Bayern Munich’s Transformation and Replication Football Manager 2020

Niko Kovac Vs Hans Dieter Flick

Coming towards the end of back season and Bayern Munich had just won the Bundesliga with Niko Kovac, the Croatian manager spent 490 days involved with the club and managed to play 44 winning 29 and drawing 9 and losing 6 over his tenure as manager. Despite what would be seen as a good record, after 10 games Bayern Munich were 4 points behind M’gladbach and therefore he was sacked. His replacement took over a very poor Bayern Munich side and quite frankly flat and disorganised team, star players weren’t performing and most players were being asked to do things that they shouldn’t have been asked.

Niko Kovac 2018-2019

His assistant manager at the time and former player, Hans Dieter Flick was given the job until Bayern Munich could find someone better, however Bayern saw a great increase in performance as they managed to play 15 games and get 12 wins, 1 draw and 2 loses, meaning the table looked like this since Flick took charge:

15 games in charge and they managed to pick up an impressive 37 points out of 45 (37/45)

The stats weren’t lying either, under Kovac Bayern averaged the following:

  • Kovac – Points PG – 1.6 Flick – Points PG – 2.8
  • Kovac – Goals PG – 2.2 Flick – Goals PG – 3.45
  • Kovac – Conceded PG – 1.8 Flick – Conceded PG – 0.75
  • Kovac – Net Goals PG – 0.4 Flick – Net Goals PG – 2.7
Hans Dieter Flick 2020

Meaning that if they carried on like this, they would have achieved a positive place in the table, however the football may have been boring to Die Bayern’s expectations as well as failing to achieve domestic success, which is one of the biggest problems more than anything, especially to the Bayern hierarchy that thrive on that success.

As we can see above, we can see the difference between Flick and Kovac, one was going to achieve maybe top 4 with boring football and one was going to not just destroy the league but also achieve a comeback in the race from Kovac’s poor start with Die Bayern.

A noticeable difference between the way the team is playing under their manager is possession has increased from 63% average to 66% therefore a 3% increase which can make the whole difference, but most importantly more than anything “OPPDA” – Opponents pasted per defensive action, under Kovac it was 16 per game which is abysmal especially for such a possession based side and quality players to do something with the ball, that means Kovac had a certain way of playing or the players simply couldn’t be arsed with him anymore and therefore decided to revolt because since the sacking OPPDA for Die Bayern has increased to now 24 per game which is incredibly a lot better. Meaning Kovac was asking the players to pass more sideways than forwards which is sometimes good however the majority of the time you need the ball moving forward.

Tactics In Real Life

Firstly offensive organisation see’s Bayern Munich setup into a 4-2-3-1 which is predictable as its so easy to get one of these formations going especially with the players at disposal at Bayern, then in the defensive transition of the game you can see them go into a 4-1-4-1 with Joshua Kimmich sitting and shielding the defence.

As you can see on the right we have Bayern setting up in there attacking organisation in a 4-2-3-1, both of the full backs pushing up high and Kimmich covering but also helping the play and the front four seem to ghost about with a lot of movement off the ball to disrupt the defence and make things hard for them. As you can see on the left is the result against a puzzled Chelsea side after the result

The Alphonso Davies and Benjamin Pavard Effect

A lot of the time defensively Bayern will press the opposition out wide and then have the fullbacks come and try and retrieve the ball, creating a three at the back whilst the fullback is out of position which is obviously still stable as most managers are trying to retrieve the three at the back defence, the winger and midfielder on that side will push across allowing space to be reduced and passing shadows to be blocked meaning there is no other way out and therefore turning the ball over to Die Bayern’s fullbacks.

A positive about Bayern is there fullbacks, both Alphonso Davies and Benjamin Pavard are very athletic and because of this, it allows them to get high up the pitch and quickly. Even if the press is beat and now the full flank has space to create something, it means nothing has one of the centre backs will go out wide and try to close down the cross and as Kimmich is so versatile he will try and fill the space, therefore creating a back four again.

Flick loves to “Bait and Switch” there is nothing better for him to do, he loves getting the ball down one side of the opposition and then quickly trying to get the ball down the other side with lots of space available towards him. The fullbacks play a massive part in this as well. Meaning without the two fullbacks Bayern would find it harder to be able to play the way they do.

Bayern Munich’s Starlet and breakout star Alphonso Davies in 19/20

David AlabaGeneral Specialist

David Alaba obviously plays at Centre back for Bayern under Flick and that’s because he can cover the left side if a cross is to come in and as well as the box as if he were a left back, which means the role suits him well, he’s quick and very athletic and also very technically gifted, an all round footballer, therefore he can pass long and continue build up plays up the pitch as well as finally beating the press, apart from heading which could be argued by a lot of people and the fact that Bayern would play another centre back next to him who could head the ball, there isn’t much to argue about this player, he really does help Bayern defensively.

A lot of the time we see Kimmich drop off and Alaba run up the pitch finding big balls to other players as well as making big passes to players in the wide areas, usually being the player to pass to the assist which is just as vital as the assister and goal scorer, these players go unnoticed because they’re not the statistical pretty ones.

