Bundesliga 2021-22 Matchday 4 – Tactical Review

Embed from Getty Images

The Bundesliga continues to entertain as ever, with intriguing tactics, big results and a tight title race in these early stages. Matchday 4 saw Bayern smash Jesse Marsch’s lifeless Leipzig to bits, Borussia Dortmund scrape out a narrow win over Leverkusen in a seven goal thriller, and Wolfsburg, yes Wolfsburg, continue their win streak at the top of the table. Here is our tactical analysis of some of the key matches.

leipzig 1-4 Bayern munich

Embed from Getty Images

One of the major surprises of Jesse Marsch’s time in charge of Leipzig so far has been the implementation of a simplistic 4-2-3-1 formation. We have simply come to expect far more innovation from our Red Bull managers, including Marsch himself. Die Roten Bullen have had a bit of an up and down season so far, and they would have been hoping to keep the score to a minimum against their former coach and a rampaging Bayern Munich team. With that in mind, Marsch reinstated several older and more experienced heads back into the team for this game, including Kevin Kampl, Konrad Laimer, and Angelino. It didn’t work. Angelino was torn to shreds by the young Jamal Musiala after his arrival to the game in the second half, while Kampl and Laimer were too redundant in possession.

That leads us to our first surprise of the match – the fact that Leipzig actually had more of the ball than the Bavarians. Prior to the match, Bayern’s possession statistics were the second highest in the league, whilst Leipzig sat in fourth in that category. But it was die Roten Bullen keeping more of the ball, and that only caused them issues. Bayern Munich can be deadly on the break, and they showcased exactly that in this match, with the speed from players like Davies, Sane and Musiala (not to mention the space finding adeptness of Lewandowski and Muller) causing Marsch’s men real issues in transition. Bayern always attacked from out to in, with Sane and Davies in close quarters to link up and wreak havoc down the left. Kimmich also spent a lot of time venturing forward and looking to create with his through ball magic touch, ensuring Nagelsmann’s side had a variety of mechanisms for chance creation and goals.

Embed from Getty Images

Leipzig on the other hand were less adept at getting the ball into their danger men, and Andre Silva had a difficult time overcoming the defensive presence of Dayot Upamecano and Lucas Hernandez. They favoured long shots instead, and Konrad Laimer’s fantastic effort from range was the only goal they scored. But systematically, their are clear issues that need to be addressed. They delivered a fair amount of crosses into the box from players like Szoboszlai and Angelino, but Bayern had an easy time dealing with these. Andre Silva didn’t win a single aerial duel, and Leipzig couldn’t generate enough of the intricate one-touch through balls that he often thrives off of. In the end, it’s no surprise that Bayern claimed victory, but there were certainly a few surprises along the way.

eintracht frakfurt 1-1 vFB STUTTGART

Embed from Getty Images

With two very similar teams coming up against each other, stylistically and in terms of ability, it’s no surprise that this match ended in a 1-1 draw. Both teams love to keep possession and play high flying and tough tackling football. In this particular match it was Frankfurt who kept more of the ball, with the two teams relatively even in most other areas of the game.

Frankfurt continued with their new Glasner styled 4-2-3-1, whilst Stuttgart played their usual 3-4-2-1. Their inverted wingers often operated very wide in order to help defend and double team Frankfurt’s wide men. That left new signing Omar Marmoush as the only one clearly detached from the midfield lines, with Stuttgart’s shape really looking more like 3-6-1. Karazor and Endo could also sometimes be seen detached from that six, as they worked to track the movement of Daichi Kamada in between the lines, and did so expertly well in. They also took turns dropping toward the back-line in build-up phases, something we noted about Stuttgart last week in their match against Freiburg.

Embed from Getty Images

Frankfurt meanwhile massively favoured their left side, whether it was Kostic or Lenz playing as the left-back in the team. Jens Petter Hauge, the right winger, even drifted toward the left to get himself involved. That gave Frankfurt an unbalanced look to their attack, with only Rafael Borre looking for moments to run in behind their compact defense on that side after coming on as a substitute. This also meant that Stuttgart had a very right-sided approach to their attack, given that they often won the ball on that area of the field. But Matarazzo’s team were far less compact when they had the ball, and stretched the field with loads of width.

