Football Tactics For Beginners: How to watch Football -Part 1

How to watch football like an expert? Never try to analyse a game from the team you support live. You get too caught up...

Latest Posts

The Rise and Fall of Third Lanark AC: Scotland’s Giants You’ve Never Heard Of

Third Lanark AC were founded in 1872 by the third regiment of the Lanarkshire Rifle Volunteers after a meeting of the Third Lanarkshire Rifle...

A look at Thomas Tuchel’s 3 at the back formation for Chelsea

Chelsea have gotten off to a decent start under new manager Thomas Tuchel with 1 draw and 2 wins in his first 3 games....

Do Premier League Players Have a Say in Their Transfers?

Americans know that in sports, there is a widespread culture where players don’t have a final say in their destinies, with exceedingly rare exceptions.However,...

The 1918 Spanish Flu Pandemic and it’s impact on Football

Not in Kansas AnymoreA century ago, amidst the poultry and pig farms in a small corner of Kansas, a local doctor became inundated...

The Best Football Books of 2020

It's been another eventful year in the world of football. As we look forward to 2021, we have compiled a list of the best...

Big Sam’s tactics against Liverpool show the template to stifle Klopp’s side

Two complete opposites came up in the congested Christmas fixture list, as Liverpool in great form sitting at the top of the table look...

The Meteoric Rise of RB Leipzig: From Tier Five Football to the Champions League

The best football clubs in the world usually have a storied history, years of success, and generations of fans. However, one of the best...

Football Books

The Best Football Books of 2020

It's been another eventful year in the world of football. As we look forward to 2021, we have compiled a list of the best...

Foul- The Beautiful Game, An Ugly Truth [Book Excerpt]

The clip-clop of football boot studs on concrete echoed through the tunnel over the hum of distant crowd noise. A drenched team of players...

Best Football Analytics Books

We have compiled a list of the best football analytics books for the casual football fan. Football analytics and data science/machine learning in general...

The Best Football Books of 2019

It's been another eventful year in the world of football. As we look forward to 2020, we have compiled a list of the best...

The Best Football Books of 2018

It's been another eventful year in the world of football. As we look forward to 2019, we have compiled a list of the best...

Lyon 0: 3 Bayern- Tactical Analysis

In this analysis, we will be observing the tactics of Rudi Garcia and Hans-Dieter Flick in their recent champions league semi-final clash. Bayern eventually won the game by 3-0. This tactical analysis will look to the tactics of both teams on and off the ball and what worked and did not work for both sides.

Lineups

Bayern lined up in a 4-2-3-1 formation and retained the same formation or shape during the defensive phase. Thomas Müller as a central attacking midfielder, Ivan Perišić as the left midfielder and Serge Gnabry as the right midfielder. Bayern used two pivots, Thiago Alcântara and Leon Goretzka. The fullbacks, Joshua Kimmich and Alphonso Davies would often go forward during the attacking phase, as we will see this in this tactical analysis.

Lyon, on the other hand, lined up in a 3-5-2 formation and shifted to 5-3-2 formation with Memphis Depay and Ekambi upfront. Bruno Guimarães played as a pivot, Maxwell Cornet and Léo Dubois as the wingbacks.

Bayern’s high press and Lyon’s build-up

In this section, we will be analyzing the high pressing system of Bayern. The base structure of Bayern’s press is 4-2-3-1 with Müller pressing the opposition’s pivot. The lone striker would try to force the opponent to play towards the flanks. Against a back-3, Bayern’s wingers would press the wide center-backs while cutting the lane wide. One of the pivots would press the opposition’s midfielder, while the other would remain more central so as to create an overload if the opposition tries to play it to their target man.

In the image below, we see an example of this. Here, Bayern are pressing with 4-2-3-1 formation with Müller more man-oriented towards Lyon’s pivot, Guimarães. Gnabry is pressing the wide-center back and is able to balance between the wing and center, and so is in a position to press either should they get the ball. Robert Lewandowski would then try to force the goalkeeper to play either towards the flanks or to a long ball to Lyon’s target man, Depay. In addition to this, one of the pivots would remain more central and the other marking the opposition’s midfielder. In this particular image, Davies and Perišić have switched position briefly but the main idea of pressing in Bayern’s 4-2-3-1 system remains the same.

