Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Tactical Analysis: BVB v. Bayern

There are two questions to this game: why did BVB hold the mighty Bayern to a nil draw; and why did BVB lose two points?

For the former, we need to look at the tactics. That’s not such a bad thing, seeing as I title this column “tactical analysis”. With Franck Ribery out due to injury and the General unwilling to listen to me, even though I am a genius (my mother has reassured me), Bayern went with a 4-4-2, with Ze Roberto and Van Bommel lying deep with Schweinsteiger and Sosa patrolling the wings to link up with Klose and Toni.

On the other side, Borussia Dortmund employed the exact same 4-4-2 with Tinga and Kuba protecting the back four, while Buckey and Kinge provided for a front pairing of Petric and Valdez .

The tactical beauty of this game was the placement of the two deep central mids. Bayern’s two typically set about 10-15 meters off of their centerbacks of De Michelis and Lucio; whereas, BVB’s Tinga and Kuba set 15-25 meters off of their, and may I add much inferior, centerbacks Brszenka and Kovac.

This small difference was enough to give BVB domination of the game. Tinga and Kuba moved forward to engage Bayern’s attack much higher up the pitch than the opposite case. They won the ball in Bayern’s half more often where they could quickly push forward. This can be seen in the 18 chances they made. It’s less visible in the number of chances they didn’t create, but I will get to that later. They won the pivotal battle at the center of the pitch and controlled possession. And it is never a bad idea to deny possession to great teams.

Meanwhile, Dortmund left a gap between the mids and defenders that Bayern were unable to use to their advantage. Maybe this is where they missed Ribery. But I contend that neither Klose or Toni drifted into this empty space enough to make it a viable option. They posted up high and the midfielders were forced to carry the ball too long, making it easier to take off them.

Finally, Dortmund’s backs pushed further up the field than their Bayern counterparts. If you are going to use a 4-4-2 with two lying deep in the midfield, then you must use overlapping runs between the wingers and the backs. Degen and Dede were more visible in attack than Lell and Jansen. The low number of crosses into the box by Bayern is testament to how little their back got forward. And I contend that Lahm’s injury hurt the visitors more on the day than Ribery.

All in all, BVB was a much better side on the day and, while the result may have been surpsing, it was well earned. In fact they deserved more.

So why didn’t they? It’s rather simple. Doll’s side lacked what could be termed the final ball. Don’t mistake the final ball for a final pass. I mean that Dortmund lacked the final touch that could either finish or release. Looking and Nelson Valdez, one has to wonder why he is starting for a G14 club. He’s pants. And not my nice pair that I would wear if I were going to a fancy dinner. No, he’s not even the pants I would use for painting. And his pant-ness (I know it’s not even close to a word) only helped gloss over Petric’s poor performance. These two were ridiculously poor finishers and had Dortmund either used Klimovich or Fredrico earlier they may have found the goal they needed to win. Look at the numbers: 18 chances, only 2 on net. And once again, I must remind you that BVB should have created more, but their inability to string a through-pass cost them at least a dozen other chances.

So Doll won the tactical battle and his defense stood solid for once, but it was a bad day by the forwards that cost this team the shock of the season.


Anonymous said...

Another good read. I'm a bit disappointed/surprised that Dortmund couldn't convert their chances. I had hoped that at least Petric would get the job done. Though I also wondered why he chose Valdez over either Klimo/Frederico.

Anonymous said...

I take it from your rather informed analysis that you are a coach, or just a student of the game?