfully, but there's no reason why DLP/SV shouldn't be solid either.

You're playing high tempo and have your playmaker as a CAM. This can work, but I assume there may be a lot of hollywood balls to Haaland. I much prefer AM/S here to keep balanced. 

You seem to want both Reus and Haaland as goalscorers and both will be pressing the D-Line. No reason why this can't work, but for balance it could be good to choice one on a support duty, if it were me, I'd go for Haaland. This allows Reus to become a danger cutting in from a semi-deep position whilst your AM and ST draw the defence out. Making Guerrerio more aggressive (WB or CWB) could see some amazing interplay this way and really set Reus up to be a danger.

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10 hours ago, Paul Barton said:

 

I just got spanked 5-0 away to Bayern which is why I'm now calling for help! 

 

This used to be the normal result for the last 4 or 5 seasons IRL so I guess thats just realistic ;)

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It could be that your left side is all attack and right all support means you end up a little one sided. If it were me I'd have Sancho on attack, Reus on support and AM(s) as opposed to APM but that's more a personal preference. I'm also a fan of the CMs in a 4231 to be in the DM strata. Seems to give the CAM more room. 

Do you always play with wide width? I try and vary this depending on who I play.

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48 minutes ago, Mercia said:

I found the best way to learn is to hit the steam workshop or the tactics downloads on other sites. Find tactics similar to what you are looking to do and try them out. What have they done that you haven't? What works and what doesn't? Use the knowledge to adapt the tactics to your own styles. 

Can see straight away your back line is far too deep for a high press for example, but have a look what others with a lot more experience do to get these things to work, learn and adapt. Don't be afraid to simply take what works or that you like for yourself, totally realistic lets be honest, haha. 

Thanks for the reply. I did consider downloading a tactic but I kind of want to work things out for myself. I just need to understand how changes impact my tactic etc. 

What do you mean by my defensive line being to deep when it's set as high with offside trap? 

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34 minutes ago, JDeeguain said:

From the outset I'd say your tactic is actually quite nicely balanced and the roles/duties selection is good too.

Think about how you're going to defend and how you're going to score goals, it sounds like Mr. Obvious but when asked the question a lot of people simply don't know.

I dislike the 4-2-3-1 shape with the CMs in the CM strata. It's far too gung-ho and can produce results like the spanking at Bayern every now and again. Moving these players into DM gives you more solidity at very little expense to your attack (think about what you want your CMs to do, you can do exactly the same with them in DM but they'll also cover more defensively). Think DLP/SV combo to replicate your current pairing. My own preference in a high pressing tactic is a regista and it works wonderfully, but there's no reason why DLP/SV shouldn't be solid either.

You're playing high tempo and have your playmaker as a CAM. This can work, but I assume there may be a lot of hollywood balls to Haaland. I much prefer AM/S here to keep balanced. 

You seem to want both Reus and Haaland as goalscorers and both will be pressing the D-Line. No reason why this can't work, but for balance it could be good to choice one on a support duty, if it were me, I'd go for Haaland. This allows Reus to become a danger cutting in from a semi-deep position whilst your AM and ST draw the defence out. Making Guerrerio more aggressive (WB or CWB) could see some amazing interplay this way and really set Reus up to be a danger.

Thanks, I'll try dropping the CM's back to see if that'll help. 

Just for clarity, playing high tempo with playmaker as a Cam, can you explain why you think this may not work? Is it because he may end up being bypassed with longer balls towards Haaland? 

I'll also have a tinker with some of the rolls for Haaland. I guess I always feel the striker should be set to Attack, never really thought of support for that role. 

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9 minutes ago, Incubus1989 said:

It could be that your left side is all attack and right all support means you end up a little one sided. If it were me I'd have Sancho on attack, Reus on support and AM(s) as opposed to APM but that's more a personal preference. I'm also a fan of the CMs in a 4231 to be in the DM strata. Seems to give the CAM more room. 

Do you always play with wide width? I try and vary this depending on who I play.

I was just thinking that Reus would move inside allowing my LB to bomb on. He does actually get into some good positions and Reus has been my bets player. I'm defo going to try drop the CM's back. 

I've tried different combos on width but I guess I don't really know how each variance could change how I play? What are the implications of each? 

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On the width thing, for me anyway, it's about seeing how the opposition defence sets up, if they're compact open up the width, if you can see big gaps go a bit narrower to try and get between them. 

Reus will still get in to good positions on IF(s) and your LB will still bomb past him but with Sancho on attack he should also arrive late for crosses from the W(a).

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What I find often helps is to understand the strengths and weaknesses of the formation used and from there I can start to build a tactic around emphasizing those strengths and trying to minimize the weaknesses.

