We have dug out our white board to explain the most commonly used formations in football so that you can sound like a tactical mastermind. Trying to figure out what a 'holding midfielder' actually holds (if anything)? Don't know a 'flat back four' from a 'three at the back'? Been wondering what a 'wing-back' is and were too afraid to ask?
Don't worry, bundesliga.com has all the answers for you.
Best Bundesliga example:Bayern Munich
The 4-2-3-1 has become a standard formation not just in Germany, but at elite-level football clubs the world over. Surely the most striking Bundesliga example of recent years was Jupp Heynckes' all-conquering side of 2012/13, who swept aside allcomers to win a historic treble.
Inverted wingers Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery caused havoc out wide – ably assisted by full-backs Philipp Lahm and David Alaba – and scored no fewer than 24 goals between them in all competitions. Heynckes had three effective strikers at his disposal: Mario Mandzukic (22 goals), Mario Gomez (19) and Claudio Pizarro (13), while versatile forward Thomas Müller outdid them all from a No.10 position or further out wide (23).
Watch: Bayern Munich, treble winners 2012/13
Toni Kroos was the outstanding creative player in midfield, and Bastian Schweinsteiger, Javi Martinez and Luiz Gustavo took it in turns mopping up in front of the defence as the Bavarians conceded just 18 goals in 34 games, storming to the Bundesliga crown by 25 points and going on to triumph in the UEFA Champions League and DFB Cup.
Best Bundesliga example:RB Leipzig
With shades of Wolfsburg's full-throttle title winners of 2009, Leipzig burst onto the Bundesliga scene in 2016/17, employing football's most timeless formation to devastating effect on their way to second place – not bad for a maiden top-flight campaign! Ralph Hasenhüttl's side were able to rely on the lightning-quick pace of forward Timo Werner, who notched no fewer than 21 goals in the Bundesliga.
Effective through the middle in Stindl's injury-enforced absence, Plea's switch to the left did not blunt the side's cutting edge with Gladbach registering more than two goals a game on average in the first 11 matches of the 2018/19 season.
Jonas Hofmann and Florian Neuhaus plough forward to create an overwhelming attacking force while full-backs Michael Lang and Oscar Wendt provide width and options going forward in addition to their 'day jobs' at the back. In front of the defence, Tobias Strobl has excelled in snuffing out the danger, and goalkeeper Yann Sommer has stopped virtually everything thrown at him.
Best Bundesliga example:Hoffenheim
The Sinsheim outfit have perfected the system that took them to a best-ever third-place finish in 2017/18. Captain Kevin Vogt, at the heart of the back three, was key with his positioning and ability to play the ball out of defence crucial to the side with and without the ball. While Kevin Akpoguma, Havard Nordtveit, Benjamin Hübner and Ermin Bicakcic provided sturdy options for Nagelsmann alongside Vogt, Pavel Kaderabek and Nico Schulz revelled in the wing-back role that gave them just as much licence to spring forward as demanded of them to get back and defend when the ball was lost.
The support at both ends of the pitch from wide positions provided by Filip Kostic and Danny Da Costa was invaluable with Gelson Fernandes and Jonathan de Guzman solid in central midfield — affording the back three a shield — as well as possessing more than sufficient ability to use the ball efficiently and effectively.
The use of Makoto Hasebe, a hardworking midfielder by trade, as one of the three defenders upgraded distribution from the back with the likes of David Abraham and Evan N'Dicka an able supporting cast while Kevin Trapp was a reliable last line of defence.