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Julian Nagelsmann Possession Exercises

This week on the MSC Breakdown we take a look at one of our personal favorites when it comes to session design, Julian Nagelsmann. With so many resources outlets today, it is easy to get session ideas and information. What is more challenging however, is aligning your work on the training field with exactly how you want your team to play. The higher the level, the more detail this process involves because scouting, science and player profiling become much more prominent. When we study Nagelsmann's exercises, we see a remarkable detail in consistent pictures, but also a huge amount of variation in how he presents this. That variety can lead to engagement and also add a huge amount of energy to the session. We look at three exercises that include this, as well as the possession element of the game.

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If you would like the exercise details and dimensions, please find them below:

4v4v4 Transfer Game

  • 12 players split into three teams of four players

  • 25x10 yard area split into three zones (5 yard median)

  • Ball starts in either end zone

  • Two defenders can go and create a 4v2 while other two defenders screen the middle

  • After 5 passes, team in possession can transfer ball across

  • If defensive team win possession, roles switch and game continues

8v8+3 Game

  •  Players organized into two teams of eight players with three neutrals

  • 40x25 yard area with eight mini-goals

  • One team starts in possession and the other as defensive team

  • Possession team are looking to use the neutrals as an overload and are awarded 1 point for every six consecutive passes

  • Defensive team are looking to high press and can score in any of the mini-goals when they win possession (for two points)

  • No defensive players are allowed in the center circle where the player (goalkeeper used by Nagelsmann) looks to change the point of attack

9v9+3 Game

  •  Players organized into two teams of nine players with three neutrals

  • 45x25 yard area split into three zones, with four mini-goals and two full sized goals

  • Three neutrals are limited to the central zone

  • Team in possession team are looking to use the neutrals as an overload and score in any of the mini-goals

  • After scoring in the mini-goals, the team immediately get a ball to try and score in the either of the full sized goals

  • If defensive team win the ball it simply resets the game and it continues

  • Scoring system: One point for a goal in the mini-goal and two points for a goal in the full sized goal

If you have any requests for future article topics, please send to Gary Curneen at

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