2022-23 has witnessed an increasingly promising start to the Bundesliga season for Werder Bremen, whose coach (Ole Werner) currently holds the pedestal for youngest manager in the division. 21 points after 15 games is certainly a good turnaround for any newly promoted side, especially one tipped for relegation by many pre-season.
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.
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.
This game was wild. Borussia Dortmund were all over the place in their twelfth Bundesliga match of the season, and I can't remember another time where they scraped out a win despite being absolutely shell-shocked by the other team like this. Eintracht Frankfurt were formidable going forward, and kept a whopping 59% of the possession against the Black & Yellows, which is completely unheard of for both sides when facing one another, and for Dortmund in general. Despite this, the likes of Gregor Kobel and Nico Schlotterbeck came out clutch to save the day, and Frankfurt couldn't make the most of their chances. With that, here is our tactical analysis of this stunning match of football, and how both teams need to progress moving forward.
Throughout the past five years, Eintracht Frankfurt have been partially responsible for the conveyor belt production of quality strikers like Sebastien Haller, André Silva, Luka Jović and Rafael Borré. The next heir to the throne is completely different to the goal-scoring poacher-like 'Target Men' previously deployed. In many ways, a departure was needed. Filip Kostic has left the scene to start pastures new at Juventus, and the team no longer have an out-and-out dynamic wing crossing threat delivering peaches into the box for the strikers to ripen. They have a new man leading their attack now, and that man happens to be more of a 'Creative Link' than a scorer of great goals. Here is our analysis of the wonderful Randal Kolo Muani in 2022-23 at Eintracht Frankfurt.
After a disappointing season under the influence of Adi Hütter in 2021-22, Borussia Monchengladbach have now enjoyed one of their best starts to a season in recent memory. Daniel Farke has restored stability and solidity at the helm of his new club, with Die Fohlen losing just one of their opening seven fixtures in the league. Along the way, they've beaten Leipzig in stunning fashion, and drawn both Bayern Munich and SC Freiburg, both of whom topped the table at the time. Daniel Farke hasn't made drastic changes to the team's tactics since entering the door, but he's made smart and subtle tactical tweaks that have allowed Die Borussen to up their game and re-find form. Here is our tactical analysis of Daniel Farke's Gladbach in 2022-23.
Edin Terzic has enjoyed a positive start to the season, even despite some of the kinks in the system clearly still being worked out. Dortmund have lost just one game since the start of the campaign, achieving six wins and one draw in the process. No clearer have their principles of play come to life under Terzic this season than against FC Copenhagen, where the Black & Yellows picked up three points in their first UEFA Champions League match of the season. Here is our analysis of Dortmund's big win.
One of the truest tests of any tactically adept coach is to identify mechanisms for changing around their team’s fortunes mid-game. This is never an easy task, but one that managers must be reflecting on not only with their substitutions, but with the potential for changing the master-plan on a grander scale, whether that be a tactical tweak in style or system. In what was one of the games of the weekend, both Freiburg and Leverkusen made pivotal formational changes as the match wore on. Crucially, both teams changed back to the shapes that they've prioritized since the start of the season, calling into question why they ever abandoned their favoured choice in the first place.
Union Berlin have only kicked on since the start of 2022-23, currently sitting fourth place in a competitive Bundesliga campaign that has seen them start with an unbeaten run of form. Along the way, Fischer has maintained a succinct style of play, that drastically differs from the other German giants around them in the table. Here is our tactical analysis of Union Berlin in 2022-23, under the influence of the extraordinary Urs Fischer.
While they've endured a difficult start to the season, they've surpassed expectations in terms of tactical nous and game IQ since the start of 2022-23. Here is an analysis of Pellegrino Matarazzo's tactically intriguing VfB Stuttgart.
Target Men are often seen as the bottom of the barrel centre-forward in terms of footballing ability. But increasingly, it's becoming more difficult to quantify 'Target Men', recognizing the vast skillsets they employ. The likes of Aleksandar Mitrović and Sasa Kalajdzic are easier to distinctly categorize as 'Target Men' for their physical, imposing frame that allows them to score headed goals for fun. But it becomes more difficult to keep the likes of Erling Haaland and Darwin Nunez in that same specification, recognizing the vast array of traits they possess, particularly speed on the break. Target Men have historically been seen as slow, technically inept individuals who use their physicality, whether that be height or strength, to get one up over the opponent. But more and more, we are seeing an evolution of the 'Target Man' in 2022, to include a vast array of traits.
In our latest analysis series: Game of Numbers, we break down the various tactical undertones of the modern game, most notably the roles that individual players hold on the pitch to help their teams explore avenues for greatness. Positions are often broken down into 'numbers' to describe the areas of the field that a player may operate. This series aims to illustrate the ever-changing, fluid nature of those roles, and the ways in which various footballing teams may use the same players in the same roles to completely different effect. This is Issue No. 1, featuring the following: Lucas Paquetá & The 'Bernardo Silva Role', Joachim Andersen's 'Quarterback' Role vs. Arsenal, and Musiala's Masterclass vs. Eintracht Frankfurt.
The 'Deep-Lying Playmaker' is one of the already attributed player types that we have adopted within our system. Also known by its Italian name 'Regista', the 'DLP' is tasked with setting the tempo of the match from build up to progression, all the way to creation. They sit in front of the defensive line as an 'Anchor', but hold a more offensive, progressive and possession-oriented role than the other two 'number 6' types within our 'Anchor' persona. Their role is in both helping create space between the lines, and then breaking lines, recycling play, or even changing the point of attack upon receiving the ball, so that their team can advance up the pitch, beat an opposition's press and seek spaces closer to goal.