Marco Rose’s Tactics for RB Leipzig: What’s Clicking, What Isn’t and Why Aren’t Leipzig Winning the Title?

February 14, 2024

by xfcedi

Marco Rose's Tactics for RB Leipzig

By Eduard Bănulescu

Marco Rose has confirmed initial suspicions that he was set to become another great German football manager. After a short stint in charge of Borussia Mönchengladbach and Dortmund, he has applied his distinctive tactics to the project being built by RB Leipzig.

RB Leipzig is one of the most intriguing teams to watch in European football. That is why we are looking back at Rose’s tactics and looking to predict what’s next for the East German club and for the much-praised manager.

Career Prior to Joining RB Leipzig

Marco Rose is a manager tipped for great things for quite a while and one whose tactics we’ve analyzed before. Like fellow German manager Jurgen Klopp, Rose spent most of his career playing in the lower divisions for Mainz 05.

As a manager, he rose through the ranks of the nouveau-rich Red Bull Salzburg, moving from the youth teams toward the senior squad. Salzburg became the toast of the town during the 2017-2019 period, helping promote players like Erling Haaland.

Rose was then handed jobs in the Bundesliga with Borussia Mönchengladbach, Borussia Dortmund, and, starting with 2022, the ambitious RB Leipzig, a team looking to break Bayern Munchen’s domination of the league.

Marco Rose's Tactics for RB Leipzig

Football Philosophy

Marco Rose’s tactical blueprint at RB Leipzig is a masterclass in blending traditional Red Bull dynamism with his own innovative nuances. Operating within the classic 4-2-2-2 formation, Rose champions a footballing ethos that is as vertical as it is vivacious, pushing for direct, lightning-fast transitions through the pitch’s thirds. This approach not only showcases his adeptness at molding his squad to fit the high-octane, counter-pressing style synonymous with Red Bull’s footballing identity but also highlights his tactical flexibility.

Rose’s Leipzig is a team that, despite undergoing significant player turnovers, has not just adapted but thrived, showcasing seamless integration of newcomers and a relentless pursuit of excellence on the pitch. His ability to foster a compact defense while unleashing a torrent of attacking prowess speaks volumes of a coaching philosophy that’s as meticulous as it is magnificent.

In the attacking corridors of the game, Rose’s Leipzig is a spectacle of strategic sophistication and flair. By architecting quick advancements upfield and fostering an environment where the front four are encouraged to interchange fluidly, Rose has cultivated a style that is both direct and dynamic. The emphasis on building from the back, utilizing diamond formations to break through opposition lines, and exploiting the half-spaces, underscores a nuanced understanding of spatial dynamics.

This strategic deployment, coupled with the recruitment of players who can carry the ball under pressure and excel in transitional moments, showcases Rose’s acumen in curating a squad that embodies his tactical ethos. Defensively, RB Leipzig under Rose is a fortress that marries aggression with astuteness, pressing high and compacting central channels, a testament to a philosophy that prioritizes control and quick recovery. Through Marco Rose’s lens, football is not just a game of goals but a ballet of brains and brawn, played at the razor’s edge of tactical innovation.

Formations and adaptability

Marco Rose has masterfully tailored RB Leipzig’s tactical fabric, weaving a 4-2-2-2 formation that marries Red Bull’s aggressive ethos with his own flair for innovation. This setup is Rose’s battlefield, where swift transitions and a compact, unyielding defense become the team’s sword and shield. It’s a dynamic formation that adapts on the fly, showcasing Leipzig’s ability to strike with precision and defend with grit. Rose’s tactical acumen transforms the 4-2-2-2 from mere numbers into a versatile and formidable force, proving his knack for blending foundational principles with a fresh strategic vision.

In Rose’s hands, Leipzig’s formation is both a fortress and a spearhead, emphasizing rapid forward play while maintaining a robust backline. The 4-2-2-2 allows for fluid attacking movements and a solid midfield foundation, reflecting Rose’s adeptness at creating a side that’s as cohesive in defense as it is lethal in attack. This approach highlights his skill in tuning Leipzig’s strategy to the match’s tempo, underlining a tactical versatility that keeps opponents guessing and fans cheering.

RB Leipzig in defence

Marco Rose’s RB Leipzig is a testament to the art of modern defense, a symphony of tactical discipline and aggressive pressing that transforms every inch of the pitch into a battleground. Under Rose’s strategic command, Leipzig orchestrates a high-octane defensive scheme, embodying the essence of Red Bull’s footballing philosophy with a twist of his own ingenuity.

The team, aligning in a compact 4-2-4 to 4-2-2-2 shape, becomes a cohesive unit that suffocates opponents, forcing play out wide and setting traps with the precision of a chess grandmaster. This defensive prowess is not just about reclaiming possession but doing so with a purpose, to ignite swift, deadly transitions that catch adversaries off-guard. Rose’s Leipzig in defense is a spectacle of intensity and intelligence, showcasing a side that is as formidable in thwarting attacks as it is in orchestrating them, a hallmark of a team sculpted by a visionary in the dugout.

Borussia Mönchengladbach tactics and formations Marc Rose taktik tactics 2019/20

How RB Leipzig Build-Up

Marco Rose’s RB Leipzig executes a build-up play that epitomizes tactical sophistication, employing a 4-2-2-2 formation that melds Red Bull’s vertical aggression with Rose’s flair for fluidity. The midfield serves as the linchpin in this orchestration, driving the ball forward with purpose, exploiting spaces with precision. This approach isn’t just about moving the ball; it’s about crafting opportunities through strategic overloads and exploiting half-spaces, showcasing Rose’s adeptness at blending artistry with tactical acumen.

In Leipzig’s build-up, dynamic formations like the 2-4-4 shift effortlessly to adapt to the opposition, with players like Xavi Simons spearheading attacks with direct drives and incisive passes. The build-up play under Rose is the groundwork for Leipzig’s offensive force, illustrating a philosophy where football is not just played but crafted with intent and innovation, making every transition a testament to tactical brilliance.

RB Leipzig in Attack

Marco Rose’s RB Leipzig unleashes an attack with a blend of relentless pace and tactical sophistication. Embracing the Red Bull ethos, Rose’s 4-2-2-2 formation facilitates rapid vertical assaults, with players like Xavi Simons leading the charge, exemplifying football as a spectacle of both speed and strategy.

Leipzig’s offensive strategy is meticulously crafted, transitioning smoothly from the deep build-up to explosive attacks, exploiting defences with precision. The dynamic interplay among Leipzig’s attackers and midfielders creates a relentless forward momentum, showcasing Rose’s vision of football as an art of aggressive elegance, where each move is a step towards not just victory but dominance.

What next for Marco Rose?

Marco Rose always seemed destined to manage a big-money club and, more specifically, RB Leipzig. While his talent as a manager is apparent, poor results don’t spare anyone, regardless of their reputation. At the time of writing, Leipzig is 5th in the Bundesliga, just outside the Champions League spots. And while they put up strong opposition against Real Madrid, they lost their first Round of 16 UCL game against the Spanish giants.

Yes, Rose’s job security is not the best that it has ever been. Despite this, in the long run, it’s easy to imagine that both the club and the manager will find their way to remain if not at the top of the football pyramid, certainly toward the upper regions.


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