Tactical Periodisation in FM22: The Beginning

Welcome back to this Tactical Periodisation experiment with FC Augsburg in FM22. In the previous post in this series I explained what Tactical Periodisation is and how it came be used in football, here I will explain how I am going to implement this within the games obvious limitations. The key to TP is that tactics are at the heart of everything. So by creating specific training schedules based around the Game Model (how I want my Augsburg team to play) and placing every player on an individual training schedule in the role they are going to play, lets see if its possible to get as close to tactical periodisation as we can.

As this methodology is about using training to improve a players tactical intelligence to help them make the right decisions in game situations, the most obvious place to start is; what FM attributes make up ‘tactical intelligence’? This is what I have come up with and these are the attributes we will be aiming to improve by our training schedules:

The FC Augsburg Game Model:

How to implement this within the Four Moments of the Game… (I wrote about the four moments of the game in the previous blog) but here it is again…

Four Moments of the Game…this is quite simply the idea that a football match consists of four moments; AttackingMoment: this moment is when the team has possession of the ball and their opponent is holding their defensive shape. The Attacking Moment lasts until the team in possession loses the ball. Transition From Attack to Defence: This moment begins when possession is lost and the team is not in their defensive structure meaning their opponents may launch a counter-attack. This moment ends when the team enters their defensive shape. Defensive Moment: This moment is when the team is in their defensive structure while not in possession of the ball. Transition From Defence to Attack: This moment begins when the team regains possession of the ball and their opponent is not yet in their defensive shape, in this moment the team in possession has the choice to launch a counter-attack, or maintain possession and enter the Attacking Moment.

How to follow the FC Augsburg game model within the four moments of the game:

The formation and tactical instructions to implement the game model:

We have a typical back four with Iago as a Wing Back on Support meaning he is still able to push forward and help the attack but is equally able to get back into our defensive shape quickly. As a Wing Back, this is where our width will come from. Caligiuri is our Full Back on Attack, sitting more narrow to cut out opposition passes in transition and he is more likely to be ready to get forward to launch a counter attack. Reece Oxford is the Half Back who will drop back to form our back 3 when we attack. Hahn as a Raumdeuter has the freedom to roam and find pockets of space that have been created by Pepi, our Advanced Forward who works the channels, dragging defenders with him, leaving gaps to be exploited.

Here is my FM22 FC Augsburg Squad: (My signings are in bold)

Goalkeepers: Rafal Gikiewicz, Tomas Koubek, Daniel Klein.

Defenders: Robert Gummy, Mads Valentin, Reece Oxford, Felix Uduokhai, Daniel Caligiuri, Tanguy Nianzou, Frederik Winther, Raphael Framberger, Amos Piper, Iago.

Midfielders: Tobias Strobl, Carlos Gruezo, Arne Maier, Jan Moravek, Fredrik Jensen, Niklas Dorsch.

Forwards: Ricardo Pepi, Ruben Vargas, Alfred Finnbogason, Andre Hahn, Andi Zeqiri, Noah Sarenren Bazee, Michael Gregoritsch, Florian Niederlechner.

Key Players:

So this is what a typical Tactical Periodisation looks like…

How can this be implemented in Football Manager?

I have created five training schedules for us to use, two for match day on Sundays, two for match day Saturdays and one for a two game week. I have tired to stick to the above plan, so the day after a game will be complete rest, the following day will be a recovery day and then the weeks training will begin with a strength day, an endurance day, a speed day and then a specific pre match session. Our tactical intelligence attributes need to always be at the focus point of these sessions though, so we improve individual players via the team’s methodology. The most difficult training day to create was the speed day, there is not a specific speed training session (that doesn’t involve specific fitness training) within FM so I had to adapt and also incorporate a couple of other training sessions.

Below I have highlighted a few specific sessions to show how they stay within our tactical framework: based on the game model…

This is the physical session on Wednesday which is our selected strength training day. As I have highlighted this session will impact in a players strength and stamina while also training other fitness components such as pace, agility and balance making it a well rounded session rather than a specific focused gym session.

This is what a month looks like with our training schedules. Depending on the opponent I may make some modifications, for example when we are playing against Bayern we will likely focus solely on defence and maintaining our defensive shape. Whereas against the likes of Wolfsburg and Hertha we can be much more attacking and look to push on, as per the Sub Principles of the game model. The Main Principles being the things that will never change, as in our core sessions that train our specific game model, the Sub Principles are the specific unit training that takes place, geared towards the upcoming match while the Sub Sub Principles in FM’s case has to be the specific individual training a player is on. In terms of the Scales of the Team, we can see that the ‘Team’ sessions are representative of the Collective, the Inter-Sectoral is covered in the transition sessions while the Sectoral sessions are the specific unit sessions in FM. We also have Individual training so the only thing we are missing is Group sessions which is specific players from different sectors who work close together such as DM working with CBs.

After three months of implementing these training schedules, here are a few selected players and their development. Even after a short time the players are already showing an improvement, Pepi in particular is really benefiting from this specific focus.

Ricardo Pepi’s development can be seen here in more detail:

Player Focus: Caligiuri (RB) has become a very important player for us, these 3 clips show how his crossing ability, anticipation, positioning and ability to run with the ball have proved to be one of our most useful attacking outlets. Playing as a Full Back on Attack duty, he sits slightly narrower that Iago who is a Wing Back on the left. This means he is on hand to cut out passes when we lose possession and our opponents are trying to launch a counter attack (as seen in the third video).

Here we see a throw in being taken, Caligiuri receives the ball back and hits a first time cross into the boss where Vargas, the Inverted Winger has made a good run and is able to apply the finish.
Once again see play being focused down the right wing with Caligiuri driving past the defenders and crossing to the far post where the Inverted Winger is waiting to head it in.

This time we see Caligiuri use good positioning to anticipate where and when the ball will be played and make an interception. Then he makes a good decision to pass the ball forward to Hahn, immediately switching us from defensive transition into a counter attack.

Focusing on our attacking moments in this post, here is a great snapshot of our 3-4-3 going forward:

Play being focused down the wings as per the game model:

Results so far:

So where are we in the league?

Is it possible to create Tactical Periodisation schedules in FM? Yes, within the games limitations, because it’s a game, obviously. But it is possible to get close to TP, creating training schedules that focus on a methodology, with specific principles in mind that will help create a specific way of playing.

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