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Back to the 4-2-3-1: Thomas Tuchel, Thomas Müller, and Joshua Kimmich explain Bayern’s formation vs. Borussia Dortmund

In his debut game as head coach of Bayern Munich, Thomas Tuchel lined up the team in the classic formation in which it has played for years.

FC Bayern München v Borussia Dortmund - Bundesliga Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

After Bayern Munich dismantled and dominated Borussia Dortmund, at one point leading 4-0, before I conceding two second-half goals, Thomas Tuchel explained his decision to line up the team in a formation that is undoubtedly familiar to both the players and fans: a classic 4-2-3-1, with Thomas Müller at the heart of the offense.

Tuchel said after the game (via @iMiaSanMia), “I had a lot of conversations with the players, but not about the formation. Our idea was to put the players in the positions where we think they’re comfortable. The acceptance was definitely there.”

Thomas Müller echoed that same sentiment in his own post-game remarks.

️ Thomas #Müller : “We prevailed in the top game. We need to listen carefully to the coach again in the one or two sessions he has. It’s about getting to know each other and details. He showed our clear positioning for this game. We felt comfortable.”

Central midfielder Joshua Kimmich also discussed the team’s formation (Tz):

“We actually didn’t want to make the game so wild and press higher, but we didn’t pull it off. We had to run back a few times. We have to control the game better, though, and get more quiet phases into the game. Every time after winning the ball, the space behind the defense always felt big. We played a somewhat different system today, 4-2-3-1. [Tuchel] did that well, he tried to find a system in which we could find our strengths on the pitch.”

Tuchel himself likewise emphasized the team’s need to calm the game, but he is confident that the players will become even more dominant. He said (via @iMiaSanMia), “We still have to find our rhythm and improve the automatisms, understand when to go forward, when to prepare an attack. Things were a bit hectic, but everything that a coach wants is definitely there, the quality is there. With time and rhythm, we’ll improve our dominance.”

Interested in a more in-depth look at the game? Curious about why Thomas Tuchel chose a 4-2-3-1? How did it differ from Nagelsmann’s Bayern? We talk about all that and more in our postgame podcast. Listen to it below or at this link.

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