Bayern vs Lyon Tactical analysis-Tactics

Bayern’s high line also makes them vertically compact and difficult to play through at times. To overcome this, Lyon used Depay as their target man, often playing the long balls to him with Ekambi trying to win the second ball. The images below highlight this pattern of play from Lyon. Here, Muller is again man-marking Guimarães, wingers pressing the wide center-backs, and Lyon’s goalkeeper would then play a long ball to their target man Depay.

Bayern vs Lyon Tactical analysis-Tactics

Bayern vs Lyon Tactical analysis-Tactics

Bayern’s attacking play

In this game, Bayern had 66% of ball possession as Lyon were happy to relinquish possession and defended deep in a 5-3-2 formation. During the offensive phase, Müller acts a roaming number ten, and operates between the lines and will often move into the half-space, allowing Bayern to create overloads. The technical ability of Bayern’s wingers/ wide midfielders and their timed movements allow Bayern to progress the ball through the half-spaces.

In the image below, we see an example of Bayern’s attacking shape. One of the advantages of playing two pivots is one of them can drop in the defense to create a backline of 3, it allows the center backs to move wider. The additional width of the back three also allows for the full-backs to push higher and wider, which then increases access to the half-space. The other pivot would then pin the opposition’s midfielder. In this game, Goretzka pinned the opposing midfielder while Thiago dropped deep. The wide midfielders Perišić and Gnabry pinned Lyon’s wide center-backs, and Müller acted as a roaming number ten.

Bayern vs Lyon Tactical analysis-Tactics

The images below highlight the attacking system of Bayern. Here, Müller and Goretzka have pinned two of Lyon’s midfielders, Perišić and Gnabry, the two wingers/wide-midfielders have pinned Lyon’s two wide center-backs, and Thiago dropped in the defense to create a backline of 3, which then allowed the fullbacks push higher and wider.

Throughout this season, Bayern’s movement around the half-spaces has been lethal, the width is provided by the fullback and the wingers occupy the half-spaces, combining this with the excellent off the ball movements of Müller.

Bayern vs Lyon Tactical analysis-Tactics

Bayern vs Lyon Tactical analysis-Tactics

In addition to this, Bayern used player rotation to pull Lyon’s center-backs out of their lines and often created a 2v1 situation on the right flank. As mentioned above, Müller acted as a roaming number ten, in this example, he moved to the right flank and provided the width, this left Lyon’s wingback Cornet in 2v1 situation with Kimmich and Müller. Alaba has 3 different options to play the pass to his players. 42% of Bayern’s total attacks came from the right side.

Bayern vs Lyon Tactical analysis-Tactics

Lyon’s counter-attacking play and Bayern’s buildup

As mentioned above, Lyon defended deep in a 5-3-2 formation, the idea was to relinquish possession in order to create better goal-scoring opportunities. For the first 17 minutes of the match, Bayern kept a high line and during the offensive phase of Bayern, both the fullbacks were up, the holding midfielders didn’t drop in the defense. Lyon tried to exploit the gaps created by fullbacks.

In the image below, we see an example of this, Here, both are fullbacks are up, the holding midfielders didn’t drop in the defense to cover that space and with just one pass the counter-attack was on. But as the match progressed one of Bayern’s pivots would drop in the defense to stop the counter-attacking play from Lyon.

In this game, Lyon had only 34% of the ball possession but they had 9 attempts.

Bayern vs Lyon Tactical analysis-Tactics

The image below highlights Lyon’s 5-3-2 shape during the defensive phase.

Bayern vs Lyon Tactical analysis-Tactics

In addition to this, Lyon’s pressing was not as intense as Bayern’s pressing. At times, they allowed Bayern’s center-backs to carry the ball forward and offered very little resistance. Lyon pressed with 5 men, as we can see in the below image, Thiago was pressed by Depay but Lyon allowed Alaba to carry the ball forward and he has multiple options to pass. In addition to this, during the build-up phase, Müller would often drop in the central area to create a 2v1 situation in the midfield.

Bayern vs Lyon Tactical analysis-Tactics

Conclusion

Although Lyon’s Counter attacking play did baffle Bayern but the poor finishing from Depay and Ekambi let them down. Throughout the season Bayern’s high pressing and the attacking play have been truly brilliant and exhilarating, but there is also one vulnerability to this Bayern’s system, their high line, something PSG could and would try to exploit in the champions league final. It would be interesting to see how Flick’s Bayern would line up against PSG in the final. Overall, it was a brilliant performance by Bayern as they ended Lyon’s fairytale.

