It was just two years ago when two English clubs squared up in the UEFA Champions League Final, with Liverpool gaining the edge over Tottenham Hotspur. Now in 2021, two completely different English clubs will be facing off, as Chelsea and Manchester City have bested the rest to make it all the way to the final. Here is our tactical preview of the 2021 Champions League final.
Last season’s FA Cup triumph over Chelsea was supposed to herald the start of something special for Arsenal Football Club and Mikel Arteta. Instead, it's the Blues who have taken a huge step forward under the influence of Thomas Tuchel, with a return to the FA Cup final one year on and a UEFA Champions League final in their wake. Arsenal meanwhile have spectacularly regressed toward mediocrity, hovering in and around the likes of Leeds, Everton and Aston Villa.
It was a weekend of football like none other, with two domestic league cups to discuss, new developments in the title races in Spain and France, and a goalkeeper scoring a header in the Premier League. Kausty, Russell, Rhys and new guest Shomik get together to discuss Leicester's stunning FA Cup final win, Dortmund's resurgence in the DFB Pokal and Bundesliga top four race, and Alisson's incredible headed goal. The panel then end off with a discussion about Barcelona crashing out of the La Liga title race, and whether or not Ronald Koeman is to blame. Follow @futbolmasterminds on Instagram to see more of the show and subscribe via Itunes and Spotify!
Last week Jurgen Klopp recorded his first ever win at Old Trafford, at a time when they desperately needed a win to stay in the top four race. Kaustubh Kapoor and Russell Tho break down all the major events of the match. The panel discuss Nat Phillips' mixed performance, Rhys Williams' '40' pace, Diogo Jota's insanity, Roberto Firmino's "one off game" and a few things about Manchester United too. Subscribe on Itunes and Spotify and follow the show on Instagram @futbolmasterminds and via themastermindsite.com.
Oh, the magic of the FA Cup. Leicester City came into the cup final as clear underdogs, with Thomas Tuchel's Chelsea in great form and a UEFA Champions League final in their sights. But it was the Foxes who came out on top with a stunning Youri Tielemans strike, and two fantastic saves from Kasper Schmeichel. Here is our tactical analysis of the match.
While many Premier League teams of years past have succumbed to relegation and then sacked their manager, Norwich stuck by their man Daniel Farke, and it has paid off one season later. The German coach has inspired the Canaries to an instant return to England's top flight, securing 97 points in their 46 EFL Championship fixtures. The last team to secure that many (or more) points was Wolverhampton Wanderers in 2017-18, and look at where they are now. So although the Canaries have been yo-yo-ing between the Championship and the Premier League in previous years, the club should have hope that their Premier League fortunes can change around next season. Here is a tactical analysis of Daniel Farke's Norwich at the end of the 2020-21 Championship season.
The German Bundesliga, one of Europe’s big 3 professional football leagues, has been anything but collectively dominant in European competitions over the past decade. Although Bayern Munich won the UEFA Champions League in 2019-20, the days of Bayern and Dortmund squaring up in a European final as they did in 2013 appear to be over. This past year Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund were both knocked out of the UEFA Champions League in the quarter-finals, with Leipzig failing to make it past the Round of 16. So if Germany wants to get themselves onto the level of England and Spain, what needs to change?
The DFB-Pokal was expected to be a tightly contested affair. However, Borussia Dortmund completely swept RB Leipzig away, and Die Roten Bullen never stood a chance. In the end, Dortmund fought their way to a 4-1 win, with goals from Haaland and Sancho, and a masterclass from their captain Marco Reus. Here is our full recap and analysis of the match.
After successive back to back third place finishes in Serie A, Gian Piero Gasperini has firmly established Atalanta as one of Europe's most lethal and tactically fluid teams. Despite losing their star player Alejandro 'Papu' Gomez halfway through the season due to disagreements between player and coach, Atalanta look set to finish inside Serie A's top three once again, with the highest tally of goals for the third season running. Here is a tactical analysis of Gian Piero Gasperini's Atalanta in 2020-21.
Hansi Flick's time in charge of Bayern Munich may have been short-lived, but the former and future national team coach will go down as one of the team's all-time greatest managers. Hansi Flick eased to a second Bundesliga title in charge of Bayern Munich on Saturday, after a smashing 6-0 win over Borussia Monchengladbach. For all of their fantastic exploits this season, we analyze how Bayern Munich won the Bundesliga title.
When Bo Svensson took over at FSV Mainz 05, Die Nullfünfer were in the relegation zone. Now, four months on, Mainz sit in 12th place, currently on a eight match unbeaten run in the league. The former Mainz player has revolutionized the team, changing tactics, lifting spirits, adopting a back-three formation and making Mainz one of the most effective, functional teams in the league. To make matters all the more interesting, Svensson is doing all of this in his first big job in management. So with that, here is a tactical analysis of how Bo Svensson turned FSV Mainz 05 around.
In the midst of discussions surrounding the European Super League, Jose Mourinho's sacking from Tottenham Hotspur came at a surprising time. The Portuguese manager was set to take on Manchester City in the Carabao Cup Final that very week, a game in which Tottenham ultimately lost under the management of Mourinho's temp - Ryan Mason. Mourinho has moved on in the blink of an eye to AS Roma, while Spurs are still stuck on aspirations of finding their next dream manager, when no dream manager appears to be available. With that, we take a look at some of the potential candidates, what they might offer Spurs both professionally and tactically, and make a final verdict of who should come in to replace Jose before things get very, very desperate.
Last week, Hansi Flick announced his decision to leave Bayern Munich come the end of the season. The likeliest man to come in and replace him? - RB Leipzig's Julian Nagelsmann. But how would Julian Nagelsmann revolutionize Bayern Munich? These are some of the German's key principles of play and what he might add to die Roten next season.
German football is becoming more and more populated with talented coaches hailing from one of the nation's noisiest neighbours - Austria. Oliver Glasner is the latest in a long line of stellar Austrian coaches in the Bundesliga, currently leading VFL Wolfsburg to amazing heights in his second season at the club. After much in the way of success with LASK Linz in the Austrian Bundesliga, Glasner joined Wolfsburg in 2019 and led them to a 7th place finish in his first season at the club. This season, the Austrian manager's taken Wolfsburg to new heights, with the club currently sitting in third place. The Volkswagen-owned club are now set for their best finish in years under the influence of Glasner, with the manager himself linked with some of the top clubs across the country. Here is a tactical analysis of Oliver Glasner's VFL Wolfsburg in 2020-21.
After a slow start to the season, Zinedine Zidane's Real Madrid are now flying on all cylinders, currently on a 14-match unbeaten streak that's propelled them toward the top of La Liga and the UEFA Champions League semi-finals. Zidane doesn't have the same squad that won him the Champions League in three back to back years between 2016 and 2018, but he is getting the best out of what he has at his disposal once again. After a massive 2-1 win over Barcelona in El Clasico this past weekend and the side securing a place in the UEFA Champions League semis, the side could be on a path toward victory in either competition. As a result, we now take a look at the tactics Zinedine Zidane has deployed throughout the 2020-21 season at Real Madrid.
In the merry go round that is the Bundesliga managerial landscape at the moment, Adi Hütter has officially been announced as the next Borussia Monchengladbach boss. The announcement came just days after leading his team to a massive win over third place VFL Wolfsburg, with Die Adler in poll position to qualify for the UEFA Champions League next season. Monchengladbach on the other hand, sit just eighth in the table, after a stop and start second half of the season. Part of Gladbach's lack of form could be down to the other big managerial announcement of 2021 in the Bundesliga - Marco Rose's imminent arrival at Borussia Dortmund. However, Hütter's achievements with Frankfurt are monumental in comparison to Gladbach's disappointing season. That makes it all the more confusing why he would leave a side about to participate in the UEFA Champions League for one that is not guaranteed European football next season. Nonetheless, the surprise announcement gives us the perfect opportunity to eulogize everything Adi Hütter has accomplished at Eintracht Frankfurt.
Since taking over for Marcel Keizer in December 2017, Erik Ten Hag has been a revelation at AFC Ajax. In fact, it would have been difficult for anyone to do a better job. The Dutch manager scraped Ajax back into the title race in his first season in charge, only missing out by four points, and since then has won the Eredivisie, gotten his team to the UEFA Champions League semi-final and now looks set to win the league all over again. That has all culminated in an outrageous 74% of his matches won since the tail-end of 2017. This season they're up to 81% of their matches won, sitting eleven points clear at the top of the league. So with their fantastic performances and intriguing tactics along the way, here is RDF's Tactical Analysis of Erik Ten Hag's Ajax in 2020-21.
The 2020-21 Premier League season has certainly been one of the most unprecedented in the history of the competition. Due to the state of the outside world and the novel coronavirus pandemic, very few players and very few teams were able to gain any sense of consistency over the course of the season. Some of those "very few" aforementioned players fall under the star-studded Manchester City umbrella, and were able to escape the heavy storm relatively unscathed. But a few other stars from around the league consistently performed to high levels, and certainly the Citizens can't claim to have the best player of the season in each and every position. With that, here is our Premier League Team of the Year, as though we were the players picking the team ourselves.