In a 4-2-3-1, in my view,

Strengths

- Can dominate the central midfield as unlikely to be outnumbered, creates a double pivot at the base of your midfield

- Can have excellent wing play given the potential partnerships on the flanks and can offer good natural width

- Strong offensively and has the potential of having good numbers in the oppositions final third

- A good choice for a high press given the number of players that can contribute

- Large numbers of potential passing triangles which make it a good candidate for a possession based style

- Can be made to be very unpredictable and has a number of different potential routes to goal

- Has a dedicated player in the pocket which is the most dangerous area for the opposition to defend

- Can be lethal on the counter attack if the opposition over commits men forward and you win possession deep in your own half

Weaknesses

- The natural gap between your midfield and defensive line can be problematic, especially if the opposition fields an AMC, this makes it more difficult to transition the ball from the defence into the midfield

- The gaps between your fullbacks and wide attacking players can be large making linkup play between them difficult

- Places a huge work load on your fullbacks both offensively and defensively, can get overloaded without support from the wide attacking midfielders

- If the opposition can play over your press you can become exceptionally vulnerable to their attacks as you will often be short handed at the back

- The lone striker can become isolated

- If the opposition fields defensive midfielders your AMC can struggle to find space

When I look at your tactic therefore the biggest problem I see is that it's not optimized. In some respects, the tactic you posted actually exacerbates the weaknesses of the formation while it doesn't really take advantage of the strengths.

For e.g. Playing a BBM as one of your central midfield pair. Using that role makes it harder for you to dominate the central midfield area as he goes storming forwards when your team has the ball while also greatly increases the gap between your defensive line and central midfield when he gets caught high up the pitch and you lose possession. It also makes you more vulnerable to the opposition playing over your press.

Another example, using the Shorter Passing team instruction. It reduces the potential passing options of the player on the ball which limits the amount of passing triangles while exacerbating the problem of the huge gap between your wide players.

Hopefully, what I've written has given you something to think about

All the best

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18 hours ago, Paul Barton said:

Is the pressing game & short passing the right way to play with Dortmund?

I am not familiar enough with the Dortmund team to tell you what IMHO could be an optimal style of football to play with them. I guess they are good enough for some kind of an attack-minded and/or possession-based style, but cannot tell you which exact one. When it comes specifically to the pressing style, I personally never opt for anything overly aggressive, so I would definitely avoid the extremely urgent. However, there are many people who - contrariwise - claim that precisely that extremely aggressive manner of defending (e.g. gegenpress) is actually "overpowered" in FM and they strongly recommend playing in that specific way. Therefore, it's impossible to offer any definite advice, but just one's personal approach or point of view. 

 

18 hours ago, Paul Barton said:

I've also been flicking between shoot on site & play ball into box options - I've had more success with the later

You don't have to use either. You can leave both options on default. Besides, you need to know that no instruction is "almighty". Instead, instructions serve to encourage certain types of behavior, but their effectiveness is limited. In fact, the effectiveness of any instruction directly depends on how the rest of your tactic is set up, because all tactical elements work in conjunction, not in isolation. Merely asking players to do something via an instruction does not guarantee that they will really do that as much as you would want them to. In other words, your tactic as a whole needs to be conducive to a certain style of playing in order for that to work. Otherwise, it's likely going to be inconsistent due to contradictions within the tactic. 

 

18 hours ago, Paul Barton said:

image.thumb.png.a2ce6344c060d32228a5a5de2c74546c.png

Looking at your tactic, here are a couple of tips:

- there is no need for 2 playmaker roles located so close to each other (your DLP is literally behind the AP)

- instead of the Overlap left team instruction, I would switch the IF's duty to support and thus create a natural overlap

- upping the mentality to Positive along with dropping the tempo (and possibly also width) to default would make more sense IMHO

- I would also remove both the Take short kicks and distribution to CBs, given that you already play out of defence and use shorter passing

When it comes to roles and duties, these are tweaks I personally would try first:

PFat

IFsu           AMsu           Wat

DLPsu  CMde

FBat    CDde  BPDde  WBsu

SKsu

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I can see you have selected Gegenpress as your tactical style so you need to ensure your player roles and team instructions lend themselves to that style of play.

You also need to keep in mind that your mentality also directly affects your base settings for passing, tempo, width etc..

As you have selected the Balanced mentality this will automatically set some of your instructions to a middle value (normal passing, normal tempo etc..) which actually take away slightly from what Gegenpressing is all about (direct passing, fast tempo, more pressing blah, blah, blah). I can see you've increased the tempo, but a higher tempo on a balanced mentality won't be as high as a higher tempo on a positive mentality. So these are some things to consider. Personally, I wouldn't play Gegenpressing on a mentality lower than Positive.

Gegenpressing is also about being compact, trying to steamroll the opposition, so i'd avoid adding team instructions like increasing width as you lose the compactness that you need to play the Gegenpress effectively.

