Super Eagles head coach, Gernot Rohr has likened his team’s tactics and formation to that of Bayern Munich. Rohr drew parallels between Nigeria and the German giants in a virtual question and answer interview on Elegbete TV.
The German tactician referred to the 4-2-3-1 system that he relied on for most of his time in charge of the Nigerian team.
“Our main organisation -the players are used to it- is 4-2-3-1, Bayern Munich for me is one of the best teams in the world. They play always 4-2-3-1, they never change” Rohr said while defending himself against claims of tactical rigidity.
While it’s refreshing to know that Gernot Rohr is trying to model the Super Eagles after a successful team like Bayern Munich, it does raise a few questions.
Such as ‘how come Nigeria doesn’t play as well as Bayern Munich?’ Granted, the quality in players is a big reason for that but there has to be some similarity in the style of play, which simply doesn’t exist.
Super Eagles’ 4-2-3-1 vs Bayern Munich’s
While Rohr is right about the organisation of the Super Eagles being similar to Bayern’s, he’s wrong about everything else. The major difference between both systems is in their respective methods of progressing the ball.
Nigeria’s gameplay is built around the wingers, the ball moves from defence out wide where the burden to create is on them. Bayern on the other hand has so many different channels of progressing the ball. The ball also ends up on the wing more often than not, but at the end of the attack, not the start.
Nigeria needs their inverted wingers such as Alex Iwobi and Samuel Chukwueze to start a move in the attack. Whereas the likes of Serge Gnabry and Leroy Sane are tasked with clever running after which they’ll be found in dangerous positions to either score themselves or tee up Robert Lewandowski.
How Gernot Rohr misuses the wingers
As we’ve established, although both Bayern Munich and Nigeria play 4-2-3-1, the former uses inside forwards while the latter uses inverted wingers.
Inside forwards are wingers that make sideways runs into the opposition box, often (but not exclusively) without the ball. While inverted wingers hog the touchline until they receive the ball and then cut in on their favourite foot.
Nigeria, fortunately, has both sets of wingers but rather unfortunately, Gernot Rohr has failed to maximise them as Bayern have.
Everybody knows if you play inverted wingers/inside forwards, you have to pair them with attacking full-backs, everybody but Rohr. Gernot Rohr’s insistence on playing Jamilu Collins (a defensive left full-back) is proof of the tactical ineptitude he’s always been accused of.
It is also why the Super Eagles struggle to create much or play free-flowing football. Because while the wingers are inverting, there is no overlapping runner to take advantage of the space created.
In conclusion, if Gernot Rohr has to improve tactically if he’s serious about building a formidable team like Bayern. Take the creative burden off the wingers and watch more channels open up for the centre forward, Victor Osimhen.