Although Chelsea can't quite seem to find the back of the net, very few managers in Premier League history have had a better start to life than Thomas Tuchel. The Blues have won nine of their thirteen matches under Tuchel's management in all competitions, keeping eleven clean sheets during that time. Some underlying issues are still evidently exposed as Tuchel works around his squad and attempts to find his best possible eleven, but the improvement from Frank Lampard is also evident for all to see. Tuchel's defensive tactics in particular have been outstanding, and much promise for the future remains if Chelsea can find their shooting boots and score more goals on a regular basis. Here is our latest Thomas Tuchel analysis, covering his first thirteen matches in charge at Stamford Bridge.
Julian Nagelsmann never made it as a player, thanks in large part to knee injuries that forced him to retire before his career even got started. However, that change of path allowed the German manager to take up coaching at a young age and after briefly working under Thomas Tuchel at Augsburg, Nagelsmann worked his way through the ranks at 1899 Hoffenheim, leading them into the UEFA Champions League for the first time in their history. After three incredibly successful years with Hoffenheim, Nagelsmann departed the club in 2019 for RasenBallsport Leipzig. Due to his fantastic success with a club that is now firmly one of Germany's elite clubs, Nagelsmann is now one of the most sought after and respected coaches in the world, at 32 years of age. This is a Tactical Analysis of Julian Nagelsmann's revelations with RB Leipzig, as he looks destined to become the next big thing in football management.
Jesse Marsch is one of the most buzzworthy managers in the world of football at the moment. Since taking over at Red Bull Salzburg for Marco Rose, the American has developed a reputation as a tactical innovator and one of the most exciting young managers in the game. However, it's not as though Salzburg's record is anything out of the ordinary from previous managers. The buzz and attention surrounding the former MLS superstar is instead much more about how Marsch's tactics and coaching styles have been out of the ordinary. His open communication regarding his coaching philosophies and principles of play has also been welcome, and only increased the manager's growing reputation. Here is a tactical analysis of Jesse Marsch's Red Bull Salzburg.
After a slow start to the season, Pep Guardiola's Manchester City are flying high and look like the most realistic title contenders as things stand. The Citizens have won their last eleven matches in all competitions, keeping eight clean sheets along the way. Interestingly enough, they've been playing without a natural striker for the majority of their unbeaten run, making Pep Guardiola's side all the more tactically intriguing at the moment. With inverted fullbacks, possession-based football and goals galore, Manchester City have been a joy to watch in recent months. This is our latest Tactical Analysis into the mind of Pep Guardiola.
Thomas Tuchel's PSG weren't brilliant in Ligue 1 this season, but his sacking still came as a relative surprise for many footballing fans. Given his reputation as a tactical innovator at FSV Mainz 05, Borussia Dortmund and even to an extent the Parisians, all clubs (and potentially even national teams) in need of a new manager should be thinking long and hard about the potential to bring the German into their set-up. Alongside analyzing his principles of play, common trends across his managerial career, and potential suitors, we establish where might be the best place for Thomas Tuchel to land next in this two-part tactical analysis. This is our latest analysis into the mind of last season's UEFA Champions League finalist, Thomas Tuchel.
After years and years of back-four systems being the dominating dogma in world football, back-three systems are now starting to take over. The growing popularity of formations like 3-4-3 and 3-5-2 has been matched by the variety of tactical nuisances that managers around the world have used to innovate these system of plays. 3-5-2, for example, has many distinct variations and teams operating within this formation can feel comfortable knowing that they can easily adapt their midfield structure to match what they want to achieve out of any game. Here are 3 Ways To Play 3-5-2.
After the majestic performance in the DFB Pokal final against RB Leipzig, Dortmund CEO Hans Joachim Watzke announced that only a few days prior to the match, Edin Terzić signed a new contract with the club. With the appointment of Mönchengladbach’s Marco Rose for next season, Terzić was not expected to stay, and many top-tier teams had their eyes on the 38-year-old manager. Luckily for Dortmund fans and players alike, it appears the German manager is perfectly happy to return to his role as the assistant once the season comes to an end. Despite that, several Bundesliga clubs will be keeping a close eye on the 38-year-old, after his triumphant cup win. Read the full article on bundesligadaily.com.
This past weekend, West Bromwich Albion were relegated from England's top flight. The team lacked the quality to survive, and even despite Sam Allardyce turning them into a well-functioning team, they couldn't make up the necessary ground to stay in the division. But if there was one shining light in the otherwise unremarkable season for the Baggies, it would have to be their star attacking midfielder - Matheus Pereira.