Bayern Munich 3-4-3 formation

st season, Pep Guardiola started out the gate with a 4-1-4-1 system. That systems was built directly around the biggest strengths of Toni Kroos; namely his ability to distribute, shuttle, and playmake up and down the spine of the side. It’s exactly this reason that he was considered one of the best central midfielders in European football. It’s what lead Real Madrid to buy him for close to €30M just after the World Cup final even though he only had one year left on his contract.

However, in the last 6-9 months we’ve seen the beginnings of a transition from that 4-1-4-1 to a system using a 3-man backline. Early attempts last winter ranged from unique to downright awful (in the case of the Red Bull Salzburg friendly). Pep Guardiola used a 3-2-2-3 variant both legs against a woeful Manchester United before ultimately rolling out the 3-4-3 against Borussia Dortmund in the DFB Pokal final.

With a full healthy squad the 3-4-3 allows Bayern Munich an almost endless range of versatility and flexibility that, while powerful in it’s own right, the 4-1-4-1 didn’t allow.

The classical 3-4-3

The classical 3-4-3 archetype has been around for several decades. The formation is extremely strong though the midfield, but like most 3-man backlines, its gains that strength by sacrificing width. The formation naturally struggles against the classical 4-3-3, but with such a possession dominant side like Bayern Munich, the man advantage in midfield can actually be a blessing worth the sacrifice.

While the defensive phase of the game relies on the 3-man backline and the 4-man midfield(including 2 wingbacks), the offensive side of the game has featured several different main archetypes over the years; the 3-4-1-2 and the 3-4-2-1. The former uses an attacking midfielder behind a two striker set. This formation is almost entirely offensive and extremely strong against a 4-man backline, occupying the main centerbacks and opening space for the CAM. The formation was strong in the age of the 4-4-2 with it’s numerical supremacy in midfield but dwindled in use as the 4-2-3-1 evolved, eliminating it’s chief advantage and attacking it’s biggest weakness (lack of width).

The 3-4-2-1 is a much more demanding tactical formation, using two withdrawn strikers/CAMs behind the main striker. It’s a formation that requires squads to rotate and be tactically maleable. The two withdrawn strikers are the most critical piece of the attack, for as one shifts wide, the other tucks in behind the main striker to maintain midfield superiority. Without the two strikers up front, much of the supplementary attacking burden in the 3-4-2-1 falls on the wide players: the wingbacks. Without their contributions, the attack can’t maintain any numerical superiority in attack and falters more often then not. This requires them to be aggressive yet also disciplined, as they are the only wide defensive options.

The main reason the 3-4-2-1 never become too widespread in use was the demanding nature of the formation. It requires players to be tactically astute. It requires them to have very complete skillsets. And last but far from least, is that it requires players to be at the top of their games physically. The lack of width puts enormous pressure on the wingbacks, while the 3-man press upfront requires a sustained level of coordination. It’s good that these are things Bayern Munich has in spades.

Bayern Munich’s 3-man backline


The main structural difference between last year’s 4-1-4-1 and this year’s 3-4-3 is obviously the 3-man backline. Like all 3-man backlines it will have to play narrow and compact in defense. This is something we can basically count on as failure to do this against almost any modern formation is akin to committing suicide.

However, the main focus of the 3-man backline isn’t the defensive structure, it’s the structure in possession. The main intent is to neuter the opposition press. As we saw in the Pokal final against Borussia Dortmund, offering 3 targets against a two-man press gives Bayern Munich too many passing options. With patience and guile, that press can be exhausted. For sides like Borussia Dortmund or Chelsea that rely on the pressing game as their main defensive strategy, this means they must cede their main defensive advantage against Bayern Munich. When sides opt to be more aggressive by using a three man press, Bayern Munich’s ability to drop the wingbacks, along with the presence of two defensive midfielders is already built in to specifically counter that problem.

The key element in the 3-man backline is the central centerback. While both wide centerbacks function like true classical centerbacks, the middle one has to play exactly like a distributing midfielder. This makes it a fantastic position for both Javi Martinez and Holger Badstuber and it also allows them the a certain license in freedom of movement. This is most helpful for Javi Martinez whose best ability is to read opposition attacks, creating interceptions and tackles. If need be the central centerback can step into holding midfield to bring more bodies into the attack or it can drop deeper to act as a libero depending on the offensive setup of the opposition.

