Lucien Favre 3-4-3 Tactic at Borussia Dortmund in FM20

Creative Team FM20 Tactics, Tactics 16 Comments

Last year we recreated an FM19 replica of Lucien Favre 4-2-3-1 tactic with Dortmund in the 2018/2019 season. However, we thought that he would continue with that setup in this season, but the Swiss manager chose a different direction. Therefore, in this post, we are going to cover the new Lucien Favre 3-4-3 tactic at Borussia Dortmund – a replica for FM20.

The 4-2-3-1 tactic created last year in FM19 was good, though it wasn’t that solid because of how the FM19 braced 4-2-3-1 formations generally. Though, the aim back then was just to emulate Favre’s style. This time around, we are doing the same thing in FM20 but with a 3-4-3 setup. This tactic was highly impressive for me with my Dortmund squad. I hope it works well for you too.

FM20 Tactic: Lucien Favre 3-4-3 Tactic


Build-Up phase

BVB under Favre usually builds their play from the back – though they can go direct if necessary. Fortunately, they have a good sweeper keeper with excellent kicking ability.

When they build their play from the back, the two side centre-backs spread apart outside the edge of the 6-yard box, while the middle centre-back stays just outside the 18-yard box, vertically from the keeper. With this positioning, they form a diamond with the keeper, which provides more passing options. Moreover, the wingbacks will stay high and wide, ready to attack. Then, the two central midfielders drop deep to create more vertical passing options.

Attacking Animation

Favre’s Dortmund can be electrifying on the attack. They move the ball with speed (which is why the tempo is set extremely high) and can convert defence into attack. In addition, they have pacey forwards who are devastating in transition. The counter-attack is like in BVB’s DNA under Lucien Favre.

Usually, Dortmund attack through the flanks, especially by taking advantage of the half-spaces – this is why I enabled Focus Play Down the Right and Left, which is part of Dortmund’s build-up phase. Moreover, look for overlap is another attacking strategy they use in the final third since they have lethal attacking wingbacks.

Furthermore, Lucien Favre always gives his players freedom of expression on the pitch. They roam from positions subsequently to create spaces and goal chances.

Defending Strategy

Forcing the opponent wide since the central area is covered.

Favre has always favoured the counter-pressing system since his stay at Dortmund. This means they often press immediately they lose the ball.

Use Tighter Marking enabled

In addition, the team prefers using mid-pressing (that’s when both LOE and DL are Standard). But in FM20, the mid-pressing wasn’t that effective, so I used high pressing. One defensive strategy that Dortmund uses that is particularly a challenge for oppositions is their ability to congest play in the central zones. Their defensive width is always narrow, which can be frustrating to opponents, forcing them to go wide. Diego Simeone also uses this same strategy in Atlético Madrid.

Tight Marking Curiosity

Tighter marking enabled: The team engaging in a man-oriented press better.

Most you FM players might be wondering what the tighter marking really does. Well, this applies to me – I am also curious. But there is just one thing I noticed. Before I dive into that, Dortmund (and Inter Milan and some other teams) usually uses a man-oriented press.

Well, initially I had no idea how to get the man-oriented pressing strategy to work in football manager. I guess it just works automatically. But am kind of noticing that enabling Tight Marking makes things a bit possible to achieving such a defensive strategy. However, am still figuring things out for now. This is just what I noticed, which I know is not much. Though enabling Tighter Marking gave my Dortmund team better results.

Role Selections

Goalkeeper – SK-S

Roman Bürki is the main sweeper-keeper for Dortmund for Favre. He has good footwork and can step out to sweep up through balls.

Central Defenders – BPDs-D and BPD-C

There are three central defenders operating in Dortmund’s last line of defence. Two in the side positions are the normal ball-playing defenders, while the middle defender provides cover as a ball-playing defender too. Hummels usually operates in the middle because of his wealth of experience and excellent anticipation.

These defenders are vital in the build-up phase. Moreover, they have a certain passing range that can find an attacking teammate in space, unmarked.

Wingbacks – CWB-S and CWB-A

Lucien Favre’s wingbacks attack frequently. However, Hakimi is the more attacking force under the Swiss gaffer. Sometimes, Guerreiro operates deeper to provide extra protection defensively. But, he supports forward play when it’s necessary. And sometimes given the freedom to attack more often just like Hakimi. Considering all this, I decided the support duty best describes his role.

Both players provide the extra width while the forward wingers operate in the half-spaces or centrally.

Central Midfielders: DLP-S and BWM-S

This is where the pair of Alex Witsel and Emre Can exists. Witsel is more of the playmaker and can dictate the game’s tempo. However, Mahmoud Dahoud can also play perfectly as the deep-lying playmaker.

Emre Can, on the dexter side, is the aggressive ball winner. The physicality he adds into the team is outstanding. Farve chose to include him in the team for this reason. Another player who can play in this role, though he’s more of a box-to-box midfielder, is Thomas Delaney.

Wingers – IW-S and AP-A

Any winger in the Dortmund squad can operate in these two positions. Reus, Sancho, Brandt, and Thorgan Hazard can play in the right or left position. But the roles aren’t the same.

On the left side, Marco Reus, Sancho, Brandt, and Hazard play as inverted wingers. However, on the right side, only Sancho and Brandt usually play as Wide Playmakers who often operate in the half-space or centrally.

Hazard (and sometimes Sancho) plays as a traditional winger (on support) who offers extra width, just like the right wingback. This can stretch the opposition defensive line, which gives the striker the space to run into when a low cross is delivered.

Striker – PF-S or F9

The main striker for Favre’s side is Erling Haaland since his arrival in the winter transfers. He’s more like the vibrant pressing forward who starts the press. He drops often to receive the ball or assist the team defensively. That’s why I selected the support duty. However, his new teammate, Mario Gotze plays as the false nine when in the central forward position. Reus can also play as a false nine.


For this particular tactic, I use a balanced mentality in most case for Home and Away. However, sometimes when facing a weaker time at Home, I use a positive mentality. For away games, I mainly use the balanced mentality, even when facing a strong team. Just to mention a few, I beat Inter Milan and Bayern on Away, using the balanced mentality. At the ending of those matches (like 10 minutes to go), I switched to defensive mentality to make sure they don’t level the score.

Results and Statistics

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  1. Good work, can we use bbm instead of bwm role ? And there is pressing forward with support role, what kind of players we need to take for this role(if we lost Haaland)

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