Leipzig under Julien Nagelsmann is currently one of the most complex and fluid tactical sides. Instead of following a definite system, Nagelsmann focuses more on the players’ attributes and their coordination with each other. His side is compatible with both possession-based style and direct counter-attacking. He broadly follows two types of system, depending upon the opposition.

A three-man backline system and a four-man backline system. Overview of both the system follows. The team can switch between the two systems, depending on the opponents that they are playing.

The transitional play is also quite smooth. The link-up between the defence and attack via the midfield enables this. It is always a treat to watch. However, they are not always the victors, as there are tactics to counter this style of play too.

RB Leipzig coach Julian Nagelsmann confident of keeping Angelino
Three-Man Backline:  In this case, his team mainly lines up in 3-1-4-2 formation with Poulsen and Warner upfront. The two wingbacks Halstenberg and Klostermann.

Four-Man Backline: The four-man backline is used with 4-4-2 formation which often modified into 4-2-3-1. Here Halstenberg and Klostermann become two full-backs. Warner and Sabitzer become two wide wingers, Fosberg the playmaker and Poulsen the target man.

Though RB Leipzig uses different formation the basic idea of the team remains the same. They have the best transition in the league and can really make changes to the formational play on a consistent basis. This makes them uniquely different from any other team in the continent.

How The Team Reacts In Different Scenarios Under Nagelsmann?


With Possession

With possession Leipzig attacks in a 3-2-5 formation. They use Poulsen as a target man which is very rare for a possession-based team. Their midfielders and defenders escape the first line of the press by playing the ball towards Poulsen who lays off in the path of Warner or Sabitzer. They thereafter play the ball towards their wingers Fosberg (In case of four-man backline system)/ Halstenberg (In case of three-man Backline system) or Klostermann. The wingers put low crosses or dribble inside to pass or shoot, thus creating a goal-scoring chance. They mainly focus on one-touch passing and quick transitions to escape opponent pressure.

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Without Possession

Without possession, Leipzig uses a narrow 5-3-2 or most precisely 5-3-2-0 structure. Instead of pressing the opponents’ CBs, their forwards press opponent full-backs and advancing midfielders cover shadow opponent’s defensive midfielders thus forcing the opponent to go long. Their main onus is to push the opponent into their flanks and create an advantageous position in the flanks with the help of touchline. They also let the opponent CBs to move further up the pitch so that their speedy centre forwards can exploit space left behind.

There is no definite shape or tactics of Nagelsmann’s team, as the tactic is very dynamic in itself. They use the different formations in different phases of the game, which forces the opponents to be on their toes.

This is what makes Julien Nagelsmann one of the most impressive managers in current world football. Due to this, Leipzig one of the most tactical side in the current footballing world.