Wingbacks and Defensive Midfield Structure are linked entities

In the 2013/2014 DFB Pokal final, the starting formation used Toni Kroos and Phillip Lahm in a double pivot. While Lahm’s injury that completely changed the match, the original double pivot did a masterful job of containing the Dortmund press and it’s this feature that Pep Guardiola has carried on into the new season.

To date, Guardiola has used a distributor joined with a box-to-box midfielder, often a pairing of Gianluca Gaudino and Sebastian Rode. Now with the return of the rest of the squad expect that partnership to mostly involve Philipp Lahm and Bastian Schweinsteiger. However, where that double pivot becomes really dangerous is when Thiago Alcantara returns from injury. The 24-year-old Spaniard is capable of filling in for Philipp Lahm as the main distributor or he can slot in alongside Philipp Lahm and both players can continuously swap roles presenting the opposition with a shifting movement pattern from holding midfield.

However, in this new system, the lynchpins of the offense become the wingbacks. If they function correctly they allow the entire holding midfield to run like clockwork. If they struggle and get taken out of the match, the whole side can become unbalanced. Guardiola has two options here: he can utilize players like Pierre Hojbjerg and David Alaba, who will tuck centrally, in addition to functioning in attack, allowing the box-to-box midfielder to be much more aggressive. This option plays directly into both Sebastian Rode’s wheelhouse, as we’ve seen this preseason, as well as Bastian Schweinsteiger’s (as we’ve seen for the last 5 years).

The other option is to use players like Juan Bernat and Rafinha who can stay wider and stretch opposition defenses giving more space in the center for the holding midfielders and centerbacks to step into. Either option can be used to target the opposition’s main defensive weaknesses. The chief advantage is that switching back and forth between these types of actions is flawless. While a player like Juan Bernat looks to be more suited to hugging the touchline, Rafinha and Alaba are capable of playing in both riles, while Hojbjerg and Rode are more comfortable filling in as secondary defensive midfielders. Adding in the ability of Philipp Lahm to play any of those tactical options, on either side of the pitch, and we being to see just how truly dynamic wingback play could become this season.

The Attacking Trio

With Robert Lewandowski in the fold, Pep Guardiola finally has the dynamic possession-based striker he’s always wanted. The mobility Lewandowski brings allows Pep Guardiola to experiment with different attacking midfield skillsets. Lewandowski’s can drop deep and play as a false 9 along with his ability to shift out towards the wing and interchange with the wide midfielders, allowing him to bring a high degree of versatility to the Bayern Munich attack. Partnering with Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben who have been given a more free role in Pep Guardiola’s team, gives Bayern Munich the potential for a highly dynamic and explosive attacking midfield. Adding in Thomas Müller and Mario Götze gives Bayern Munich more disciplined and creative options capable of adding tactical nuances. But more important then both of those players are the roles Xherdan Shaqiri and Thiago Alcantara could play. With a simple change, or even no change, Bayern Munich can easily shift into a 3-4-1-2. Both Shaqiri and Thiago’s ability to dribble, create, and play off a main striker anywhere along the attacking band would give them the freedom to completely take over a match offensively feeding a potent striker partnership hammering away at the opposition

Tactical Flexibility

As we saw last year with the 4-1-4-1, the main key to Pep Guardiola’s managerial style at Bayern Munich is tactical flexibility. Without altering personnel this formation can be shifted into a 4-2-3-1 or a 4-3-3, a 3-5-2, or even the 3-2-2-3 as the roles between the three different formation prove to be extremely complementary. Whichever way Pep Guardiola ends up rolling, this season is going to be extremely interesting tactically and the 3-4-2-1 is at the heart of that.

Formation:  3-4-3 


  • 3 Forward close together to emphasize 3v2 situations against opposing centerbacks.
  • T3 central defenders tight – responsible for opposing forwards
  • Wide midfielders/ wingbacks – responsible for highest guy on your wing when defending. If team attacks up middle, tuck in as a wingback and becomes 5 back system. Always provides width in attack, and gets in behind defense.
  • 2 Central Players – provide support for play and defensive cover on strong side and weak side midfielder gets in to allow a switch and combination for far wing.