Both teams were aggressive, and up for the contest right from the very start. In the end the spoils were shared, as neither side were able to truly convince over the other.

bayer leverkusen 3-4 borussia dortmund

Embed from Getty Images

Watching Borussia Dortmund this week was exactly the same as watching Borussia Dortmund last week. They were terrible in transition, defended woefully, yet somehow scraped out a win at the very death of the game.

Dortmund’s organization in midfield again let them down. Pongracic’s arrival into the team allowed Witsel a return to midfield, and pushed Dahoud further forward on the left. This could have presented Dortmund some benefits in possession and in transition, if played correctly. Ultimately they could have been more of a double pivot, kept more of the ball for purposes of switching play, and allowed themselves greater ease in transition through greater positional caution (see teams like Chelsea). Unfortunately, Rose did none of this. Dahoud was often the one pushing forward into advanced roles even more than Julian Brandt. That meant that when Brandt or anyone else lost possession, Dortmund were left with the slowest defensive midfielder in the league to recover in transition (Witsel), an even slower Julian Brandt, and a hilariously slow back-line that only Manuel Akanji is capable of holding together with any form of solidity. That presented BVB with a hopeless set of problems on the break, where they were hit time and time again by Leverkusen’s quickness and power. Patrik Schick was adept at finding space in behind the back-line, and making his moments count, while Moussa Diaby also caused the Black & Yellows some trouble.

Embed from Getty Images

Switching play was also an impossible task for Dortmund in their set-up, due to the lack of width in the team. Thomas Meunier and Raphael Guerreiro pushed forward with the attack, but their was no width on the wing. That resulted in the two fullbacks being constantly out of position in transition, and the compactness between Pongracic and Akanji completely separating as they tried to make up for that.

Embed from Getty Images

Leverkusen on the other hand may have lost, but they were excellent. Kerem Demirbay seamlessly dropped into a midfield two alongside Robert Andrich, instead of playing as the number ten, and constantly stationed himself alongside the two centre-backs in the build-up. This allowed Bakker and Frimpong to stretch the width of the field and get forward, where Paulinho and Diaby could invert and cause problems with their pace, in behind Dortmund’s gentle midfield. From a defensive perspective, they pressed well and defended compactly, with Florian Wirtz floating up alongside Schick in the initial line of pressure 4-4-2 styled. Paulinho was the only major issue from a defensive perspective, as he showed a complete unwillingness to follow and track Thomas Meunier – a player significantly slower than him. The Belgian was then afforded plenty of room to carry the ball and deliver passes into the penalty area. Other than that, a few silly mistakes cost them the game. But the overall defensive structures they had in place were sound and Leverkusen were probably the more deserving team on the day.

more to follow


So there it is! A tactical review of Matchday 4 in the Bundesliga! Be sure to follow the social media links below, and subscribe to never miss an update. Also be sure to check out all of our tactical reviews for each and every matchday. Thanks for reading and see you soon!

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.

Kamal Miller – Player Analysis

Canadian footballers operating in the MLS have been notoriously underrated over the years, but now with the nation putting themselves on the world stage, clubs across the globe should start to pay more attention to our greatest players. One of those who has announced himself on the grandest stage is CF Montreal’s Kamal Miller. Miller’s been arguably Canada’s best defender across the two opening group stage matches at the 2022 World Cup, serving as a nice compliment to his defensive partner Steven Vitoria at the back. With a range of qualities on and off the ball, Miller could easily be playing for a club in Europe’s top five leagues already. So with that, we aim to strengthen Miller’s case for a move across the pond.

