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Three changes that Hansi Flick would demand at Barcelona

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Photo by Christof Koepsel/Getty Images

Following the departure of Xavi Hernandez, Barcelona seem poised for a new era under the leadership of Hansi Flick.

Flick could be officiated as the next Barcelona boss as soon as next week and is expected to sign a one-year contract, which can be extended for a further year.

The German manager, known for his tactical prowess and trophy-winning mentality, is likely to implement several key changes to the way Barcelona plays.

Here, we will explore three fundamental shifts fans can expect under Flick’s reign.

Shift in formation: From 4-3-3 to a pragmatic 4-2-3-1

While Xavi favoured a possession-based 4-3-3 formation, Flick is a strong proponent of the more traditional 4-2-3-1.

This system, which propelled Bayern Munich to a historic treble, offers a more balanced approach, with a focus on both defensive solidity and attacking threat.

The change in formation could greatly favour the midfield, which has lacked balance. A double pivot could feature the illustrious Ilkay Gundogan alongside a more defensive-minded player, which Barcelona are currently looking for.

Flick is expected to introduce the 4-2-3-1 formation at Barcelona (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images)

It will also allow Pedri to operate in a more favourable number ten position, thus enabling him to offer more creativity in the final third.

This formation also benefits Barcelona’s attack. Robert Lewandowski, whose frustrations under Xavi’s system were well-documented, thrives in a system with a target man.

A more direct style of play

Barcelona have long been known for its tiki-taka style of play, prioritizing possession and intricate passing. While this philosophy has yielded success in the past, Flick is likely to introduce a more direct attacking approach

This doesn’t mean abandoning possession entirely, but rather using it more efficiently. Under Flick, quick transitions from defence to attack will be a key feature.

This shift towards directness could prove particularly effective in countering high-pressing teams. Instead of getting bogged down in midfield, Barcelona will aim to bypass the press and exploit space behind the defence with quicker passes and balls over the top.

This aligns with Lewandowski’s strengths, as he can hold up play effectively and involve wingers like Lamine Yamal and Raphinha in dangerous attacking situations.

Reinstatement of intensive training

Recent reports have indicated that player dissatisfaction with Xavi’s training intensity was a significant factor leading to his departure.

Flick’s appointment could usher in intense training sessions (Photo by FRANCK FIFE/AFP via Getty Images)

Flick, known for his strict approach, can bring a change to this laid-back approach. Players can expect a significant increase in training intensity, which has become essential in modern-day football.

This shift back to a more rigorous training regime is likely to have a positive impact on the team’s overall performance. A fitter, sharper Barcelona will be better equipped to compete at the highest level.

These are a few changes Flick will be demanding from this Barcelona team once he arrives in Catalonia. Implementing some of these changes could take time, but they are likely to have a positive impact on the team overall.

One thing is for sure – a new era of Barcelona is about to begin. But whether or not Flick can pull it off within the club’s tight economic situation and limited resources, remains to be seen.

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