Jesse Marsch 4-4-2 Diamond Tactic with Red Bull Salzburg in FM20

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Salzburg have been literally impressive in the Austrian League so far this season. Irrespective of their Champions League elimination, they really put up a big fight. However, their style of play is lovable to watch – actually, that is what attracted us to them. Thanks to Jesse Marsch’s tactical philosophy. Therefore, in this post, we will share about Jesse Marsch 4-4-2 diamond tactic with Red Bull Salzburg in FM20.

Jesse Marsch used different kinds of formations this season at Salzburg. He frequently uses the 4-4-2 classic and a diamond midfield 4-4-2. Fortunately, these formations worked amazingly under the same style in FM20. But because of ambiguity, we are going to share the Marsch’s Diamond 4-4-2 in this post and discuss his classic 4-4-2 in another post.

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FM20 Jesse Marsch 4-4-2 Diamond Tactic with Salzburg

Salzburg Build-Up under Marsch

Well, most teams in this modern era now prefer to build play from the back and Marsch’s Salzburg is no exception. Salzburg frequently builds up from the back. But with their keeper’s good distribution and defenders passing range, they sometimes go direct.

Moreover, Salzburg are good at turning defense into attack instantly with their direct play. This is why the passing directness is standard, with a high tempo.

In some sense, Marsch’s style of play is close to vertical tiki-taka, except that it is not possession-based. They build from the back, focus attacking play through the middle, and look out for underlaps – that is one of the strategies of vertical tiki-taka. Marsch’s style mainly based on playing quick vertical attacks in transitions. Nevertheless, as said before, they sometimes employ a direct counter-attacking style.

You can check out Julian Nagelsmann 4-4-2 Tactic at RB Leipzig

Salzburg’s Attacking Movement

Energetic Haaland (on PF – A)

Salzburg can be deadly in attack. Under Jesse, the Red Bulls make really quick attacking transitions. Moreover, they usually try to get players in the opposition box as much as possible to get better scoring chances. Thus, Marsch’s 4-4-2 Diamond can transform to 4-1-3-2 (or 4-1-5); this makes the two MCs get up high as possible to create an overload in the advanced central space, giving them a numerical advantage. The MCs perform more as Mezzalas.

In FM20, setting the tempo high, enabling counter, focus play through the middle, and look for underlaps make your team emulate the attacking movement of Marsch’s Salzburg. Moreover, the American boss prefers to allow his team to roam from positions, giving them the chance to be expressive – that is why Be More Expressive is enabled in this FM20 tactic.

Defending Strategy of Salzburg

Salzburg, under Marsch, defend mostly in a compact 4-4-2 setup. But they defend with a diamond midfield when using the 4-4-2 Diamond – this proved effective against Liverpool in UCL group stages first leg.

In the diamond shape, Salzburg can be ruthless in pressing. They also press high up the pitch aggressively to force the opposition to make mistakes. That is why the line of engagement is set higher while enabling counter-press and extremely urgent pressing intensity.

Jesse Marsch Role Selections in FM20

Sweeper Keeper – Support

Like most managers, Marsch favours the sweeper-keeper activities in his team. The SK plays a vital role in build-up, counter attack, and defending.

Ball Playing Defenders – Defend

The ball-playing defender role needs no introduction here, as it has been talked about a lot on our past posts. They have a special duty, unlike the traditional central defender role. Most importantly, a ball-playing defender is a ball carrying defender – a defender who’s not afraid to dribble down the midfield to find better passing options. This character is something seen in Salzburg defenders.

Furthermore, the BPL role is suitable for Marsch’s vertical attacking transitions. However, in FM20 you can decide to mix things up by using a BPD with a CD.

Wingbacks – Support

The side-backs of Salzburg, under Jesse Marsch’s 4-4-2 diamond, are more of wingbacks. Since there are no wingers, they try to fill that position and still do their defensive duties.

However, they are not the focus of attack since the boss prefers to focus play via the middle and work ball into the box. But the wingbacks still do support attack and usually provide low crosses into the box.

A Diamond Midfield Setup

The positions and roles that make up this diamond are the most important part of this tactic. They maintain balance. The effectiveness of the team’s defence, control, and attack depend on this diamond.

The holding midfielder (DLP – Defend) is there to shield the defensive line by intercepting passes and collecting lose balls. In addition, he dictates tempo and turning defence into attack, which is precisely what Junuzovic does when in this position.

Moreover, in the diamond, the two central midfielders are energetic and focus on pressing the opponent hard to minimize their play. They are also good in attack, making good use of the half-spaces, and getting into the opposition box. That is why both act more as Mezzalas (Support) under Jesse Marsch.

While both DM and MCs do their respective duties, the AM finds a pocket of space to exploit. He has a job in connecting the strikers. And this is where Mnamino is vital. His attacking movements can sometimes portray him as the third striker, which is why the AM role best describes his role under Marsch’s diamond 4-4-2 rather than the AP role. However, you might say he is a trequartista but he tracks back to help in defending, which a trequartista hardly does. But anyway, you can try the T role in FM20.

Pressing Forwards

These positions can feature Daka, Haaland, and Hee-Chan. All of them act as pressing forwards under Marsch. Though, Haaland sometimes takes up the support duty, which makes him drop to receive the ball or challenge the opponent with the ball.  


For this part, I usually use a positive mentality at home while I use a Cautious or Defensive mentality on Away games. It all depends on the status or condition of the team. Because sometimes I use a Balanced mentality on both Home and Away games.

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