Thomas Muller – The Raumdeuter

This guy is a legend, enough said, however he is getting a lot older now and maybe started to look like he was going to follow in the foot steps of his counter parts, Ribbery and Robben by both leaving the club and looking for a new challenge however Flick saw something and managed to harness the creativeness of Thomas Muller and since then he has showed dividend by managing to create the most chances in the Bundesliga and the Champions League with 43 Direct Chance Involvements, only Messi and Gnabry come close to Muller in the Champions League, outstanding stat if I say so myself.

He is also a raumdeuter and that means there is literally nobody in world football that is better than Muller at finding himself some space in the opposition third, after all this role was literally named for him on Football Manager.

Bayern Munich’s Thomas Muller during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 first leg match at Stamford Bridge, London.

Robert Lewandowski – Robbed Ballon D’or Winner

This man was simply incredible in 2020 and the start of 2019, after Messi started to slow down, well, sort of and Ronaldo was nowhere near as good as what he was with Madrid (Obviously both still the best players in the world and are incredible) but you have to look at what Robert Lewandowski did in that year and it was incredible 47 games played and 55 goals scored as well as a nice 10 assists, nobody came close to Lewandowski in 19/20, however because of COVID-19 the “Ballon D’or” was cancelled which is a complete shame after he completely deserved it and that could have been his only time to win it, to say he was once near or on the level as the greatest players in the world. Would have been some achievement.

All Robert Lewandowski has to do, is once one of the Midfield two drops deep to create Numerical Superiority, it is his job to fill in that gap, either hold up the ball, pass it on, or try to do something spectacular himself which we saw him do many times during 19/20 season. Once Lewandowski drops deep into the midfield, that then creates lots of space for the wider players in the attack, this being: Coutinho, Gnabry, Kingsley, Muller (sometimes) and now Sane who Bayern managed to get from Manchester City this year after being unhappy.

Impressive season from Robert Lewandowski who managed to get in 47 games played 55G and 10A

Replicating Bayern In Football Manager 2020

Replicating Bayern Munich in Football Manager 20 is almost impossible because Bayern scored 100 goals under Hansi Flick in 34 Bundesliga Games which is just incredible. Therefore we’re going to have to try and bring down the goals scored a little bit to about 80 goals in 34 instead, 100 is obviously possible however incredibly hard, you could have one of the best tactics in Football Manager which is game breaking and probably still fail to get 100 goals in 34 games. Therefore about 80 is our goal for goals. That made more sense in my head.

We also won’t be able to use Alaba due to conceding set pieces being a problem in this. Alaba will make us suffer long term at CB because of this, meaning we’ll lose a lot of games.

Achieving Flank Verticality in Football Manager

In Football Manager you need to try and create something called a “Wall Pass”, this is where we try and play very narrow in possession because we need the team to come inside and then go back outside, almost like a zig zag.

A – B – C With Movement and Passes, this is what we need to try and create in football manager consistently.

Therefore we will be using In Possession instruction “Very Narrow”

My System and Explaining it

I managed to get the following results which I was very happy with because it means that we managed to score 80+ goals as well as go INVINCIBLE, a little easier in the Bundesliga on Football Manager I think than that of the Premier League. However an invincible season none the less is a pat on the back.

We also won the treble. I was on Holiday through the whole season as the whole point of this was to just try and recreate Bayern Munich and nothing more.

I spent 6 hours working on a system that replicated Bayern’s in real life, and I must have won the league 19 times. Here are the tactics that I finally decided were the replication of the German giants:

Here is the team I lined up with most games from RB – LB:

  • Neuer
  • Kimmich
  • Pavard
  • Hernandez
  • Alaba
  • Tolisso
  • Thiago
  • Coman
  • Coutinho
  • Perisic
  • Lewandowski

Don’t use this tactic or replication if you’re not Bayern! It will not work the same for any other team, this tactic works for Bayern Munich because the system is built around what they’re good at, not what another team is good and bad at, therefore results may not necessarily come out the way you like.

One of the most vital things for me was actually playing Coutinho as a Trequetista and that’s because everything went through him and that is exactly what I needed for the team to get ticking, Tolisso or Goretzka did a great job at supporting the attack.

I tried to get the fullbacks on Complete wing backs, however they were aggressive enough they just lacked the inside the strength and verticalness I needed from them and then therefore decided to make them fullbacks on attack duties and that seemed to work an absolute treat.

Because of how versatile Bayern are I also made it so that the front two wingers swapped positions and that Coutinho swapped with either someone in midfield like Thiago or Lewandowski, this would change depending on the style of game, it use to send the defences going crazy as it would, impossible to track all that movement off the ball in one go, therefore making us very deadly off and on the ball which is the key to a lot of tactics in football, doing this is harder than said though.

I’m a strong believer however on squad building being one of the most successful keys to having or making a good team and therefore if you would like to use this system make sure you just bring in the right players, for some people that may be hard but others it may be very easy, either way just make sure you’re careful when using the system with not so good players.

Remember Squad building is the key not the tactic a lot of the time, the better the players fit, the better the manager.