2 Sessions From Pep Guardiola’s Bayern in Pre-season

I recently watched Pep Guardiola’s first training session with Bayern Munich, which was recorded live on Sky Sports, and took note of 2 exercises used. They started off by warming up followed by rondos, with exercise 1 and exercise 2 taking place with certain groups of players whilst a variety of fitness circuits were being performed simultaneously.

Exercise 1

Drill 1

  • Blue is the coach.
  • White and yellow act as centre midfielders [relevant to Bayern’s 4-1-4-1].
  • Red acts as a defensive midfielder [relevant to Bayern’s 4-1-4-1].
  • Size of area: 2 centre midfielders were approx. 8 yards apart and the defensive midfielder was approx. 5 yards behind
  • The coach passes to a player but makes him run to the ball (imitation of pressing), whilst the other 2 players cover behind the presser.
  • E.g. Coach passes to the yellow (yellow pass line), who runs to the ball (yellow run line) and plays it back, and the other 2 players cover the presser (yellow run lines).
  • The coach passes once to each player in a random order [ensures players stay alert and focused], and the players jog past the coach (and onto a fitness circuit) to allow the next 3 players to begin.
  • Done with high intensity.

Possible coaching points:

  • Pressing speed [not too fast, not too slow].
  • Covering [what positions to take up, distance and angle, shuffling action, facing play].
  • Speed of thought and decision making [press and pass, or cover].

Exercise 2

Drill 1

  • 3 yellows (1 on each side, 1 in the middle).
  • 4 whites (2 on each side).
  • 4 blues (all inside area).
  • Plenty of balls ready to be passed in by the coach to allow for continuity.
  • Size of area as above: 18 yds [penalty area] x approx. 12 yds.
  • The outside team (whites in this case) and the yellows act as one team and keep possession of the ball.


  • Players must not be static.
  • The team of 4 on the outside (whites) cannot pass to each other on the same side.
  • If the team of 4 in the middle (blues) intercept the ball from a pass made by one of the team of 4 on the outside (whites), they must switch places as quickly as possible [quick transitions, expansive shape to compact shape and vice versa].
  • When switching places, the team must on the outside must press quickly to win the ball back [pressing in transition – counterpressing].

Possible coaching points:

  • Receiving [open body shape, receiving the ball across the body].
  • Which foot to receive on [front foot under pressure, back foot when not under pressure].
  • Opposite movements to create angles [ nearest player coming close to support, furthest player moving far to create width/depth].
  • Quick transitions [expansive shape to compact shape and vice versa].
  • Pressing types [cutting off passing lanes, pressing in numbers, covering the presser(s)].
  • Pressing body shape [showing outside, showing inside]
  • Pressing in transition (aka counterpressing/gegenpressing) [speed of press, pressing when team has numerical balance].
  • Speed of thought [quick adjusting of mentality from in possession to transition to defending – uses all 4 moments of a match].
  • Scanning play [mental image of next pass or position].

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