Tactics Journal

by Kyle Boas

Analyzing football tactics

Thomas Tuchel Details How Bayern Munich Defended Against VfB Stuttgart

I wanted to add visuals to Thomas Tuchel’s insightful comments from his post-match interview after Bayern Munich’s win against VfB Stuttgart. He went into detail about why a “clear-cut 4-4-2 was maybe not the best tactical shape” out-of-possession.

Figure 1.1 - Harry Kane and Thomas Muller track Angelo Stiller and Atakan Karazor, while Bayern Munich's midfield begins to collapse centrally.
Figure 1.2 - Bayern Munich's first and second lines are compact centrally, collapsing on VfB Stuttgart's double pivot, 5v2.
Figure 1.3 - Bayern Munich's first and second lines are compact centrally, collapsing on VfB Stuttgart's double pivot and a +1, 5v3.

Thomas Tuchel when asked if he can breakdown why a 4-4-2 might not be the best tactical shape:

“Because it’s difficult — they build-up in a 3-2. They create a 3-2-4-1, which means that you have five offensive players in your back, in front of your line of four. And it’s difficult to always protect the counter movements with the double 6, and you have to put pressure on their double 6. So you need the strikers to drop also a bit deeper to put the double 6 in between our midfielders and our strikers. And for that, you need a lot of extra meters.”

By “a lot of extra meters,” I believe Tuchel is referring to overloading VfB Stuttgart’s double pivot and making that space tight. Give them less space, fewer meters to work in.

VfB Stuttgart’s double pivot is constantly moving to try to get out into a pocket to receive the ball, but Kane and Muller are shadow covering, blocking off that passing lane.

Figure 2.1 - VfB Stuttgart advance down the right-wing, and Bayern Munich outnumbers them 4v3, with Leroy Sané tracking back to help.
Figure 2.2 - Bayern Munich outnumbers VfB Stuttgart 5v4, and Leroy Sané pressures the ball carrier to make them pass back.

“They overload the right side so Leroy [Sané] had some moments to drop deep and sacrifice, which he did. You can adapt, of course, to any shape, and we did today, with heart and pure effort, and it was good.”

Bayern Munich made a concerted effort to make sure they always outnumbered VfB Stuttgart on the right side.

We don’t normally get this much detail in press conferences, so it’s nice to document it with examples when it happens.

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