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IN PEP GUARDIOLA’S BAYERN MUNICH’ tag=’h1′ style=’blockquote modern-quote modern-centered’ size=” subheading_active=” subheading_size=’15’ padding=’10’ color=’custom-color-heading’ custom_font=’#ffffff’][/av_heading]

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Author:  Joao Nuno Fonseca

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Pep Guardiola has the capability of valuing and recognising his players’ strong points and making this result in a tremendous interaction.

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Any coach cannot imagine how to organise a team offensively without realising who and what they have at their disposal for doing it.

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In this same way coaches cannot propose structural and functional changes without taking into consideration that a player might not comply with the adaptive functions and only taking into consideration that they might change and transform situations.

Pep Guardiola manages to transfer all of this into positional play that is based on the recognition of positional references, whilst constantly maintaining structures that make orderly processes possible, according to an already existing potential.

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With the excellent help of Wyscout, it appears clear how the offensive set-up of Guardiola’s Bayern Munich creates a temporary spatial advantage that is sufficient for the progression with the ball to allow for the appearance of players that are free and not marked by opposing players.

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The image below shows how the team positions itself at different levels and axes, with the wingers Douglas Costa and Ribery with the greatest width, which is going to allow for different lines of attack
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The incorporation of Lahm in spaces on the inside allows for spaces to appear on the outside (Douglas Costa) for diagonal movements.
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Despite Benfica’s short backline, whilst at times they weren’t capable of dealing with the ability of Douglas Costa and Ribery who were open in great width on the pitch, this allowed elusiveness for Benfica’s wingers, creating dangerous incoming situations in the last third.
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Another of the times in which it is possible to see the ideas of Guardiola’s positional play is in the last third where there is a provocation for penetrating passes (Thiago Alcântara) into the space and which later guarantees the forming of different open spaces for shots at goal and at the same time cohesiveness of the backline
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The general foundation is: organise whilst we look to disorganise the opposing team.

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How is this applied? The words “Set, unmark and pass” are certainly intrinsically in the mind of any player of Pep Guardiola’s Bayern. The driving/progression/retention of the ball attracts the attention and the presence of opposing players whilst generating spaces that facilitate the movement of the backline offensively.
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With the illustration of this moment of play, the importance is seen of keeping the players on their backs on the different lines of pressure or on their opposite side, whilst always having 2 to 3 gaps for passing available.

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In this second leg game of the quarter-finals, there was concern with preparing for the direct play that occurred through Ederson.

Guardiola actually ended up saying: “Ederson made many long passes and we had to defend very far back, causing us some problems in the second half.”

He analysed and prepared this moment of play in the best way with Javi Martínez, who was high in stature, having a very important role in the winning of the first ball, when Ederson executed the goal-kick, clearly seeing that Thiago Alcântara and Ribery were also attentive to the importance of winning the second ball and subsequent vertical breaking movements.
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With each game that goes by it is possible to see how Bayern Munich players have clearly expressed the strategy of Pep Guardiola, a born-thinker that managed to create situations that were favourable to the constraints that Benfica presented him. Guardiola found a common path and he made the most of his players, maximising their abilities and above all allowing the team to be as competent as possible throughout the game.
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Joao Nuno Fonseca
Senior Football Match Analyst

Joao Nuno Fonseca hold an MSc in Sports Training with specialisation in Football under the guidance of the Professor Jose Guilherme. Start his professional career during University in Academica de Coimbra – 1st Division Portugal, as match analyst for the historical club. Won the Portuguese Cup in 2012 against Sporting Lisbon. Currently is Senior Football Match Analyst for ASPIRE Academy in Doha – Qatar and U19 Qatar National Team.

www.joaonunofonseca.com

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