I love the Bundesliga; it’s one of the best leagues to watch the speed, the press and goals. The Bundesliga has the highest goals to games ratio in the top league through Europe. As the author of Pressure makes Diamonds I love a good press but in FM18 I have noticed that the aggressive press with a team with less talent mentally, physically and technically and playing away can leave you REALLY exposed. So, I set out trying to find a solution here what I came up with.
The trusty 442 a staple of the old guard of English football. I chose a team in Germany and plays like how I wanted play RB Leipzig while I’ll never be in favor of a large corporation buying a team there’s something different to Leipzig. They haven’t spent a great deal like other European clubs and in my opinion play some of the (for the tactically nerdy like myself) best football.
Here is a video from Tifo Football on YouTube about how the RassenBull play and their tactical evolution as they have gone from newcomers to the Bundesliga to dealing with the extra workload that the Champions League creates. (5.58)
Knowing the speed, they possess in attack, the ball playing defenders they own, the work rate and teamwork of their center mid I chose them to create a counter attack tactic.
Now the instructions have taken a lot of tweaking. As you can see below I have chosen instructions the will encourage my players to time a long pass from whoever to a player on a tear toward the goal. Is chose counter to sit a bit deeper compact (hence the play narrow) and when we get the ball play it direct to usually Werner who in a season scored 27 goals, 12 assists and 12 man of the matches in one season as well as 40 goals in 49 in all competitions and many personal awards playing in the advance forward position. You REALLY need a fast striker for this tactic.
For my next trick the pressing system as you can see we are encouraging the players to press their wide players specially the ones up field in hopes to one regain the ball and pinging the ball into space behind their defense and having a forward running on to it then hopefully rounding the keeper and scoring or two having them punt it up field and get it back easily the launching it up field to the lads upfront to blitz.
There are some minor personal instructions like the wingers pressing and the keeper giving it to the BPD in front him to act as a quarterback with gods like Dayot Upamecano and Cesar Montes <3 but apart from that’s it’s standard.
Now in general play when we have the ball the LB pushes right up and provides width on the left and with right winger providing width down the right. This is balanced by the LW playing as an inverted winger on support and the other striker playing as deep lying forwards so in essence will in defense it’s a 442 but in attack it’s a 343 so your LB needs to be fit fast and able to whip a ball in. After the winter update Zeca a player I have always loved is a free agent and while won’t stay a free agent for long after you start he is perfect for the tactic.
Below you can see a passing map of a game I beat Schalke away and didn’t swap out of this tactic all game after we scored early, and I didn’t want to attack a team in this save was coming first and possibly leaving myself exposed. As you can see the lynch pin of this tactic is the AP of course but do not discount the BWM who will often find space to receive the ball safely and give safe passes to team mates. Also, the IW LW giving the CWB LB room to stretch the opposition.
I also want to show you the importance of the BPD. Below picture show the passing of Cesar Montes a chap from Mexico who could hit a penny from 70m on the full XD I think this really show how direct he is. In this game we conceded 2 goals (but won by 3 goals) but with his passes and key tackles it allowed him to still be rated 7.5 post game. (that keys pass led to a goal)
When should I use this tactic?I’m not providing any screen shots of results because I am a very fluid manager I switch from one to another tactic 3 or 4 times in a match. THIS TACTIC IS FOR ONE WHEN YOUR USING A TOP OR BETTER TEAM THEN YOURS OR TWO WHEN YOU WANT TO CLOSE A GAME OUT. This is not a plug and play tactic there no such a thing anymore you need to constantly innovate like in real life.
What are some attributes you look for in a player to fit into this tactic?
I usually look for work rate, team work, determination, stamina, natural fitness and speed (which is pace and acceleration) for your forwards.
P.S. I bought Bruno Fernandes to replace Naby Keita.
In conclusion, counter attacking tactics in real life as risky as they are in FM18 but under the right game management and circumstance its lethal. It’s truly exciting to get away with a one goal win at Bayern Munich or get a goal with 30 minutes left and when the opposition pushes forward you shred their defense with the speed of a cheetah. It’s a true smash and grab, a true counter, a true blitz tactic.