Tactics Journal

by Kyle Boas

Analyzing football tactics

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Low-Viscosity Bayern Munich

May 14, 2023 — In low-viscosity liquids, the intermolecular forces between molecules are relatively weak, allowing the molecules to move more freely. That’s a good way to describe both water and Bayern Munich now under Thomas Tuchel.

They had their best game with Tuchel yesterday in a 6-0 win against Schlake due to their fluidity. You can’t avoid watching them; their play is too attractive.

I love the way the players immediately move when they make a pass. Pass and move, pass and move, create space, continued movement.

Figure 1.1 - Thomas Muller passes and immediately moves.
Figure 1.2 - Ball is played to Thomas Muller in space.

Defenses can’t cope with this type of quick, constant movement. The space it creates is easily exploitable when the opponent is disoriented, trying to track each individual player.

Figure 2.1 - Ball is played centrally through to Jamal Musiala.
Figure 2.2 - Thomas Muller and Kingsley Coman converge on the ball centrally with Jamal Musiala.

Along with the pass and move, Bayern Munich also did something interesting when they played the ball centrally.

As a unit, all three forwards would converge on the ball centrally. Width to start, and then they pounce once the ball is played. This allows Jamal Musiala to quickly play the ball out of a tight space to one of either Thomas Muller or Kingsley Coman.

Figure 3.1 - Leon Goretzka makes a run centrally from the left half-space.
Figure 3.2 - Leon Goretzka splits the defense, and the ball is played through.

Another feature of their attack was the runs in the half-spaces. Schalke did not man-mark these runners; once they made it into the space at speed, they were free to be played the ball unchallenged.

Figure 4.1 - Noussair Mazraoui makes a run upfield in the right half-space.
Figure 4.2 - Noussair Mazraoui unmarked continues his run as the ball is passed upfield.
Figure 4.3 - Noussair Mazraoui splits the defense, and the ball is played to him in space.
Figure 4.5 - Noussair Mazraoui is in on goal.

The combination of all these elements makes their attack incredibly dynamic and difficult to defend against.

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