Gegenpressing - The best playmaker in world football

Gegenpressing - The best playmaker in world football

So... Where were we?

It's been a while since I've posted anything. I have recently changed jobs, and while that has been a good move for me personally. I have effectively been doing two roles within my company while sorting out handovers etc. So apologies for not posting in a while (I'm sure you've missed me!) I just haven't had the time to sit down and play FM unfortunately, never mind to write about it.

During a rare moment to myself, I was going deep into a youtube hole when I came across a video of Jurgen Klopp's appearance on Sky's Monday Night Football from the beginning of this season.

Jurgen Klopp - Monday Night Football

The whole thing is excellent, and if you have a spare 30 minutes it really is worth a watch. There is something so eminently listenable about Jurgen Klopp. One thing from his appearance stuck out to me, though.

Klopp states that:

No playmaker in the world can be as good as a good counter pressing situation

The logic behind it is simple. If you win the ball back high up the field, you’re in a position where you can quickly transition from defence to attack and catch the opposition out of position. It is a really simple concept, but one I have never given too much thought. I think a lot of modern football is based around the cult of the individual. Players like Mesut Ozil, Andres Iniesta, and Luka Modric are lauded - and rightly so - for their ability in carving out opportunities however even these players don't create as many clear-cut opportunities as a well-executed counter pressing system does.

How can this translate into FM?

For the purpose of this idea, I have chosen to take control of St Pauli. I have chosen them for two reasons:

  1. They're a team I really like and one that I haven't yet played as on this year's FM.

  2. Germany is the modern home of the gegenpressing concept. With people like Thomas Tuchel and Ralf Rangnick also using it to great effect.

First things first I need to choose my shape. I want my team to be exciting going forward, but I don't want to leave too many gaps at the back and leave myself vulnerable to the counter. For these reasons I've gone for a 4-4-1-1. This will (hopefully) be a 4-2-3-1 when in attack.

Pauli - Shape

There are a few basic principles that I want out of this tactic.

  1. High Line - in order to win the ball back in dangerous areas.
  2. Higher tempo - when we do win the ball back I want us to be able to punish teams.
  3. Aggressive tackling - I want my team to put the opposition under as much pressure as possible.
  4. Solid shape - Putting so much emphasis on closing down and trying to win the ball back there is a danger that my players could be dragged out of position. I want to avoid this wherever possible.

With these in mind, I have decided to use the following team instructions:

Pauli - Team instructions

In order to really put emphasis on the idea of counter pressing I have decided to use opposition instructions. These are something I don't often set when creating a tactic, and I may find that I remove them if I find that they are overkill. For now though, this is what I have decided to do:

Pauli - Oppo instructions

So there we have it. That is my basic concept. It is liable to change as I go through pre-season and the early games of the Bundesliga 2. My plan is to next time go through the sort of attributes I will look for in players to match this system, how I will go about setting my scouting team to find them, and a tentative look at some of my pre-season results.