Tactics Journal

by Kyle Boas

Analyzing football tactics

Press play again

Bayern Munich manager Thomas Tuchel on what makes Real Madrid so unpredictable and dangerous in a tournament format:

Of course, we have seen Real Madrid a few times and watched them with our analysts. If you want to watch for yourself, and see Real Madrid goals are great scoring opportunities.

Figure 1.1 - Real Madrid passing in their own end against Manchester City.
Figure 1.2 - Andriy Lunin chips a pass wide to Dani Carvajal.

If you take the trouble to press a pause button ten seconds before hand, you won’t see them coming. Isn’t it often unforeseen. Sometimes you see it coming and the situation is clear, then you think ‘oh yes, things are getting dangerous now’, but sometimes they don’t see it coming. Then everything is running smoothly, everything is actually under control. The security is in place. They seem to be outnumbered.

Figure 1.3 - Dani Carvajal punts the ball upfield to Jude Bellingham.
Figure 1.4 - Jude Bellingham takes his first touch to the right.
Figure 1.5 - Real Madrid's passing pattern to score.

Press play again and then stop again five seconds later, and then suddenly you see it.

The attack is paired with incredible switching power, and the highest individual quality in terms of how to maintain the tempo on the counter attack. The technical execution on the counter attack is simple without delay.

If you mention a classic, the goal, which they only have a few. In the 71st, they were back 1-1, and are able to give an immediate answer. The winning goal was in the air and then it came in such a spectacular way. And it seemed so natural. And that’s what makes them special. And that’s why they are of course, extremely dangerous in a tournament format, and always able to get through to a next round. Always able to win a tournament because at that point, they basically enjoy the situation and can endure difficult moments too.

Thomas Tuchel on how much Bayern Munich will rely on tactic and how much is just the luck of the day:

The bigger the occasion, the bigger the pressure, the bigger the stress; you cannot just rely on what you know, and just think about things like tactical stuff. I think you can make always a difference with the tactic and with the approach, but the tactic is just a car and the players drive the car.

We have to find a good balance, especially in moments like this, that we show solutions. I think players like to see solutions. Players like to have a plan and like to have a general idea. And overall, they also like and need a freedom to live it because this is the most important.

But as you mention, there is no way to play this game without the luck of the day. If you hit the post, it’s the inside of the post, the outside of the post, it’s a fraction offside, onside. You need these little decisions. Of course, you need the momentum, a bit of luck, and you need the whole package if you want to overcome Real Madrid in the semi-final.

We want to force things to a point where maybe there is a little luck, is then the difference but we cannot rely on it for that, it’s not big enough. So we have to push it and we feel ready for it.

I love the “tactic is just a car and the players drive the car” phrase. We forget the players are humans. They have nerves, they have fears, they have emotions.

Pre-match: Bayern Munich vs Real Madrid, 30 April 2024

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