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Eintracht Frankfurt Style asymmetrical 3-4-2-1

Important note about the download

The file you can find here is just the current version of the tactics. Updates for the tactics can be found in the always updated folder

Today we are taking a look at Eintracht Frankfurt, last season's Europe League winner that is turning heads all across Europe.
Eintracht Frankfurt already used the 3-4-2-1 formation with success under former coach Adi Hütter but Oliver Glasner transformed the pretty one sided tactics into a fluid system that switches between 3-4-2-1, 3-4-1-2 and 3-4-3, making Frankfurt less predictable but more adaptable to the opponents formation.

In defense, instead of pressing the opposing players on their own goalline, we want to keep a tight defensive shape without sitting to deep and letting the opponent pushing us in. We want to let our opponent to come into our own half and then win the ball back so we can counter in open spaces against our pushed up opponent.
The way to archive that is with a mid block, a standard defensive line that steps up more and much more pressing triggers.

In offense we are going for a similar approach. We don't want to get the ball forward as fast as possible, pushing the opponents in and ending up with 30 shots and a total xG of 1.5. We are going to pass the ball around in our own half, forcing the opponent to press and then play vertical into open spaces to end the game with an xG per shot of 0.15 or higher.
Balanced or positive mentality with slightly lower to slightly higher tempo and Play out of Defense to keep possession of the ball in our half in combination with early crosses and supporting players that like to play through balls to get the ball forward quickly as soon as spaces are open.

On players and roles:

Central Defenders

The central defender should consistently secure and not run into opposing players, which can otherwise lead to a large hole in the center. Therefore, the central defender should have lower aggression and the PPM "stays back at all times" is also an advantage. Since the player must be able to run off through balls, good attributes in speed are also important here.
For the outside central defenders it is the other way around. The players should press opponents in their offensive (half) spaces and challenge them as early as possible before they can play passes to their attacking partners. Therefore, good attributes in aggression and bravery are important. A certain speed is an advantage, but aggression is more important.
Since these players are very important for our build-up play and should have good playmaking skills, it's a good idea to retrain natural DMs for the CB position. They are usually quite aggressive, have good passing skills and sufficient defensive skills. Not to be underestimated is that these players usually have good dribbling and agility compared to natural central defenders. Both attributes reduce the chance of losing the ball in the build-up and agility is also important defensively against the oppenents offensive outside players.
The only PPM that should be learned to all center backs is "stays back at all times". Other PPMs such as "plays simple/long passes", "stays on his feet" et cetera are very dependent on the individual player and should be used to further highlight the strengths of the individual player and minimize weaknesses.


The wingbacks have to cover the outside lanes almost alone and also put pressure on the opposing fullbacks/wingbacks sometimes. Accordingly, they have to run a lot and often sprint. Without the appropriate stamina and natural fitness, you will have problems, especially if you have several english weeks in a row. A high level of aggression is an advantage so that they can handle their pressing tasks, but it is not necessarily a must. The wingbacks have to be able to run a lot and make good crosses as well as playing through balls.

Useful PPMs:

- gets forward whenever possible
- crosses early
- plays one-twos
- likes to switch ball to wide areas
- knocks ball past opponent
- runs with ball down right/left
- hugs line

Since the defensive tasks of the wing defenders consist mainly of early pressing and they act offensively like ordinary wingers, you can also retrain natural attacking wingers as well as attacking midfielders for the role. In one of my saves Isak Bergmann Johannesson plays the left side and the guy is an absolute machine. And generally with the positions you have the impression that in the design team of SI is at least one Filip Kostic fanboy ;D
Also natural DMs or CMs do very well in the positions and over the years I've used all kinds of players there. Andrea Pinamonti (FM 17), Brenden Aaronson and Yehor Yarmoliuk (FM 22) and in FM 23 with Eintracht of course Eric Dina Ebimbe, Ansgar Knauff and Faride Alidou. If you are looking for a very good left wingback you should have a look at Koba Lein.
The advantage of this is that natural wingbacks have the smallest pool of players and are accordingly expensive, while natural midfielders and attacking players with matching attributes are a dime a dozen. CMs/AMs with similar attributes and potential can therefore often be obtained for a fraction of the transfer fee that a natural wingback would cost. And after retraining, you have a player who can not only play on the defensive wing, but is also an option for the offense and/or central midfield in case of injury.

Central Midfield

Here the requirements for the players do not differ from other tactics. The players should be good with the ball and defensively at least solid. Since ball losses in the center can be deadly, special attention should be paid to first touch and agility so that the ball doesn't jump 2 meters off the players' feet and they can break away from the pressing.

Useful PPMs:

- tries killer balls often
- likes to switch ball to wide areas
- dictates tempo
- comes deep to get ball

are the 4 standard PPMs and depending on the player you can supplement that with other PPMs like "curls ball" etc. For the BBM you can also think about "gets forward whenever possible".
With DLP-D there is one thing to consider that is not fundamental but can be advantageous. Hardcoded, the DLP-D will unfortunately drop back first after losing the ball to protect against through balls instead of immediately pressuring ball receivers in front of him. You can mitigate this a bit by making sure that the players has higher attributes in aggression, anticipation and bravery. This way, the player drops a little less and comes back into the pressing more quickly.

Central Striker

The end of the line for most attacks, both positive and negative. So that it goes rather in the positive direction and in the tactics more often through balls are played the striker must be fast above all. As fast and quick as possible! For this, the striker in the tactics but does not have to be particularly strong and / or good at headers. A Haaland works in the tactics just like a Rafael Borre or Ali Akman.
Fast, quick, good movements without the ball and a decent ball handling are the most important qualities that a striker must have.

Useful PPMs:

- tries to beat offside trap
- goes forward whenever possible
- moves into channels
- runs with ball through centre (with good attributes in dribbling and technique)
- plays one-twos
- places shots/shoots with power (depending on the player)
- likes to round/lob (depending on the player)

Offensive Half Space Players

The task of both players is to create chances and spaces for the striker as well as to provide a scoring threat themselves when they combine "normally" into the opponent's penalty area. Pace and acceleration are not as important as good attributes in off the ball as well as technical and playmaking attributes such as technique, passing, first touch, vision, etc. For the position of the half-right striker, a retrained CAM is just as suitable as a playmaking striker can also play the position of the shadow striker.
You might think that the two players behave like slightly closer Inside Forwards and therefore their strong foot should be inside but exactly the opposite is the case. The two players are rather wingers who advance from a more central basic position into the offensive (half)spaces to hit crosses or to play through balls. Therefore it is an advantage if the players have their strong foot on the outside so that you don't constantly see what you know from the IF. Namely that the player goes from the outside into the penalty area, stops and turns to play a flat pass with his strong foot into the back area. We want early passes to the striker and no back passes to the, comparatively late, following CMs.

Useful PPMs:

- moves into channels
- plays one-twos
- plays through balls
- comes deep to get ball (important for a better connection to the midfield)
- likes to switch ball to wide areas
- tries tricks
Unlearn the PPM "tries to beat offside traps". The PPM does exactly the opposite of "comes deep to get ball" and leads to a worse connection to the midfield.

Fell free to ask if you have any questions.

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