German football is well known for its patience with young talent and giving those an opportunity where others wouldn’t. It’s arguably what attracts such players to Germany with a chance to impress very much on the cards. One such player who was given his opportunity to shine in the 2. Bundesliga was Silvère Ganvoula. This tactical analysis takes a look at the 22-year old striker, his season at Bochum and who would benefit from signing the Republic of Congo international.
Up until now
At 22, Ganvoula is well travelled and has experienced five tiers of football. Starting in the Congo Premier League with Patronage Sainte-Anne, he rarely featured but showed glimpses of potential. In his second season with the team, Ganvoula hit the scoresheet for the first time. A move to Morocco was on the cards for just the one season with Raja Club Athletic Casablanca where playing time was scarce: he netted five goals and left at the end of the season.
Ahead of the 2016/17 season, the Republic of Congo international joined KVC Westerlo on a free.
Ganvoula wasted no time making his mark in Belgium, scoring on his debut in a 2-2 draw with Standard Liège. In a season which ended in disappointment for Westerlo, Ganvoula shone with nine goals and two assists – which saw a move to Anderlecht present itself.
Initially, he was sent on loan to KV Mechelen, which was quite the disappointment as he made only nine appearances in the Jupiler Pro League before returning to Anderlecht midway through the season. In his second start, Ganvoula scored a brace against none other than KV Mechelen.
At the start of the 2018/19 campaign, Ganvoula made the move east, with 2. Bundesliga side Bochum bringing the striker in. A good proving ground for the striker who joined a side with relatively ambitious goals for the season. In 21 appearances, Ganvoula found the back of the net five times and finished the season strongly. In his final four appearances, the 22-year-old scored three times and showed his versatility in the final third. He showed plenty to be excited about going forward.
How he got his goals
As mentioned before, Ganvoula found the back of the net five times for Bochum this season: two from headers and three with his predominant right foot, which includes a goal from the penalty spot. Our analysis will take a look at three of his goals and articulate how good body positioning and a desire to get to a strong goal scoring area led to the goal.
His first goal in Bochum colours came away at Duisburg. Ganvoula came on as a second-half substitute for Milos Pantovic after a red card to Sidney Sam forced a change in tactics. The move worked a treat as Ganvoula would extend Bochum’s advantage.
As the play builds and Bochum enter their attacking third we see Ganvoula’s predatory instincts at play. Ganvoula cunningly loses his marker in Sebastian Neumann, who is caught ball watching the left-hand side, allowing the striker to duck out the back into open space. The awareness to take the space in behind forces a reshuffle in the Duisburg defence.
Danilo Soares plays the ball into the area and with the defence caught ball watching, Ganvoula gets into a fantastic position. Kevin Wolze tries to challenge but Ganvoula heads the ball home with ease.
Ganvolula replicates this against Erzgebirge Aue, where he is able to use his body to get into the prime area to where the ball is coming in from. Jannik Bandowski this time delivers the ball into the box as Ganvoula gets his body above Jan Kral. Ganvoula’s header is out of reach for the goalkeeper once again. The key takeaway from the two headed goals is his timing of the run into the box, his positioning against the opponent and finishing with quality.
The last goal we will look at is against promoted 2. Bundesliga side Paderborn. Robbie Kruse is on the ball and driving into the box, and as he reaches the by-line the Australian provides a low, driven ball towards an unmarked Ganvoula.
Earlier in the piece, Ganvoula is able to lose his marker as he is entering the box. Ganvoula is deceptively quick, and as the play is developing he is able to get into a prime goal scoring position. Critically, Ganvoula remains onside throughout the process and in this situation Bochum draw level.
Inconsistency in the air
Statistically speaking, Ganvoula isn’t a world beater when it comes to winning aerial duels. In fact, Ganvoula only won 48.9% of aerial duels in the 2. Bundesliga this season, and over his career the Republic of Congo international has won just 52.9%. This is something that must improve in the coming years if Ganvoula is to be successful.
The biggest issue comes with a lack of consistency; this comes down to an inability to remain attentive throughout the contest. This part of the analysis looks at why he can’t apply his positioning in other parts of the pitch.
Our first situation comes against St. Pauli, as Bochum look to penetrate their opponent’s defences. Armel Bella-Kotchap plays the ball in towards Ganvoula, and we can see a one on one between him and Justin Hoogma. Now what is lauded when it comes to attacking the goal isn’t take when Ganvoula tries to head position. Ganvoula runs under the ball and allows Hoogma essentially a free run at the ball. Hoogma’s header to a teammate allows St. Pauli to clear.
Against Union Berlin we see how despite having what would be an optimum position, Ganvoula gets lazy and allows his opponent a chance to win possession. Here, Ganvoula is in a really good position. All he has to do is not allow Florian Hübner a run at the ball and protect the drop of the ball. Instead, he becomes flatfooted giving Hübner a strong chance at heading the ball clear. To which Hübner does and dispels the danger.
Tone it down
There is no doubting that Ganvoula brings a lot of aggression to the table, both in a positive and a negative way. However, there are times where Ganvoula needs to check himself before doing something silly. This season in Bochum, Ganvoula gave away 11 fouls, which doesn’t sound like much but when you see that four of those resulted in cards. Perhaps there is more at play here. His most costly coming in the season finale against Union Berlin, 2-0 up and cruising to a final day victory it seemed.
Yet an unnecessary tackle led to a second yellow and his marching orders. Union Berlin would run the gauntlet and score twice in the final ten, nearly stealing the points altogether. He needs to improve his decision making to avoid hurting the team.
A Bochum return?
Ganvoula showed plenty of promise but didn’t benefit from a manager who played a system with just the one striker. It also happened that the striker in question, Lukas Hinterseer, scored 18 times and was the third-best goal scorer in the league. But with Hinterseer leaving on a free to 2. Bundesliga side Hamburger SV, now would be a perfect time for Ganvoula to stake his claim as the number one striker at Bochum. Despite being on the books at Anderlecht, it would be surprising if Bochum do not try to either buy or bring him back to the Ruhrstadion on loan for at least another season.
The best way to sum up Ganvoula as a player is raw, a lot needs to be worked on but you see glimpses of promise which allows you to be excited about his potential, all of which were highlighted in our analysis. Yet, with Vincent Kompany coming in as the new manager of Anderlecht there is uncertainty as to whether Ganvoula can win a place or whether he moves elsewhere. At 22, he has plenty of years ahead of him. What he does next will be watched with anticipation.