Please watch and attempt to understand these links. Do not overload yourself with complicated explanations as I will teach them in ways that are much easier. Try to understand basic concepts. Click examples and wait about 10-15 seconds and the play will develop. Take notice to where you are when combining into attack and WHERE YOU END UP AT THE END OF THE PLAY!

    • Emphasizes Combination plays and how we will attack
  • Videos for defending, please watch in free time
  • Link to Manchester City vs Napoli in Champions league. Take notice to NAPOLI as they play exactly how we will be playing!!

Would You Play Like this for Man United? Something to think about at practice

TV Schedule for World Cup

Please watch, Enjoy and Learn

Broadcast schedule (all times ET)

Thursday, June 12

3:30 p.m. – Brazil vs. Croatia, ESPN

Friday, June 13

11:30 a.m. – Mexico vs. Cameroon, ESPN2

2:30 p.m. – Spain vs. Netherlands, ESPN

5:30 p.m. – Chile vs. Australia, ESPN2

Saturday, June 14

11:30 a.m. – Colombia vs. Greece, ABC

2:30 p.m. – Uruguay vs. Costa Rica, ABC

5:30 p.m. – England vs. Italy, ESPN

8:30 p.m. – Ivory Coast vs. Japan, ESPN

Sunday, June 15

11:30 a.m. – Switzerland vs. Euador, ABC

2:30 p.m. – France vs. Honduras, ABC

5:30 p.m. – Argentina vs. Bosnia-Herzegovina, ESPN

Monday, June 16

11:30 a.m. – Germany vs. Portugal, ESPN

2:30 p.m. – Iran vs. Nigeria, ESPN

5:30 p.m. – Ghana vs. United States, ESPN

Tuesday, June 17

11:30 a.m. – Belgium vs. Algeria, ESPN

2:30 p.m. – Brazil vs. Mexico, ESPN

5:30 p.m. – Russia vs. South Korea, ESPN

Wednesday, June 18

11:30 a.m. – Australia vs. Netherlands, ESPN

2:30 p.m. – Spain vs. Chile, ESPN

5:30 p.m. – Cameroon vs. Croatia, ESPN

Thursday, June 19

11:30 a.m. – Colombia vs. Ivory Coast, ESPN

2:30 p.m. – Uruguay vs. England, ESPN

5:30 p.m. – Japan vs. Greece, ESPN

Friday, June 20

11:30 a.m. – Italy vs. Costa Rica, ESPN

2:30 p.m. – Switzerland vs. France, ESPN

5:30 p.m. – Honduras vs. Ecuador, ESPN

Saturday, June 21

11:30 a.m. – Argentina vs. Iran, ESPN

2:30 p.m. – Germany vs. Ghana, ESPN

5:30 p.m. – Nigeria vs. Bosnia-Herzegovina, ESPN

Sunday, June 22

11:30 a.m. – Belgium vs. Russia, ABC

2:30 p.m. – South Korea vs. Algeria, ABC

5:30 p.m. – United States vs. Portugal, ESPN

Monday, June 23

11:30 a.m. – Netherlands vs. Chile, ESPN

11:30 a.m. – Australia vs. Spain, ESPN2

3:30 p.m. – Croatia vs. Mexico, ESPN

3:30 p.m. – Cameroon vs. Brazil, ESPN2

Tuesday, June 24

11:30 a.m. – Italy vs. Uruguay, ESPN

11:30 a.m. – Costa Rica vs. England, ESPN2

3:30 p.m. – Japan vs. Colombia, ESPN

3:30 p.m. – Greece vs. Ivory Coast, ESPN2

Wednesday, June 25

11:30 a.m. – Nigeria vs. Argentina, ESPN

11:30 a.m. – Bosnia-Herzegovina vs. Iran, ESPN2

3:30 p.m. – Ecuador vs. France, ESPN

3:30 p.m. – Honduras vs. Switzerland, ESPN2

Thursday, June 26

11:30 a.m. – United States vs. Germany, ESPN

11:30 a.m. – Portugal vs. Ghana, ESPN2

3:30 p.m. – South Korea vs. Belgium, ESPN

3:30 p.m. – Algeria vs. Russia, ESPN2


Saturday, June 28

11:30 a.m. – Round of 16, 1A vs. 2B, ABC

3:30 p.m. – Round of 16, 1C vs. 2D, ABC

Sunday, June 29

11:30 a.m. – Round of 16, 1B vs. 2A, ESPN

3:30 p.m. – Round of 16, 1D vs. 2C, ESPN

Monday, June 30

11:30 a.m. – Round of 16, 1E vs. 2F, ESPN

3:30 p.m. – Round of 16, 1G vs. 2H, ESPN

Tuesday, July 1

11:30 a.m. – Round of 16, 1F vs. 2E, ESPN

3:30 p.m. – Round of 16, 1H vs. 2G, ESPN

Friday, July 4

11:30 a.m. – Quarterfinals, ESPN2

3:30 p.m. – Quarterfinals, ESPN

Saturday, July 5

11:30 a.m. – Quarterfinals, ESPN2

3:30 p.m. – Quarterfinals, ESPN

Tuesday, July 8

