The first question you might ask is what sort of player you will need to recreate Lobanovsky’s system, or indeed any kind of “gegenpressing” tactic, work. Primarily you want players with as much Stamina, Workrate and Determination as possible. I’m looking for something in 14-16 range ideally. As long as they are gifted in that trio, they will run their hearts out in whatever system you employ. Although, it helps if you use fitting team instructions and roles to get the best out them (more on that later).
Stamina and Workrate are wasted if they are not backed up by important Secondary set of attributes such as Acceleration, Pace, Off the Ball Movement and Positioning. It always helps to have them as high as possible but not as important as the first three. For my purposes, 13-14 should be enough, with higher values welcome for the strikers, wingers and wingbacks.
Regarding offensive and defensive movement values, every player with exception of strikers needs to have good positioning. Even for the attacking wingers I would like at least average level of positioning. Most importantly, the wingbacks and midfielders will need to be the most well rounded players on my team, as they will be running the whole length of the field and will need to be comfortable in both attack and defense. Those four players will embody the engine-room of my tactic.
So keeping those general guidelines in mind, you will see why I got rather excited after examining Dynamo’s first 11. Almost all the players fit in perfectly into my mold. Here and there I will need to make them improve some key attributes but overall they should have good enough physical and mental attributes to work well in the most intense gegenpressing system.
In Artem Besedin we are gifted with one of the best young pressing forwards (former defensive forward role in FM2018) who still has good room to grow into a decent top league-level player. His stamina, workrate and determination are already excellent. So currently I’ll be training his off the ball movement, acceleration and pace as much as possible. Sub option: Sharapenko
Supporting Besedin from Advanced Midfield position (still undecided) is Buyalskyi, who is gifted with all the attributes I need from this role. A very well rounded player with outstanding balance and agility which I expect will make him into great Number 10 to Besedin. Although he is primarily a supporting link between attack and midfield, I also need this player to pose a threat with timely runs into the box especially when Besedin manages to get the ball back through his hard pressing work. His subs: Kalitvintsev, Andriyevskyi, Duelund, and Bueno.
Cutting in from the wings are the two main Inside Forwards that I will be using this season. At the start Tsygankov and Verbic look like somewhat similar players but upon closer examination some key differences emerge. While they are both build like dynamic, physical attacking wingers. Verbic has already reached most of his potential and as it stands will be used as more of a supporting left inside forward, while Tsygankov’s full potential will hopefully be unlocked in a more aggressive role on the right. His technical and physical attributes are already excellent for his age and with room to grow, he should be able to fill all my requirements. He also has one of the best personalities for an attacking player; perfectionist. Subs: Duelund, Bueno
What I like to call the “Engine Room” of the tactic. The dynamic duo of Garmash and Sydorchuk will be doing an immense amount of running, pressing and getting in on the goal hopefully, so naturally they have to be the prototypical “posterboys” of any pressing system. They are relatively fast determined selfless players with loads of stamina and exemplary workrate who are comfortable both in attack and defense. Both are very gifted in this sense and I could not have asked for better players. As added benefit, they are also the undisputed leaders of the team, Garmash being our captain and Sydorchuk his vice-captain. Subs: Shepelyev, Andriyevskyi and Tche Tche
The key attributes I look for in this pair, will be their great workrate, stamina, off the ball and positioning coupled to very good acceleration and pace. These will make them integral to our pressing and transition phase.
WBs: Tche Tche/Morozyuk and Pivaric/Sidcley – the dynamic fullback duo and their subs. These two players are going to be doing as much running as Garmash/Sydorchuk, if not more. My system will require them to cover both ends of their respective flanks in defense and offense, therefore its good that they are very well rounded hard-working players capable of playing on the wing as well as in the midfield. As a further note Tche Tche is an immensely versatile young player, who can sub in midfield and attacking wing position as well, which will no doubt come in handy later in season when injuries and fatigue set in.
CDs: Nothing special here, ideally I would like players comfortable playing with the ball and possessing fair bit of acceleration and pace since we will be playing with high defensive line. That seems to be the case with most of my defenders as their attributes do not go lower than 12 in the key areas. For most of the games I expect to be using a pairing of Burda and Kadar, as a younger and more experienced player pairing. Hopefully Kadar will be a good role model for Burda who has the potential to develop into one of our best defenders.
Guarding the gate are Boyko and the rookie Makhankov, as his understudy and possible future replacement. Both will be playing in Sweeper Keeper (Attack) role to offset the high defensive line. Boyko is not the best sweeper keeper around but is rather well rounded and more than competent enough for the general skill level of our league. In my opinion, a good sweeper keeper needs a specific attribute set in order to perform well and Boyko has most of those attributes covered. Technically, Boyko has more than decent Rushing Out, Command of Area and Eccentricity. His mentals are even better as he has the right combination of Aggression, Anticipation, Bravery, Decisions, Composure and Determination to help him venture out fearlessly outside of his box. Possible negative is Boyko’s low acceleration and pace which might lead him to getting caught in dangerous one on one situation. So depending on his performance in first few games, might start shopping for a replacement.
Next Part: So in the future article I will be discussing how I built my tactic around all these players. As you will see I will not actually be using Lobanovsky’s classic 4-4-2 formation but instead another formation, which I’ve been meaning to try out for a long time now. One which I feel is uniquely suited to the hard pressing style of play. We will also see how this formation fares in the first half of the seasons. For even though we may be among the top clubs in the nation, there are always bound to be surprises at home and in Europe. The board expects me to at least qualify for Champions League but I think this squad is strong enough to challenge Shakhtar Donetsk for the title. I hope you are as excited as me to see where this journey takes us.
Other articles you may enjoy: