Die Schwarzgelben – A Splatter of Yellow

In an article on Dictate The Game, I wrote about five things to do before pressing continue. When taking over Dortmund, this is what I did.

Training is something for me that takes time to adjust to but I have a selection of custom training schedules readily available for the players to train during pre-season and beyond. During pre-season, I like to get the players learning my preferred style of play by using a variety of training schedules – the style being used with Dortmund will be an asymmetrical gegenpress.

The next part of setting up during pre-season involved filling the available staffing slots across the club. This involved recruiting former Arsenal scout, Francis Cagigao and two recruitment analysts – Antonio Gagliardi and Andreas Steppat.

As I’ve disabled the first transfer window, there will be no transfer business during this pre-season or in this transfer window.

Looking back at the pre-season game that had already been pre-set in the first season we played most of our games in Germany (most likely due to travel restrictions). We ended up playing FC Eintracht Rheine, Sportfreunde Lotte, VfL Rhede, SL Benfica (at home) and DSC Arminia Bielefeld.

Pre-season fixtures

The pre-season games went very well with a total of 26 goals scored and only one being conceded. The purpose of the pre-season game was to build a tactic ready for the upcoming Bundesliga season. So, what tactical shape have I created?

Any ideas on what to call this?

Now, usually, I’d be heading into talking how the above tactic. But, instead of doing that following pre-season where I think, tactical detailed tactical analysis isn’t worth doing, it’ll just show the average positions and a pass map from one of the games. Hopefully, that will guide your opinion of the tactic.

Tactical Pass Map
Average Positions – Without The Ball
Average Positions – With The Ball

Let me know what you think on Twitter


August 2021

The start of any football season for a new manager is the time that sets the

The start of any football season for a new manager is the time that sets the precedence for the rest of the season.

Above I showed the tactic that I had set up during pre-season. Naturally, this sparked some reactions on social media.

Now, I have never been a one tactic manager; adapting to AI tweaks on Football Manager results in numerous tactics being created by myself. There are many Football Manager content creators that inspire me tactically. Fellow writer on this site FMWynter who, like me is a fan of asymmetrical formations (see Bent Out of Shape), RDF Tactics who has dedicated a lot of his time to creating blogs and YouTube videos replicating real-life tactics on Football Manager. RDF has recreated tactics that have really guided my tactical set-up for Dortmund.

In real life, we have seen ‘the godfather of gegenpressing‘ Ralf Rangnick take over at Man Utd. Now, Rangnick has influenced a lot of german managers and coaches during this career. RDF himself had replicated Rangnick’s tactical styles as well as the styles used by Klopp at Liverpool, Tuchel’s Chelsea and Naglesmann’s Bayern Munich.

After watching and reading about numerous tactical styles, I managed to create my own versions of what I’ll phrase as Atkins Asymmetrical

V1 of the tactic will be the main tactic throughout the season but as pointed out on Twitter, the requirement of a “less intensive” approach would be favourable due to the intense nature of V1. The aim of V2 is not only to be less intense but more conservative therefore I am seeing it as more of a tactical mid-match tactical change. V3 aims to be a hybrid of V1 and V2 but offers more defensive stability.

Football is a results-driven business so let’s look at how the first month of the season has gone.

August fixtures

August started off with a DFB-Pokal first round fixture against NOFV-Oberliga Nord side, Greifswalder FC. To say that this was more of a training game would be an understatement. The start of the Bundesliga saw a home fixture against Eintracht Frankfurt with a packed crowd at Signal Iduna Park. The German Supercup set the marker for one of the purposes of this save. Unfortunately, the game ended with Bayern Munich scoring a single goal thus Bayern won this season’s German Super Cup. The final two games against Sport-Club Freiburg and TSG 1899 Hoffenheim ended 3-1 and 5-0 respectively.

The interesting thing about the TSG 1899 Hoffenheim match was that my team only had 30% possession showing that some improvements are required in terms of pressing. In other games, possession for my team has been about 40% which for a team counter-pressing football is about the right amount. Despite having only 30% possession, the 5-0 win against Hoffenheim shows the attacking treat present within the Dortmund team.

Moving into September, we have a selection of Bundesliga games and UEFA Champions League games following the group stage draw.

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