3:30 p.m. – Semifinals, ESPN

Wednesday, July 9

3:30 p.m. – Semifinals, ESPN

Saturday, July 12

3:30 p.m. – Third-place match, ESPN

Sunday, July 13

2:30 p.m. – Final, ABC

Rich,  Manager  MTSA
Follow us on Facebook and Twitter:   MTSAPREMIER

US World Cup TV Schedule

US Games:


Monday June 16 — 5:30 p.m. (ET) – Ghana vs. United States, ESPN

Sunday June 22 — 5:30 p.m. (ET) – United States vs. Portugal, ESPN

Thursday June 26 — 11:30 a.m. (ET) – United States vs. Germany, ESPN




Complete World Cup Television Schedule (Eastern Time)

5 simple steps to develop Soccer Confidence

Every player needs confidence ti play at their best.  Follow these simple steps to develop your own

1)  Practice on you own.  Better ball skills and conditioning will make you feel better about yourself

2) Have Game IQ – understanding the game will put yoiu in winning positions

3)   Prep for the game:   Go through moves and situations mentally before the game.   Seeing it in your mind first will allow you to be ready in the game.  Find a quite place or listen to music and block out the distractions

4)   Practice correct:   Practice with intensity and focus.   Smooth out and work on the mistakes so you will be ready in the game

5)  Strike a Pose:  Do something 2 minutes before the game to click it into gear.   Lebron James does this with the powder.  All American football players strike a pose of strength or something during intro.   Find a pose that will Social psychologist have  revealed that adopting a Power Pose for as little as two minutes can improve our brain chemistry and increase our chances of performing well in stressful situations

Training for the Mental side of Soccer

One of the most important things you can do to improve your soccer performance is to train the mental side of soccer.

Making it as a college athlete requires significant mental toughness. College soccer players have it and college coaches require it. Before your junior year of HS you should have these 5 skills:

  1. Can you do a centering breath?
  2. Have you set your goals for this year?
  3. What is your pre-game power-pose?
  4. What triggers do you use?
  5. What is your visualization routine?

1)  Centering during sports is critical to stay focused and avoid distractions. It helps an athlete stay in the moment and release past and future thoughts, worries and plans.  Sports psychologists recommend centering techniques to reduce anxiety and stress. These techniques allow athletes to pay attention to their body and breathing, redirecting their focus from the negative or anxiety-causing event to the present task.

Centering Techniques The first aspect of centering involves focusing on the rate of breathing and maintaining a slow, steady pace. Breathe in through the nose, and feel the air fill your lungs. Exhale through your mouth. It may help to have a key word (mantra) to repeat that helps you refocus on what you want to do. For example, ‘relax,’ or ‘steady.’  Practice —  To do this automatically when you need it (during the stress of competition or training), you must practice it often. Use your training sessions to try various centering techniques and find the best one for you. Refocus and get ‘centered’ at every break, rest period or when there is a pause in the action. This process aims to keep you in the present, help you drop any baggage you carry about performance anxiety, expectations, or ‘what-ifs.’ If you develop an automatic relaxation response, it will change how you feel about what you are doing. Then, you will have less stress, enjoy performing and as a result, have more success.

