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Bayern Munich bosses praise Julian Nagelsmann for tactical flexibility

Back three? Back four? Why not both?

FC Bayern München v FC Barcelona: Group D - UEFA Women’s Champions League Photo by T. Kieslich/FC Bayern via Getty Images

Julian Nagelsmann rolled out a surprising system — let’s call it a 3-1-4-2 — for Bayern Munich’s resurgent DFB-Pokal win over Mainz on Wednesday. Tactical flexibility is just one of the tools in the Bayern manager’s arsenal, and he received praise for it after the positive result.

“The coach always finds solutions. I was absolutely convinced that he would find them again now,” Bayern president Herbert Hainer raved afterwards (via @iMiaSanMia). “What he did (against Mainz) was very creative, it was exactly the right recipe.”

The question now is whether the change — enabled by the sudden arrival of Manchester City loanee João Cancelo at the very end of the January transfer window — could signal a longer-term shift in Bayern’s primary approach. Nagelsmann has only so far referred to it as an option, but one we might see again. Hainer seems to concur.

“Julian Nagelsmann will adapt his system to the respective opponent and the situation and will decide whether to play with a back three or four. That’s what makes us not easy to predict. We find answers to different systems,” Hainer concluded.

Interested in a more in-depth look at the match, including the formation/tactics deployed by Julian Nagelsmann, Joao Cancelo’s debut, and the amazing influence of Thomas Muller? Well, why not check out our postgame podcast? We talk about all that and more! Listen below or on Spotify.

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