Tactics Journal

by Kyle Boas

Analyzing football tactics

Ones that don't do anything won

Vinicius Jr. cut-back pass, Bayern Munich loses the ball, Vinicius Jr. cut-back pass, Neuer save, Bayern Munich loses the ball, Vinicius Jr. cut-back pass, Neuer error. The beauty of the way Real Madrid comes from Carlo Ancelotti being more hands-off.

Ancelotti explained before the first-leg against Bayern Munich how much control he gives to the players to allow them to improvise during the match:

I have a clear idea. There are two types of coaches: ones that don’t do anything and other ones who really can cause difficulties.

The match is up to the players, of course, they are on the pitch. You can put or give them the idea or the strategy, that you have the tactic, they have to be convinced to be able to put it on the pitch. It’s all about the players on the pitch, their behavior, and what they can do on the pitch.

What the coach can do is (have the) players understand what the team wants to achieve and how they want to act. The idea, everyone has that. Bayern Munich as well as Paris Saint-German, and it’s up to you where you want to then pose the focus.

He’s alluding to the fact that he gives the creative control to the players. If he forced players to follow a certain pattern or structure, he considers that to be “causing difficulties”.

Give most of the credit to the players first for most in-game changes against Bayern Munich because you would assume most of what transpired was spontaneous.

But also give credit to Carlo Ancelotti because he became the first manager in history to reach six Champions League Finals (AC Milan 2003, 2005, 2007; Real Madrid 2014, 2022, 2024). He has won four of five (AC Milan 2003, 2007; Real Madrid 2014, 2022).

Figure 1.1 - Rodrygo joining Vinicius Jr. and Jude Bellingham on the left-wing to overload Bayern Munich right-back Joshua Kimmich.

Both Ian Maatsen and Karim Adeyemi outplayed Achraf Hakimi and Ousmane Dembélé in Borussia Dortmund’s first and second leg semi-final matches against PSG.

A positive to Real Madrid’s approach to allow Rodrygo to drift over to the left-wing is that they will be able to bypass, ignore, the Maatsen and Adeyemi double-team by focusing all their efforts on the left-wing.

Vincius Jr., Bellingham, and Rodrygo versus Borussia Dortmund right-back Julian Ryerson could be a mis-match in the final.

Figure 1.1 - Bayern Munich surrounding the ball with five players.

I thought Bayern Munich’s best period came when they crowded the ball. For most of the match they were fairly spread out, and the only player that had the pace to take advantage of the gaps was the Bayern goal-scorer, Alphonso Davies.

A negative to Real Madrid focusing their efforts on the left-wing is that Adeyemi will have that same threat that Alphonso Davies had, if the game is open like it was against Bayern Munich, and Dortmund aren’t pinned back.

Match: Real Madrid 2-1 (4-3) Bayern Munich, 8 May 2024

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