2)  Goal Setting:  Set goals for everything – practice, workouts, games, season, etc.

  • Set Specific Goals. Research shows that specific goals are the most motivating. A specific goal is to reduce your 5K time by 30 seconds within 6 months. Many people just say they want to get faster. This goal is far too general to really motivate you in your training.
  • Set Measurable Goals. Simply saying that you want to get faster is not enough detail. You need to be able to chart and document progress toward your goal. One way to measure your progress is to document your performance at set intervals. In the above example you may want to time your 5K performance once a month so you have a good measurement.
  • Set Adjustable Goals. This means your goals are flexible enough to accommodate unexpected challenges without becoming obsolete. An injury may force your to modify your goal. If you goal is too run a certain marathon and you are injured, you may need to change your goal to do the half marathon, or some other event. An injury doesn’t need to mean you abandon all your plans. At the same time, you may find you are progressing quickly and need to raise your goal.
  • This is specific and time-based. Without a time line there is a tendency to procrastinate or get bored. You may also need to set interim goals with shorter timelines to keep you on track. Consider the previous example of working up to a marathon by completing shorter distances first. each of those because a separate goal with a shorter timeline. In general, goals that stretch out beyond 6 months are too long to keep you interested and motivated. Try to re-evaluate your goals every 2-3 months.

3)  POWER Pose:   standing in a bathroom stall like Wonder Woman before a stressful meeting — has the potential to substantially improve women’s ability to lean in – to take risks, face fears and barriers, and to endure the stressors inherent to the kinds of changes Sandberg recommends.  It turns out these two hormones, testosterone and cortisol, are very touchy, sensitive to social and physical cues and fluctuating a great deal over the course of a single day. As Sandberg mentioned in her book, our research shows that people can change their own hormone levels and behaviors, by “faking it” — by “power posing,” or adopting expansive, open nonverbal postures that are strongly associated with power and dominance across the animal kingdom (imagine standing with hands on hips and feet spread, like Wonder Woman). By holding these postures for just two minutes before entering a high-stress situation, people (both men and women) can increase their testosterone by about 20% and decrease their cortisol by about 25% (Want to do the opposite to your hormones?

4)  Triggers:   Triggers can be certain words or phrases that call up specific images of performing  a skill well. Triggers are often associated with a strong emotion. For example, “explode” may be a   trigger for increasing your speed with the ball or “angle” for improving your defensive position.  Certain words can help you regain or sharpen your focus. You need to find what works for you. For example, “Keep your body over the ball”, “Shield the ball”, “Know your mark”, or “See the field” can act as cues.

5)  Visualization:  Many elite athletes routinely use visualization techniques as part of training and competition. There are many stories of athletes who’ve used these techniques to cultivate not only a competitive edge, but also to create renewed mental awareness, a heightened sense of well-being and confidence. All of these factors have been shown to contribute to an athlete’s sports success. Visualization has also been called guided imagery, mental rehearsal, mediation, and a variety of other things — no matter the term, the basic techniques and concepts are the same. Generally speaking, visualization is the process of creating a mental image or intention of what you want to happen or feel. An athlete can use this technique to ‘intend’ an outcome of a race or training session, or simply to rest in a relaxed feeling of calm and well-being. By imagining a scene, complete with images of a previous best performance or a future desired outcome, the athlete is instructed to simply ‘step into’ that feeling. While imagining these scenarios, the athlete should try to imagine the detail and the way it feels to perform in the desired way. These scenarios can include any of the senses. They can be visual (images and pictures), kinesthetic (how the body feels), or auditory (the roar of the crowd). Using the mind, an athlete can call up these images over and over, enhancing the skill through repetition or rehearsal, similar to physical practice. With mental rehearsal, minds and bodies become trained to actually perform the skill imagined.


MTSA is training thier  physical and mental bodies with Trainor Enterprise.     Hook up with Matt for a a total body and soul workout.

The Nine Mental Skills of Successful Athletes

The Nine Mental Skills of Successful Athletes

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