The Bundesliga continues to entertain as ever, with intriguing tactics, goals galore, and surprising results. Matchday 8 saw Bayern smash Leverkusen to shreds, Freiburg secure another key result over a Leipzig side still struggling to find form, and Wolfsburg lose again, this time at the hands of high-flying Union Berlin. Here is our tactical analysis of some of the key matches.
Although we all love the beautiful game, we may watch for different reasons. Some tune in as a family tradition. Others for personal or professional interest. And still others purely for the sake of entertainment. Here, today, I hope to add one more reason to your list if it’s there already: watch to learn. Specifically, to learn how a football club compiles individual contributions of skill, athleticism, intelligence, and desire, and stations those facets of the game for collective success. This is my working definition of football tactics inherent to formations.
With the efforts and emotions of the enormously entertaining Euro 2020 still enduring, it’s hard to believe that preseason for many European clubs is already underway. To further set the stage for the impending season, it’s worth taking a moment to reflect on last season’s tactical trends. Tallied below are the most popular formations in Europe’s top five leagues as per UEFA association club coefficient (Premier League, La Liga, Serie A, Bundesliga and Ligue 1). Enjoy!
After months of searching for the perfect manager, Daniel Levy and Tottenham Hotspur ultimately settled for former Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo - who left his post at the end of the 2020-21 season. The Portuguese's departure from Wolves was a slight surprise, having led them to the Premier League to begin with, followed by two back to back 7th place finishes in 2018-19 and 2019-20. But Levy snatched up the opportunity to take on another Portuguese manager, and he will be hoping Nuno fares better than his predecessor - Jose Mourinho. Here we analyze Nuno's potential tactics at Tottenham, and the chances of the manager and club working harmoniously together as one.
Netherlands came into Euro 2020 as clear Group C favourites, and they did not disappoint by any stretch of the imagination, winning all three of their matches. Frank de Boer's team have been tactically fluid, outstanding both in and out of possession and have genuinely looked like one of the most exciting teams at the tournament. So with the knockout stages just a few days away, we take a look at Netherlands' tactics at the tournament so far.
For much of Jurgen Klopp’s Anfield reign, Liverpool have favored a 4-3-3 shape. In this system, the Reds have enjoyed defensive solidity, offensive prowess and become one of the most dominant forces in world football. The results speak for themselves regarding the effectiveness of this shape, with the well-rounded formation taking Liverpool to Champions League and Premier League success. While the Reds weren’t always ruthless in their title-winning season, few can deny that they were efficient. But is it time for Klopp to freshen things up? Well, he may have the chance to try something new in 2021-22.
The England National Team heads into the UEFA European Football Championship in scintillating form, with a crop of players that some argue could rival the golden generation at the 2004 edition of the tournament. However, this time, hopes are even greater for The Three Lions, as Gareth Southgate's squad not only has a wealth of depth, but also tactical flexibility. With the hope and promise that Southgate's squad could pick up silverware for the first time since 1966, we take a look at how they might approach the competition, tactically and beyond.
In Hertha Berlin’s first game in weeks due to a COVID-outbreak at the club, the Berlin based team failed to get a proper foothold of the game, but clung onto a 1-1 draw against a dominant Mainz 05 in good form. Here is our full analysis of the match between Mainz and Hertha BSC on May 3, 2021.
Former Barcelona man Xavi Hernandez is widely considered one of the best midfielders of all time. In his hay-day with both Spain and Barcelona, Xavi formed one of the best midfield triads the game has ever seen, alongside Andres Iniesta and Sergio Busquets. He won twenty-five major trophies with Barcelona and three for Spain, before moving to Qatar ahead of the 2015-16 season. He then went on to finish his career in style, winning the Qatari league in his final season at the club in 2018-19. The very next season he was named manager of the squad and soon afterward completely revolutionized Al Saad into a near unstoppable unit in the QPL. The Spanish midfielder has quietly gone about his business at Al Sadd, playing in Guardiola-esque ways and doing del-Bosque-esque things, winning six trophies in two seasons so far. Barcelona are keeping a close eye on the now 41-year-old, and in time we may see one of the game greatest ever midfielders become one of the game's greatest ever managers. Here is a tactical analysis of Xavi Hernandez's Al Sadd.
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.