3 ways Bayern could line up under Nagelsmann

Embed from Getty Images

Last week, Bayern Munich secured the signature of Julian Nagelsmann, making him the most expensive manager in football history. Thanks in large part to his incredible tactical knowledge, football fans around the globe are now wondering how the German manager might set his team up for success. We add to the discussion, with our picks for 3 ways that Julian Nagelsmann might line up next season!

Last week, Bayern Munich secured the signature of Julian Nagelsmann, making him the most expensive manager in football history. Thanks in large part to his incredible tactical knowledge, football fans around the globe are now wondering how the German manager might set his team up for success. We add to the discussion, with our picks for 3 ways that Julian Nagelsmann might line up next season!


Julian Nagelsmann has preferred back-three formations throughout his time at both 1899 Hoffenheim and RB Leipzig, and 3-4-2-1 might be the most logical fit. The problem with the formation is in taking Thomas Muller away from the number ten role that he’s had so much success in under Hansi Flick. But Muller started his career as a right winger and would do more than fine as an inverted one in a 3-4-2-1. The German is also 31-years-old and soon enough could be on the decline, so building a formation around the self-proclaimed Raumdeuter might not make too much sense anyway. Further, the system might be the best way to get the best out of Robert Lewandowski in comparison to a 3-1-4-2. The Polish striker has operated throughout his career as a sole striker. Although he’d be easily able to adapt, it might make sense to keep Bayern’s best player in a role that he’s most comfortable with.

It’s a great possession-based system (see Tuchel’s Chelsea), with the ability to simultaneously create width and centrality. This should suit Bayern well, and allow the many wingers they have in their team to continue to operate in roles that best suit their skills. Serge Gnabry, Leroy Sane and Kingsley Coman would all make logical sense as inverted wingers and so it will be a useful option for Nagelsmann to have, regardless of it being first choice or not.


The 3-4-2-1 might be a more logical fit for the players that Nagelsmann has at his disposal with Bayern, but it’s undeniable that the 3-1-4-2 has been his preferred choice at both Hoffenheim and Leipzig. Die Roten Bullen have a host of players that also might be more suited to a 3-4-2-1, but frequently play the 3-4-1-2 instead. Dani Olmo and Christopher Nkunku for example are two of the team’s most common choices up top in a front-two, despite likely being more suited to roles as inverted wingers. The formation could become more 3-4-1-2 to allow Muller to have a clearly defined number ten position and Goretzka a more box to box one. But Kimmich is such a perfect fit for the Kevin Kampl ‘number six’ role that Goretzka would not need to have such a defensive role, and could easily push up alongside Muller.

Alphonso Davies would also make sense as a wing-back, while Benjamin Pavard and Lucas Hernandez are probably most suited to outside-centre-back positions anyway. Both French defenders are equally capable of playing centre-back and fullback, so a mix between the two positions would be more than ideal. They could then be anchored by a beast at the back like Dayot Upamecano, or the solid Niklas Sule, as the club pushes Serge Gnabry into a striker role. On paper, it’s starting to look very solid, with the caveat that they don’t have a natural right-wing-back in their team at the moment. Kingsley Coman could easily play the role in a sort of Callum Hudson-Odoi way, but Bayern are likely going to want a more solid defensive option. Maybe that’s where Nagelsmann invests if he’s looking to play a back-three next season, or maybe Benjamin Pavard is the man for the role instead.


In truth, Julian Nagelsmann may easily operate in the exact same way as his predecessor next season. He may ease into a back-three, as he did at Leipzig, and continue where Flick left off in the 4-2-3-1 instead. Although Alphonso Davies as a wing-back sounds extremely exciting, he’s also one of the best left-backs in the world and still a great fit for the role. Meanwhile, Thomas Muller would be free to operate in his normal position, with Gnabry, Coman and Sane all free to do so as well. The Bavarian club could easily still create a back-three structure in the build-up with Joshua Kimmich dropping in, as the fullbacks remain high and wide. The most logical thing would probably be for Nagelsmann to continue with the 4-2-3-1, rather than breaking the mould and doing anything tactically innovative. However, this is Julian Nagelsmann we are talking about, and innovation should be expected.

So there it is! 3 Ways Julian Nagelsmann could line up at Bayern Munich. How do you think Nagelsmann will line up? Be sure to share your thoughts in the comments below, or on social media @bundesligatms. Also be sure to check out more articles below.

more bundesliga articles

Daniel Farke – Monchengladbach – Tactical Analysis

After a disappointing season under the influence of Adi Hütter in 2021-22, Borussia Monchengladbach have now enjoyed one of their best starts to a season in recent memory. Daniel Farke has restored stability and solidity at the helm of his new club, with Die Fohlen losing just one of their opening seven fixtures in the league. Along the way, they’ve beaten Leipzig in stunning fashion, and drawn both Bayern Munich and SC Freiburg, both of whom topped the table at the time. Daniel Farke hasn’t made drastic changes to the team’s tactics since entering the door, but he’s made smart and subtle tactical tweaks that have allowed Die Borussen to up their game and re-find form. Here is our tactical analysis of Daniel Farke’s Gladbach in 2022-23.

Dortmund 3-0 Copenhagen – Match Analysis

Edin Terzic has enjoyed a positive start to the season, even despite some of the kinks in the system clearly still being worked out. Dortmund have lost just one game since the start of the campaign, achieving six wins and one draw in the process. No clearer have their principles of play come to life under Terzic this season than against FC Copenhagen, where the Black & Yellows picked up three points in their first UEFA Champions League match of the season. Here is our analysis of Dortmund’s big win.

Game of Numbers #5 – Changing Shapes Mid-Game

One of the truest tests of any tactically adept coach is to identify mechanisms for changing around their team’s fortunes mid-game. This is never an easy task, but one that managers must be reflecting on not only with their substitutions, but with the potential for changing the master-plan on a grander scale, whether that be a tactical tweak in style or system. In what was one of the games of the weekend, both Freiburg and Leverkusen made pivotal formational changes as the match wore on. Crucially, both teams changed back to the shapes that they’ve prioritized since the start of the season, calling into question why they ever abandoned their favoured choice in the first place.

Union Berlin – Tactical Analysis – 2022-23

Union Berlin have only kicked on since the start of 2022-23, currently sitting fourth place in a competitive Bundesliga campaign that has seen them start with an unbeaten run of form. Along the way, Fischer has maintained a succinct style of play, that drastically differs from the other German giants around them in the table. Here is our tactical analysis of Union Berlin in 2022-23, under the influence of the extraordinary Urs Fischer.


Something went wrong. Please refresh the page and/or try again.

3 thoughts on “3 ways Bayern could line up under Nagelsmann

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s