 

Related

The Rise and Fall of Third Lanark AC: Scotland’s Giants You’ve Never Heard Of

Third Lanark AC were founded in 1872 by the third regiment of the Lanarkshire Rifle Volunteers after a meeting of the Third Lanarkshire Rifle...

A look at Thomas Tuchel’s 3 at the back formation for Chelsea

Chelsea have gotten off to a decent start under new manager Thomas Tuchel with 1 draw and 2 wins in his first 3 games....

The 1918 Spanish Flu Pandemic and it’s impact on Football

Not in Kansas AnymoreA century ago, amidst the poultry and pig farms in a small corner of Kansas, a local doctor became inundated...

The Best Football Books of 2020

It's been another eventful year in the world of football. As we look forward to 2021, we have compiled a list of the best...

Big Sam’s tactics against Liverpool show the template to stifle Klopp’s side

Two complete opposites came up in the congested Christmas fixture list, as Liverpool in great form sitting at the top of the table look...

The Meteoric Rise of RB Leipzig: From Tier Five Football to the Champions League

The best football clubs in the world usually have a storied history, years of success, and generations of fans. However, one of the best...

Who is likely to be in the Premier League next year?

As we approach the Christmas period, which traditionally marks the halfway season in the Premier League, many fans will be starting to do one...

How Manchester City became one of the best clubs in England

Manchester City remained a mediocre club for a long time in England. They couldn’t dream of winning the Premier League title and finishing in...

The Return of Strike Partnerships in the Premier League? Part 1

No matter the make-up, the notion of a strike partnership – two out-and-out attackers, often with very different strengths and calling cards, working seamlessly...

Latest Posts

The Rise and Fall of Third Lanark AC: Scotland’s Giants You’ve Never Heard Of

Third Lanark AC were founded in 1872 by the third regiment of the Lanarkshire Rifle Volunteers after a meeting of the Third Lanarkshire Rifle...

Man United expected starting lineup against Real Sociedad: Juan Mata to start?

Manchester United face Real Sociedad in the Europa League Round of 32 on Thursday in Turin, Italy. The Europa League presents a great opportunity...

The 10 Angriest Footballers

It is difficult to stay composed and collected as a footballer due to the fast-paced, high energy nature of the game. With thousands of...

Football’s best tactical managers of 2021

It’s no secret - different football managers excel in different areas of the game. Some were built for attacking play, some for masterful defence,...

Don't Miss

The Jürgen Klopp Pressing system

If a single tactical feature were to be used to define a manager, for Jurgen Klopp, it would certainly be the pressing or the...

The European Resurrections of Ever Banega

It seems fitting that Éver Banega’s final bow in European competition involved him lifting the Europa League. Barring a surprise reversal in the future,...

When Sir Alex Ferguson Lost by 9 Goals in back to back matches

I'm shattered, I can't believe it. It was our worst ever day. It's the worst in my history, ever. Even as a player I...

The long & bizarre history behind why Red Bull chose Leipzig as the hub for their football club

When Red Bull tried to set foot into German football for the first time, they initially tried to use the same method they had...

FC Start and The Death Match

“Without belittling the courage with which men have died, we must not forget those acts of courage with which men have lived.” – John...

Football History

The 1918 Spanish Flu Pandemic and it’s impact on Football

Not in Kansas AnymoreA century ago, amidst the poultry and pig farms in a small corner of Kansas, a local doctor became inundated...

The Forgotten story of the Basque in South America

This article is sourced from a string of Twitter posts by Impedimento, translated by the author.Exactly 80 years ago, a French steamer called SS...

FC Start and The Death Match

“Without belittling the courage with which men have died, we must not forget those acts of courage with which men have lived.” – John...

When Sir Alex Ferguson Lost by 9 Goals in back to back matches

I'm shattered, I can't believe it. It was our worst ever day. It's the worst in my history, ever. Even as a player I...

Descent into darkness: Osvaldo Zubeldia and the era of antifutbol

EVEN if Billy McNeill was really nicknamed Cesar rather than Caesar, there was no denying that the scene on May 25, 1967, was one...