How Ecuador beat Qatar – World Cup 2022 – Match Analysis

The 2022 World Cup in Qatar has officially kicked off, with Ecuador rocking Qatar’s world and walking to a 2-0 win. Boasting 53% of the possession and outclassing the hosts every step of the way, Ecuador were utterly dominant from start to finish, against the shaky Qatar defense that looked perplexed and out of solutions in handling the energy from Gustavo Alfaro’s men. Here is our analysis of the opening match to this 2022 World Cup in Qatar, and how Ecuador easily beat the tournament hosts.

Breaking down Canada’s 2022 World Cup Squad

Canada has officially announced the squad for their first World Cup since 1986, and fans of Canadian soccer will be happy to hear that all of the big names have made the cut. Doneil Henry serves as the only major omission after his latest injury set-back, but even he appears to be set to join the squad in Qatar from the sidelines. So with that, we break down John Herdman’s squad heading into a historic World Cup, and what to expect from the Canadians in Qatar.

Stephen Eustáquio – Player Analysis

On March 27, 2022, Canada qualified for the World Cup, for the first time since 1986. The likes of Jonathan David and Alphonso Davies evidently played their part, but perhaps no man was more key to Canada’s success in the lead-up to World Cup Qualification than the beating heart in Herdman’s midfield – Stephen Eustáquio. Now an FC Porto regular playing week in and week out in the Champions League, the 25-year-old will be integral to Canada’s success at the upcoming tournament. Here is our analysis of Stephen Eustáquio, and why he’s prepared to play a pivotal role for Canada at the 2022 World Cup.

Game of Numbers #10 – Thuram’s Tormenting Transitions

Daniel Farke’s men completely outclassed Dortmund on the break, particularly via the use of quick play through the vertical channels. The man that led that entire process was none other than Marcus Thuram – who recently featured in our ‘Direct Goal-Scorer’ breakdown. Thuram’s a quintessential model of the role, as someone who constantly endeavours to run behind an opposition defense. He’s the first outlet in transition, and this makes him absolutely integral to the team given that much of Monchengladbach’s brilliance this season has come on the counter. Combine that with Dortmund’s own problems at the back and the strange omission of their best transitional warrior, and Edin Terzic set his team up for a disaster.

Explaining the Direct Goal-Scorer – Player Role Analysis

When on their day, ‘Direct Goal-Scorers’ can be some of the most entertaining footballers to watch, with a sense of raw intensity beating inside their heart every step of the way. Khvicha Kvaratskhelia has shown everyone exactly that this season at Serie A leaders Napoli, but the likes of Sadio Mané and Serge Gnabry have demonstrated their goal-scoring exploits for years.

Alessandro Hojabrpour – Player Analysis

Alessandro Hojabrpour has been one of the standout performers of the past two seasons in the Canadian Premier League. Playing in an understated defensive midfield role where he’s required to proactively participate in all phases of the game, Hojabpour has also been a name that has gone relatively unnoticed when compared to some of his CPL peers. At 22 years of age, with the maturity of someone in their mid-twenties, Hojabrpour should be on the radar of every single MLS club, and soon enough on the radar of our national team. Here is my analysis of the remarkabilities to Alessandro Hojabrpour in 2022, and why he’s one of the best midfielders that Canada has to offer.

Game of Numbers #9 – Moukoko Madness

In our latest analysis series: Game of Numbers, we break down the various tactical undertones of the modern game, most notably the individual roles that players fulfill to help their teams achieve success. This is Issue No. 9, featuring tactical discussions around two of the Bundesliga’s top prospects – Youssoufa Moukoko and Christopher Nkunku.

Coaching Philosophies Guide

Struggling to know how to communicate your ideas about the game in a succinct format? Our ‘Coaching Philosophies Guide’ will help you to know what you need to consider when building the perfect team environment, and will allow you to nail down your thoughts about how and who you want to be as a coach.

Our guide comes with my own Coaching Philosophies as an example for how you can structure your own. This can be purchased for just $2.99, as part of our continued attempt to make our content as accessible as possible.

5 thoughts on “Bundesliga 2021-22 Matchday 4 – Tactical Review

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s