Positioning is Paramount. Pep Guardiola at Bayern Munich


This one is for all you tactics geeks. A list of the six tactical changes Pep Guardiola made during his first 6 months at Bayern Munich.

Pep’s longtime assistant coach, Domènec Torrent explains:

He’s full of re-invention – in six months here Pep has tried more thing than in four years at Barca.

The list highlights how Pep adapted to the counter-attaching style of the Bundesliga. And how he tailored his possession system for his two dominant wingers – Robben and Ribery

For a coach so steadfast in his principles, Pep is open to adapting to the circumstances presented to him.


1: THE DEFENSIVE LINE

Pep has moved it forward from a starting point of 45 metres in front of the keeper. If Bayern are fully on the attack high up the pitch then he wants the two center-halves to take up positions 56 metres ahead of Neuer – in the opposition half.

2: PLAYING AND MOVING FORWARD FROM THE BACK, IN TOTAL UNISON

The team has got this: it’s a journey they must take together. How they play out from the back is of absolute importance to how things then develop in the attacking phase.

3: ORDER IN THE PLAY

The passing sequences need to balance the team’s positioning. If properly effected, from beginning to end it means their attack will be ordered and if the ball is lost it can be won back quickly, with little wasted effort.

4: SUPERIORITY IN MIDFIELD

This is the essence of Pep’s playing philosophy. He always wants his team to have midfield superiority, whether numerical or positional. Achieving this guarantees his team will dominate the game.

5: FALSE ATTACKING MIDFIELDERS

This is the big tactical innovation within Pep’s first season. Given the powerful wing play of Robben and Ribery and also the need to immediately cut off the counter-attacks of opponents high up the pitch, Pep has decided to position his full-backs almost as old-fashioned inside-forwards, right alongside the other attacking midfielders, high up the pitch.

6: PLAYING WITHOUT A FALSE 9

From being the absolute key figure at Barcelona, the false 9 is now just one more potential tactic for Bayern. It will be used sporadically, depending on the specific needs of a particular match or phase within a game.

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