Mini-analysis: Bayern Munich’s Hansi Flick reveals his master plan against Wolfsburg

Hansi Flick explained his game plan in Bayern Munich’s 2-1 win against Wolfsburg more directly.

Flick surprised everyone with a line-up of three wingers, four center-backs, no right-backs and no real defensive midfielders, and spoke openly to the media after the game about his strategy and the thought process behind his unorthodox plan:

This formation, previously unknown to Bayern, involved many brave steps – Niklas Sule as a hybrid between right-back and center-back, Thomas Müller as box-to-box midfielder and almost Leroy Sane as right-back. back. The scary one? Almost all of these decisions were spot on.

Sule turned out to be more than capable of being a right-back with his size and pace. Müller gave his teammates some good passes while also going on the defensive and recording the second most tackles (3) in the team. Yes, Sane was pretty terrible, but they can’t all be Golazos, can they?

This approach isn’t too dissimilar to the way Julian Nagelsmann took apart Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid in last season’s Champions League. Nagelsmann used a mix of 3-1-4-2 and 4-2-3-1, positioning his full-backs and full-backs asymmetrically to counter Atletico’s strengths on the flanks while maintaining defensive stability. At Bayern, they switched between 4-1-4-1 / 4-2-3-1 and 3-4-3, depending on how they attacked and defended.

Lucas Hernandez often ran up and down the flank, much like Angelino did for Leipzig. Sule, on the other hand, would mostly be parked in his place, either in a more central role or on the flank while defending, like Konrad Laimer. As a result of Bayern’s fluid change, Wolfsburg’s attacks were often unexpectedly pushed to uncomfortable places, from where Bayern’s defenders could clear them up relatively quickly. Although Wolfsburg had more shots than the Bavarians (17-11), their xG was lower (around 1 to 2), proving that their shots were fired in more difficult positions than the Bavarians.

Long balls were the way to go in attack. By reducing the midfield and bringing another ball game center back into the defensive line, Bayern have been able to take a more direct approach to scoring rather than being caught in midfield as in the early stages of the game. Both Bayern goals were the result of crosses or long balls. Whatever had to be swept in midfield was picked up by Müller, who covered almost three quarters of the field with his work rate. Bayern have not really lost control of midfield that much.

Whatever Flick’s crazy plan was, it worked as the team struggled to fix another deficit to wrap up a stellar home season. Bayern ended the year unbeaten at home, something they hadn’t achieved in almost forty years. I remember saying that Flick is a tactical genius if he wins with this lineup. Well I think it is!