Borussia Mönchengladbach has been amazing in this 2019/2020 campaign. Thanks to Marco Rose. The German head coach took over The Foals in 2019. So far, he has reinvented the teams playing style. Now, the team has the means to challenge for the title. In FM20, we took the time to recreate Marco Rose 4-2-3-1 tactic with Borussia Mönchengladbach.
To be sincere, this tactic absolutely amazed us in the version 20.3.0 match engine (which hasn’t been our favorable match engine version since the release of FM20). Using the Gladbach squad, we went on 17 matches unbeaten (though this tactic is not an FM20 unbeatable tactic), with just a draw, in Bundesliga. So, we are happy to share this tactic with you guys and hope it gives you the same results. Let’s dive into it.
FM20 Borussia Mönchengladbach Tactic under Marco Rose: 4-2-3-1
Rose’s men build up play in different ways. Sometimes, they build up from the back or go direct while under a back 3 setup. But when using the 4-2-3-1 setup, the CDs spread apart while the two MCs approach a bit close to the 18-yard box, offering a vertical passing lane. Then, the fullbacks push up high, offering diagonal passing options. But, the wingers stay narrow with the striker in the aim of winning the second ball in case they go direct. The AM then positions himself to be available to the CMs and the forwards up front.
As the team builds their play, they have the freedom to roam from positions, which is being more expressive with their play.
In most cases, Marco Rose’s men build from the back. Though, they can go direct when the opposition’s pressure is too intense. In this way, they look for Thuram, who has the strength and balance to control the direct ball and lay it off to a runner.
Moreover, Gladbach have defenders with a good passing range. Their passing skills come in handy when the team needs to use a direct approach.
The Foals attack can come through any area of the pitch. Usually, their attacking aim is to find a runner exploiting a space (that’s why we enabled Look For Underlaps). This strategy is effective when it comes to counter-attack and counter is a solid part of Marco Rose tactical style.
This third-man runner strategy is all about finding a well-positioned player in space between the lines. This player can be the striker, attacking midfielder, or any of the wingers. Therefore, when a direct pass (could be a vertical ground pass) is received by this positioned player, he has to lay off the ball immediately to find a runner exploiting space behind the opposition defence. One-touch passing is always involved in this kind of attacking movement.
However, sometimes Marco Rose makes good use of his fullbacks when it comes to attacking – delivering deadly low crosses from the bylines to find an attacker.
This part is where we made some changes. Gladbach’s pressing can be intense, which is why we used more urgent pressing. However, the German manager presses with a mid-block, which means his line of engagement is just standard. But version 20.3.0 match engine didn’t credit us with this setting. So, we had to move both LoE and Defensive Line to higher positions.
Furthermore, the Floats don’t usually engage in counter-press, sometimes they just regroup and defend in a compact 4-4-2 or 4-2-3-1 (to cover the wide areas). This means that counter-press instruction shouldn’t be active. But, it wasn’t working well in FM20, so we had to enable counter-press.
Marco Rose Role Selections
Well, most manager now proves to make use of sweeper-keeper because of the role’s diversity, especially in defending. Rose is among those managers. And Sommer does the job well as his boss wants.
Ball Playing Defenders
Rose’s tactic requires two defenders good with the ball and with a certain passing range. Moreover, Rose prefers at least one of his CDs to always stay back and hold position – something like a defender with the cover duty. This setup now gives the fullbacks the morale to push up and support an attack.
Gladbach’s side-backs are more like wingbacks. They always push up to deliver crossing into the opposition box. In addition, they participate immensely in the third-man runner strategy. Any of the wingbacks can be the third-man exploiting a space.
However, irrespective of their forward movements, the wingbacks always return quickly to perform their defensive duties, which is why the support duty is used in FM20.
BBM and Ball Winning Midfielder
Sometimes, Marco Rose rotates these two positions. The German head coach can choose to use the combination of a BBM and the Central Midfielder role. Or, use a BBM with a Playmaker role (like deep-lying playmaker) to dictate their play. It all depends on the particular match situation.
You can also make these changes too in FM20. But have in mind that one of them should have a defend duty. This creates a balance as one player gets to cover or protect the defensive line, especially when the fullbacks overlap.
However, at Mönchengladbach, Zakaria is always the BBM (he has the stamina and pace to shuttle from box to box) while Kramer takes up the BWM or CM role. A player like Florian Neuhaus can play as BBM or DLP.
The role of Thurman in the left-wing is different. Because of his strength and balance, the French attacker has the ability to shield and control the ball in whichever way it comes. Thus, Thurman is usually the attacking focus of Marco Rose’s side. The Wide Target Man role best suits his character in FM20. And he’s our highest goal scorer before Alassana Pléa.
On the right, Hoffman (a first choice) is a traditional supporting winger. Defensively, he falls back to help the right fullback. Patrick Herrmann also plays as a winger under Rose.
Players like Stindi and Lászlo Bénes play as a traditional attacking midfielder under Rose. They have the freedom to roam from positions, drop killer balls, and score. Moreover, the AM positions himself in-between the lines for teammates to find vertically. This AM, under Gladbach’s current boss, frequently drops to assist the team defensively.
Marco Rose always prefers his top 9 to lead the press after the first pass. Alassana Pléa is a pressing forward who does this job. Apart from leading the press, he’s very vibrant and quick without the ball. His movement is a problem for opposition defenders. Another player who plays in this same role as Pléa is Breel Embolo. So, in FM20, you don’t have to change this role. The PF role is very effective in this tactic.
This area has become tricky in the version 20.3.0 match engine. However, in most cases why using this tactic, the positive mentality works wonders at both Home and Away games.
Another thing that works (which is kinda weird): when you’re playing at home, once you are leading and the opposition changes to attacking or very attacking mentality, change yours to attacking. Don’t even try defensive mentality because in most cases, they will equalize the game or even win you.
Furthermore, another scenario comes when you’re playing Away and leading. Once it gets towards 75 – 80 minutes, immediately the opposition switches mentality, you have to switch to defensive or even very defensive.
Playing Against 3-5-2 or 5-1-2-2 Setups
Sometimes in FM20, it can be really challenging when playing against back 3 formations with this tactic. Therefore, what you need to do to get the best out of this tactic against such formations is to man-mark both wingbacks with your wingers.
Here in the screenshot above, the Left Winger (Marcus Thuram) marks the opposition Right Wingback. Alternatively, your Right winger should mark the opposition Left wingback.
This marking will prevent them from getting too much space, which is a disadvantage for your team.