Thomas Tuchel will manage in the Champions League final for a second consecutive season.
Having spearheaded Paris Saint-Germain’s charge last time out, Tuchel has hit the ground running at Stamford Bridge and given Chelsea a fantastic opportunity to win their second European crown.
The Blues really have undergone a spectacular turnaround under the former Borussia Dortmund coach with fans and pundits alike noting his attention to detail when it comes to tactics.
Chelsea 2-0 Real Madrid
And make no mistake that Chelsea are good money for their place in the final because they thoroughly deserved their semi-final victory across two hard-fought legs with Real Madrid.
In fact, their second leg victory in west London, which saw Timo Werner and Mason Mount find the net, was nothing short of a tactical masterclass and the final score of 2-0 really undersold their quality.
Besides, everyone from Edouard Mendy to N’Golo Kante was firing on all cylinders and that was in no small part thanks to Tuchel getting the better of Zinedine Zidane with his tactics.
Thomas Tuchel is the BEST manager in the world right now! (Football Terrace)
Tactical analysis of Tuchel’s masterpiece
But how exactly did he achieve just that? Well, it will always be impossible to know exactly what Tuchel was going for, but YouTuber ‘Football Made Simple’ brings us about as close as possible to working it out.
The fantastic content creator put Chelsea’s 2-0 win over Real under the microscope and broke down what they branded as ‘Tuchel’s Complete Domination of Zidane’.
Intrigued? Well, you can check out their full tactical video down below and keep scrolling for our abridged summaries of three key points of analysis that they pointed out afterwards.
1. Ineffectiveness of Real’s approach
Los Blancos constantly tried to play out from the back with their centre-backs, often causing Mount to push forward and form a front three, while Ben Chilwell would track the run of Vinicius Junior.
This might have worked better if Nacho and Eder Militao were more effective passers, but they struggled creatively just as they did in the first leg, begging the question: why didn’t Zidane change his approach?
And with Vinicius struggling out of position at wing-back, both Toni Kroos and Luka Modric dropped into the back-line at times, prompting a 2v2 in midfield that Jorginho and Kante simply dominated.
2. The discipline of Chelsea’s midfielders
Compared to Modric and Kroos, Jorginho and Kante kept their shape brilliantly in the midfield, allowing Rudiger, in particular, to bomb forward with the ball more effectively than Nacho could.
This, in turn, would drag one of Real’s midfielders onto the German defender who would proceed to repay the favour by passing to Kante and Jorginho who were rewarded for staying strong centrally.
Therefore, it’s no coincidence that two of Chelsea’s best performers were indeed their central midfielders with Kante going onto have a crucial role in both of the goals at Stamford Bridge.
3. Nullifying Real’s response
To combat this, Zidane pushed Modric higher to ensure Chelsea’s centre-backs were constantly pressed. However, this allowed either Mount or Kai Havertz to drop and cause a 3v2 in the midfield.
As a result, either one of Nacho or Militao would bomb forward to compensate, which often caused the Real centre-backs to fracture and allow the likes of Werner and Christian Pulisic to run clear.
And simply put, even when Real’s midfield three pushed further forward, their comparatively poor dynamism against Jorginho and Kante saw them overwhelmed and outworked in key moments.
So, all in all, Tuchel could celebrate getting the better of one of the greatest Champions League managers of all time and he might just get his hands on ‘Big Ears’ in a few weeks’ time to boot.