I'd also look to lower the number of play-makers. It's usually a good idea to just have one dedicated play-maker in your team - and that goes for all tactical styles really - even more so with Gegenpressing as it is a style based on fast transitions. Play-makers tend to slow things down a bit.

There's no reason you can't play, and be very successful, with this shape. You just need to ensure you are playing compact and have aggressive roles to compliment the play style. Of course, this is just my opinion and isn't a rule of thumb. But when you think about it logically it makes sense.

Hope this helps a little bit.

Edited by TheGoodRebel
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Thanks for the tips guys, it certainly does help me in understanding exactly how the game plays etc.

I've changed things around a little & think more by luck than judgement seem to have stumbled across something that's working (See below). I've certainly been much better and more creative going forward & have just won the last 7 in a row playing like this. 

Things still don't really seem tight enough at the back - may play slightly narrower to see if I can impact this. But Reus & Haaland have both been excellent along with Sancho & taken me from the verge of the sack to 7 wins in a row. I'll keep testing to see how things progress. 

Question I have is, how do you determine if things are working and it's not luck? Of course results, but also performances. I'm playing well enough at home, but away from home I'veimped over the line slightly. A solid away performance against Leverkusen and won 1-0 but struggled slightly in some other games - like Bochum in the cup winning 3-2. Teams seem to be able to play through balls fairly easily between my CB and FB so hopefully playing narrower will improve this.  

image.thumb.png.ebd11f33325be75f43a1fea3f44b25a5.png

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1 hour ago, TheGoodRebel said:

I can see you have selected Gegenpress as your tactical style so you need to ensure your player roles and team instructions lend themselves to that style of play.

You also need to keep in mind that your mentality also directly affects your base settings for passing, tempo, width etc..

As you have selected the Balanced mentality this will automatically set some of your instructions to a middle value (normal passing, normal tempo etc..) which actually take away slightly from what Gegenpressing is all about (direct passing, fast tempo, more pressing blah, blah, blah). I can see you've increased the tempo, but a higher tempo on a balanced mentality won't be as high as a higher tempo on a positive mentality. So these are some things to consider. Personally, I wouldn't play Gegenpressing on a mentality lower than Positive.

Gegenpressing is also about being compact, trying to steamroll the opposition, so i'd avoid adding team instructions like increasing width as you lose the compactness that you need to play the Gegenpress effectively.

I'd also look to lower the number of play-makers. It's usually a good idea to just have one dedicated play-maker in your team - and that goes for all tactical styles really - even more so with Gegenpressing as it is a style based on fast transitions. Play-makers tend to slow things down a bit.

There's no reason you can't play, and be very successful, with this shape. You just need to ensure you are playing compact and have aggressive roles to compliment the play style. Of course, this is just my opinion and isn't a rule of thumb. But when you think about it logically it makes sense.

Hope this helps a little bit.

Thanks for your reply - can you just explain to me something - defending more narrow works better for a side that wants to press? I presume because players are closer together to press in numbers? Defending wider is best suited when exactly?

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6 minutes ago, Paul Barton said:

Thanks for your reply - can you just explain to me something - defending more narrow works better for a side that wants to press? I presume because players are closer together to press in numbers? Defending wider is best suited when exactly?

Personally, and other people will give a different answer based on their preference and experiences, I would think defending wider would be better suited to when you’re playing a shape with more than 2 central defenders. You can afford to defend a bit wider.

However, you might be playing against a team whose biggest threat is from crosses, so it would make sense to try and nullify that threat and defend wider. 

I usually just opt to use a standard width for my defence, I don’t like to commit one way or the other and I rely on the decision making of my defenders to make the right call.

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1 hour ago, Paul Barton said:

Thanks for your reply - can you just explain to me something - defending more narrow works better for a side that wants to press? I presume because players are closer together to press in numbers? Defending wider is best suited when exactly?

I personally stick to the standard defensive width setting and adjust in-game if I feel I need to.

For me, if I start seeing a lot of through balls against my team in the highlights I will defend slightly narrower. Likewise if the opposition is getting the ball out to the wide men to swing in crosses then I will go to a wider defence setting.

I should say I play with 4 defenders, no idea if it makes any difference playing with 3 or 5.

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On 22/06/2020 at 22:49, Paul Barton said:

Thanks for your reply - can you just explain to me something - defending more narrow works better for a side that wants to press? I presume because players are closer together to press in numbers? Defending wider is best suited when exactly?

I think defending wider can help when youre defending more passively, to block passing lanes and intercept passes. it also makes you less susceptible to attack if your initial high press is beaten.

Defending wider also places more emphasis on stopping crosses.

I like your tactic, i think its well balanced in roles but id probably try and drop the two central midfielders deeper to give more room to your number 10. Your left hand side could be a little open with the two attack duties too.

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