How to Play Like Jurgen Klopp’s Borussia Dortmund in FM 24

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The Boys of Borussia

Before winning the hearts of the Merseyside Reds, outgoing Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp was the ruler of the Rhineside. He spent seven magical years at Signal Iduna Park as the Borussia Dortmund manager and broke Bayern’s monopoly twice to claim the Bundesliga crown.

How did the charismatic German make the Yellow and Black so good during his tenure? We will take a look at his Borussia Dortmund tactics here and break down how to replicate this in FM 24.

Klopp’s Borussia Dortmund Tactics: A Brief Overview

Jurgen Klopp’s arrival at Borussia Dortmund in 2008 marked the beginning of an exciting new chapter for the club. While his now-famous, high-pressing, gegenpressing style wasn’t yet fully formed, he started to lay the foundation.

Klopp surprised some by adopting a more patient approach at first, preferring to sacrifice possession and hit opponents on the counter-attack with lightning-fast vertical thrusts.

This strategy wasn’t without merit. The squad at his disposal boasted an incredible amount of young talent, including future world-beaters like Robert Lewandowski, Ilkay Gundogan, Mario Gotze, and Marco Reus. Klopp deployed a flexible 4-4-1-1 formation, which morphed into a more attacking 4-2-3-1 when in possession. This tactical fluidity allowed his talented attackers to exploit space with devastating effect.

The Bundesliga has been historically dominated by Bayern Munich. Because of this, bookmakers in Germany were not overly optimistic about Klopp’s BVB’s title credentials, especially after witnessing Klopp’s early tactical pragmatism.

However, the former Mainz boss proved his critics wrong. Even though the number of online sports betting sites is growing rapidly with multiple different options available, Klopp defied the odds on all of them. He added two more league titles to Dortmund’s trophy cabinet, the first of which came in the 2010/11 season.

Klopp did not need much time to evolve his approach into a high-pressing, hard-to-beat system. His BVB was a joy to watch back then, so let’s find out how we can replicate this formation in FM 24.

Key To Playing Like Klopp’s BVB in FM 24

Here is what we are trying to achieve:

  • Directness and High Tempo: Passing will be short and snappy, prioritising rapid ball movement and swift attacks. The mantra of “no sideways passes” emphasised verticality and getting the ball forward quickly.
  • Compactness in Transition: Even during counter-attacks, players wouldn’t spread out too thin. They’d maintain a smaller playing area, ensuring close-range support for each other and making it difficult for the opposition to break up play.
  • Freedom for the Flair Players: Players like Kagawa, Reus, and Gotze were given creative license within the framework of the overall defensive strategy. Their individual brilliance was encouraged in Klopp’s system as long as it contributed to the attacking threat. Therefore, we want to give maximum freedom to our creative players.
  • Shooting on Sight: Klopp encouraged shots from all distances in central areas, maximising scoring opportunities whenever possible. We will try to recruit players with strong shooting attributes and exploit any potential opening at the opposition’s goal.
  • An Acceptance of Risk: Klopp’s philosophy acknowledged the likelihood of conceding goals, prioritising scoring more through sheer attacking force. This high-risk, high-reward approach often led to exciting, high-scoring matches. While we wouldn’t go for a full-on gung-ho approach, we need to set the mentality that we would have to outscore the opponent rather than grind out wins.

We went for a 4-2-3-1 that is best suited for Klopp’s peak BVB tactics. Here’s the breakdown:

Goalkeeper (GK):

  • Distribution: Distribute to Ball Playing Defender (BP) – This gets the ball out quickly and starts attacks from the back.

Wing-Backs (WB) Left & Right (L&R):

  • Support Duty (SUP): We want them pushing high up the pitch to provide width in attack.

Center-Backs (CB):

  • Ball Playing CB: Defending: Close Down Less – He’ll be more focused on playing out from the back and initiating attacks.
  • Limited CB (Stopper): Defending: Close Down Less, Pass Shorter – This guy sits deeper, focuses on stopping attacks, and keeps his passing simple to avoid turnovers.

Central Midfielders (CM):

  • Defensive Midfielder (Def): Tackle Harder: Provides some steel in the center and breaks up opposition attacks.
  • Roaming Playmaker (RPM): Instruction: Swap Positions with Attacking Midfielder (AM) – This creates a dynamic duo in central midfield, with the option for either to push forward and create chances. Mentality: More Direct – Speeds up the tempo of play in midfield.

Wingers (W) Left & Right (L&R):

  • Support Duty (SUP): Similar to the wing-backs, they’ll provide width and support the attack.

Inside Forward (IF):

  • Support Duty (SUP): Adding another attacking threat in the center of the pitch for a potent forward line.

Team Instructions

  • Overload
  • Highly Structure
  • Pass it shorter
  • Close down much more
  • Much higher line
  • Higher Tempo
  • Narrow
  • Shoot on site

Think you can play like Klopp’s Borussia Dortmund? Give it a go today!