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Three at the back could add defensive stability

News that's automatically retrieved from the official FC Bayern Munich website.

Three at the back could add defensive stability

Postby FCBayernNews » Sat Jan 06, 2007 6:50 pm


Harmonious is not the first word that comes to mind to describe Bayern’s defensive play during the first half of the season. The champions managed only five clean sheets in their first 17 Bundesliga matches. “We must improve our stability at the back – we have let in too many goals,” said Felix Magath at Bayern’s training camp in Dubai. However, the coach has already drawn up a plan that he hopes will resolve the discord at the back: a three-man defensive line.

Magath is again thinking out loud about reshaping his defence from a back four to a trio. He had already considered this formation at the beginning of the season because of having three strong central defenders at his disposal in Daniel van Buyten, Lucio und Valérien Ismael. However, as early as August the idea had to be shelved after Ismael suffered a double fracture of the lower leg.

<B>Waiting for Ismael</B>

However, Ismael is now on the point of returning to training with the first-team squad, and Magath will soon be able to test out his concept in practice. “When Ismael is fit again we will try it out,” he said in an interview with <B></B>. “This is certainly one possible option.”

“I would enjoy playing in a back line of three,” Ismael said after learning of his coach’s plans. The Frenchman is convinced that this formation will produce greater defensive stability. Explaining the advantages of a three-man over a four-man defence, he pointed out: “If one of us goes forward, two stay back, and it lets Willy Sagnol and Philipp Lahm put more pressure on the opposition.”

<B>More attacking options on the field</B>

Van Buyten also believes that the three-man defensive formation is an option that should be considered in at least some matches. “It would enable us to increase the pressure on our opponents, because you have more attacking players on the field,” he told <b></B>.

The Belgian international would prefer the central role in a back line of three. “I feel more comfortable there,” he said. He has already played frequently in this formation with Olympique Marseille and Manchester City as a central defender, he said, “more as a libero”.

<B>A question of teamwork</B>

Van Buyten notes, however, that defensive stability is not only down to the defence. “The midfield has to be involved,” he said. “If one of us gets involved upfield, there has to be discipline in midfield. You can’t have everyone charging up front.” Teamwork is essential no matter how many defenders are in the back line.

<i>By Nikolaus Heindl for <b></B> in Dubai</i>
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