Julian Nagelsmann has been an amazing manager for RB Leipzig so far this season. Being on top of the league before the winter break is a big deal. This means they have the passion and drive to overthrown Bayern Munich in the race for the Bundesliga title. We felt so satisfied with the youngest UCL German boss’s style of play that we decided to create this tactic (our best FM20 tactics so far) in his honour.
Just a reminder: if you are new to football manager and happen to be playing FM20, or you are struggling to cope with the features of the game, please check out this our FM beginners guide series. This will help you learn a lot about Football Manager, especially FM20.
FM20 Tactics: Julian Nagelsmann 4-4-2 Formation
Since the arrival of Nagelsmann at Leipzig, he mostly sets up his team in a 4-4-2 formation.
Leipzig’s Build Up
Leipzig builds from the back just like most teams, but they have the option to go direct if necessary. Moreover, the team focuses their play more through the middle and prefers to find teammates making runs inside and beyond them – that is how they go for the counter.
With the way Leipzig play generally, their passing directness is somewhat more standard with urgency (that is why the tempo of this recreated tactic is higher).
Leipzig’s Attacking Animation
Leipzig, under Nagelsmann, are quick when it comes to attacking. They are devastatingly fast. And individually, they possess a huge amount of pace. This has been a huge advantage in FM20 while using this tactic with The Red Bulls.
Technically, Julian’s team attacks in different setups and he gives his squad the optimum freedom to express themselves on the pitch.
With the German manager being pragmatic, he does not have a particular attacking strategy. They respond according to the situation on the pitch, which is why his tactics are difficult to read.
However, the ways Leipzig attack are:
- Using the third man runs while engaging in one-touch passing.
- Going direct from the back, with the wingers coming narrow (in a sort of 4-2-2-2 setup) to win the second ball to attack. Alternatively, hitting direct through balls that can find the striker in 1v1 situations with the opposition stopper.
- Working ball into the box.
- Hitting low deadly crosses from the bylines.
In FM20, this tactic influences the team to attack the same ways as mentioned above.
Defending Style of Leipzig
Julian’s team press intensely. Immediately they lose the ball, they counter-press. Any of the players can step out to press. However, once one or two step out to press, the other ones cover to block the opponent’s passing lane. In addition, Nagelsmann uses zonal marking.
Defensive Shape of Nagelsmann’s Leipzig
The defensive shape of Leipzig is compact in a 4-4-2 shape. Mostly, their strategy is to block the central areas by staying narrow, luring the opposition to go wide and then pressing them intensely in that wide area. Therefore, the defensive width is narrow in order to achieve the same strategy in FM20.
The line of engagement and defensive line is high (just enough for their pressing strategy) but not very high. Besides, they are a cautious team under the young German boss.
FM20 Tactics: Julian Nagelsmann role selection
Sweeper Keeper (on Support)
Well, this role needs no introduction. It is now the modern role of most goalkeepers. Nagelsmann is among those who make good use of it in their tactics.
Two Central Defenders (on Defend)
It may look like Leipzig defenders are ball-playing defenders because they build up from the back, but they do not usually show such character in other aspects. Leipzig defenders show more of their physicality with bravery and composure – more like a traditional Central Defender. Although, Kanote displays some qualities of a ball-playing defender. In FM20, you can combine the two roles if you see fit.
Fullbacks (on Attack)
Both left and right backs of Leipzig usually play as attacking fullbacks under Julian Nagelsmann. The fullback role is perfect for his tactic when it comes to defending, irrespective of the appointed duty. In addition, this role explores more of the physical side of the assigned player, which are the kind of players Leipzig have.
With the attack duty, the fullbacks also help overload the final third to support the attacking phase.
Two Ball Winning Midfielders (on Support)
Leipzig have excellent ball-winning midfielders with great physical abilities. That is one of the reasons their midfield is tough to breakthrough. Any player the boss picks to play in any of these positions usually plays as a BWM. With the support duty, they can also contribute in the attacking phase.
As you may notice in Leipzig games, the midfielders can get inside the opposition box to score, irrespective of their defensive nature. The same thing happens in FM20 with this tactic.
Two Converging Wide Players
Technically, Julian’s wide players are midfielders. They operate in the half-spaces and advanced central areas, which in turn gives space for the attacking fullbacks to exploit. When Forsberg is playing, he is usually the wide playmaker because of his technicality and vision.
On the other hand, Sabitzer who plays on the right is the inverted winger. He frequently drifts inside too. Just that he’s more attack-minded. Since he is involved in the defensive phase of the team, he is on the support duty.
Two Intense Pressing Forwards
Upfront, both Timo Werner and Poulsen are Pressing Forwards. They assist immensely in Julian’s pressing strategy. Their excellent physical abilities make the PF role efficient.
Sometimes, it looks like Poulsen is the target man in some of Leipzig’s games. However, that usually happens when Nagelsmann is playing him as a lone striker. However, when playing with two strikers, Werner (who normally stays wide) takes up the attacking PF duty while his partner gets the supporting PF. Poulsen on the support duty usually drops to receive the ball or challenges the opponent.
Results and Statistics
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