Bayern Munich defender Dayot Upamecano finally admitted what many people have been seeing this season: Julian Nagelsmann is playing a back-three.
(Give the anti-back three crowd time to clutch their pearls!)
In a recent interview with Goal France (as captured by Twitter account @iMiaSanMia), Upamecano talked about the formation and the flexibility of the system.
“The coach is reproducing a lot of his tactics from the Leipzig time at Bayern in a better way. So it was easier for me (to integrate),” Upamecano said. “We play mostly with three at the back under Julian, but the system varies a lot. With him, we can also adapt. It all depends on how the opponent is going to play.”
It has been obvious to many that Nagelsmann is rolling out a hybrid back-three set-up, but this seems like the first time one of his players acknowledged as much. Nagelsmann’s system calls for Alphonso Davies to operate as a wing-back on offense (then shift to more of a left-back on defense), which pushes Leroy Sane inside to be a part of a dual-attacking midfield combination with Thomas Müller. On the opposite side, the other wing player (typically Serge Gnabry) plays like a wing-back with lessened defensive responsibilities and more leeway way to float in centrally.
Surely, this is a complex set-up that has taken the players some time to get used to, but for the most part, Bayern Munich has done well with the alignment.