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Emulating Hansi Flick's direct attacking football - A few questions

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Currently at work so can't fire up FM but I've been playing around on RateMyTactic (brilliant starting point for tactic theory) and I feel like I've found something I'd like to try. The problem is I'm in my fourth or fifth year with Hertha Berlin and while I'm spending big and throwing cash we haven't managed to win anything just yet. I want to go heavy metal, so to speak, so if I don't win I might as well score tons of goals and put fear into my opponents.



Wa - CMd - BWMs - IWa

CWBs - BPDst - CDco - FBs


  • Positive
  • More Direct Passing
  • Regroup (see note 1)
  • Counter
  • Shorter GK Distribution (see note 2)
  • Higher Line of Engagement
  • Higher Defensive Line

Note 1: I adore the Regroup instruction and for an attacking outlook I feel counter-pressing is overkill, while Regroup encourages that back-and-forth pressing Bayern is known for.

Note 2: My goalkeeper is Alex Meret and he's abominable with long distribution. Neuer didn't really need to send long bombs forward under Hansi as the playmakers were Alaba and Kimmich and Mueller.

Concepts: I know 'Cautious' and 'Positive' don't translate into "prevent goals" and "score goals" but more about the philosophy with the ball, and use of tempo, space, etc. Nevertheless I think Hansi Flick's Bayern did have a Positive or Attacking outlook. The absolute key distinction is that I don't think his teams played with a mind to keep possession (so no 'Shorter Passing') for its own sake, I saw many times the ball just ricochet from the CBs through the flanks and into the final third within a moment, the central midfielders were mostly there to be one-two options and to mop up any spills. Mueller's non-stop pressing as the #10 was simply critical. 

Formation: I do not like the 4-2-3-1 in FM21, it doesn't work for me. The wingers don't track back like they ought to, so I stick with a flat four in the midfield strata and have had much better results. 

Question 1: 'Play Ball out of Defense' -> does this mean the defenders pass around with each other more with this instruction or does it mean defenders are likelier to act as playmakers (ie like Boateng or Bonucci with them killer long balls)?

Question 2: 'Work Ball into Box' -> I feel like his team did successfully use this instruction but I have my doubts. Any thoughts?

Question 3: I don't have a Thomas Mueller, how do I maximize the possibility of my APa (or whatever role you think works better) doing that Ozil-meets-Gattuso role of playmaker and ball-winner? I feel like this position is absolutely crucial. 

Question 4: I can change the CMd to DLPd and the APa to AMa... but I feel a playmaker in the CM/DM strata isn't conducive to direct attacking football. What do you think?

Open question: What team or player instructions do you think are necessary to make this work better?




Edited by Dj-Voodoo
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Hi mate!

Studied a lot what Flick did with Bayern and I think you're on the right way.
However, regarding the two-man midfield, I don't think there was a BWM in the equation. Kimmich seemed like a DLP(D) or (S) as he tend to go further up the pitch to play risky passes behind the defence. And Goretzka is a very physical B2B/Segundo Volante/CM(S) with PIs. He is more creative than a BWM even if he is very good at winning the ball back.
I tried to replicate Flick's Bayern in FM20 with Sassuolo and went with a HB/Regista two-man midfield to replicate the Kimmich-Thiago partnership, it was beautiful !
Muller is still a riddle to me. Didn't figure his way of playing out...

Good luck!

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Q1: that's what a BPD will do. If you just play out of defence with regular CBs with no long balls traits they won't look for those kind of passes and just patiently build from the back.

Q3: Maybe you can try and replicate that with an AP with some added PIs but I think in the end it comes down to the player you have. Just take a look at Muller himself and see how crazy his mentals and stamina are.


I'm not too sure about the other questions, so I'll leave them to someone else. Sorry :)

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Awesome! I'm liking the sound of this!!

The AMC is a pain to get right, every role has it's niggly points, I think a Treq(A) suits the Muller role the most but the lack of pressing puts people off. They do put a shift in though if the player has the right attributes (Work Rate, Aggression, Bravery etc)

I like the left side combination you've got going on, the W(A) going high & wide, the DM(D) sitting & the CWB(S) roaming 

Q1) Play out of defence just means that, then roles then take over, so the BPD defender will look for the riskier passes & the CD will play it safe

Q2) Doubts about what? I think WBIB is a safe option & slows down play & I use it as per the situation ie too see out a game. For heavy metal football, I'm not sure about it

Q3) see above

Q4) I think playmakers can be used in with a direct style, they'll look to slow things down every now & then, it's one of those, try & see if you like how it's plays out 

Let us know how you get on!!

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