RB Leipzig vs Bayern – DFB Pokal – Tactical Analysis

Discussion in 'Germany' started by Covershadow, Oct 27, 2017.

  1. Covershadow

    Covershadow Member

    Aug 30, 2016
    Full Throttle, World Class Press, and Individual Brilliance

    After Dortmund vs Leipzig, the clash of Leipzig and Bayern was expected to be one of the best matches of German football in the 2017/2018 season. The sides managed to fulfil expectations as the affair between Leipzig and Bayern provided an ultra intense and tactically interesting game. A full throttle clash; full of high-octane press, spiced up by some individual brilliance.

    Leipzig’s risky-approach

    In the first half, Bayern struggled to come out from Leipzig’s press. There were some scenes that the visitors could create space and promising situations, but there were also many situations that they were forced into unease situations resulting in long balls and turnovers, enabling Leipzig to regain possession and make some quick entries into Bayern’s box.

    The purpose of Leipzig’s press was obvious, the home side tried to force as many long balls to the last line of Bayern’s block. This approach made them press high into the upper final third. You can see how this high press has led to RBL dominating the league in terms of challenges in these areas:


    Should Bayern play it long, Leipzig’s back line often managed a clearance into the midfield followed by a highly compact press structured to isolate the location around the ball, in order to win it back quickly, and counter in a fast manner with their quick-short combination play. Keita and Kampl were super in these plays as the two were continuously able to secure the central midfielder by their physical-capabilities. It speaks volumes that Naby Keita won 13 of 24 challenges in his 55 minutes on the pitch, while Vidal and Tolisso combined for just 11 of 33!



    Bayern’s attack in the eighth minute exemplified it when Hummels accessed the free Alaba and Bayern were able to progress and found space in Robben territory on the right side in the final third. Robben then found Lewandowski with a through ball into the box and ended up with Bayern gained a corner kick.


    Pressing gesture and box defending

    One aspect that made Leipzig display the press very well was: the presser was able to perform the proper gesture in order to show weaker foot to the opponent’s ball carrier. Leipzig players didn’t always force the possession towards the touch-line. The presser, at times, made a run that would enable him to show weaker foot to the opponent’s ball carrier as well as block the progression access. This forced Bayern to be deeper and thus provided advantage for the high press to isolate the possession into an uneasy situation.

    Bayern and the space beside Leipzig’s forward line

    Bayern were able to progress as Thiago, for instance, was allowed a spatio-temporal advantage in the space beside Leipzig’s first line of press. Usually, after receiving a pass, the space behind Leipzig’s midfielder is opened up because of the press from the near 6 failing to totally block the access to the space behind him. This was the nature of Leipzig’s aggressive press which often saw them allow temporary spaces (see Sabitzer earlier) and the blind side.

    Bayern’s middle-block

    Just like Leipzig, Bayern also tried to force Leipzig to play it long. But the method was different to Leipzig’s approach. Heynckes didn’t want his boys to press aggressively in a high block just the way Leipzig did. Instead, he came up with a middle block, inviting Leipzig to move up while continuously blocking the access to the midfielder line. Bayern often allowed space for the central defenders and let them move forward to approach the middle third. As the access to the midfielder line was well-covered by Bayern’s block, Leipzig players from the first line often released deep passes to the last line.

    After the red card

    Keita’s red card changed everything. Keita was Leipzig’s best player until his red, his stats are worth mentioning: the Guinean completed 35 of his 39 pass attempts, won 13 of his 24 duels (absurd amount in such a short time), succeeded on 6 of his 9 dribbles (again 9 dribbles attempted in 55 minutes from the 6 role?), won 3 of 5 tackles, lost two and recovered seven balls and also added two key passes. His tactical importance was perhaps even greater and thus his loss was enormous.

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    As always, thank you for reading. You can meet me on Twitter @ryantank100

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