2. Bundesliga: 2018/19 Tactical Analysis: Fabian Reese at Greuther Fürth
Artwork by @chapulana

The trend of sending young players on loan to gain experience and hopefully progress enough to warrant first-team action upon return is commonplace. Big clubs, in particular, use second and third-tier sides who are willing to give their players quality minutes which will benefit their development. One such player is Fabian Reese, a 21-year old striker who played the 2018/19 season with 2. Bundesliga side Greuther Fürth. This tactical analysis looks at the Kiel native, his performance with Greuther Fürth and whether he will earn an opportunity under David Wagner and Schalke. Or conversely, whether Reese will be loaned out again or even sold.

Kiel and Die Knappenschmiede

A native of Kiel, home of one of the German naval bases and being the final stop on one of the artificial waterways in the world. The port city also has Holstein Kiel where Reese began his junior career. Graduating up to U17 level where he became a regular under Hannes Drews. His 20 appearances in the 2012/13 U17 B-Junioren Bundesliga Nord/Nordost, Reese managed four goals. With the building blocks in place, arguably the most prestigious academy in German came calling for Reese.

Die Knappenschmiede, Schalke’s academy is a talent factory producing high-quality footballers built for the big stage. Julian Draxler, Manuel Neuer, and Leroy Sané just to name a few have graduated from Die Knappenschmiede and featured regularly in the first team before their departures. Reese was hoping to be the next to join such high calibre footballers to emerge from the academy as a top footballing prospect.

At first glance with the U17’s under Christian Wörns, it was a slow burn with Reese who was given plenty of time to settle in at Gelsenkirchen. Yet a strong middle part of the season which included goals against Bayer Leverkusen U17 and Borussia Mönchengladbach U17 gave Schalke hope of Reese’s promising development.

In the 2014/15 season, Reese was promoted to the U19 side with legendary Die Knappenschmiede manager Norbert Elgert. We didn’t see much of Reese in the opening phases of the season, however, on matchday 16 of the season, Reese would explode. A hat-trick against Arminia Bielefeld U19 would set the stage for Reese who would score in the following three fixtures. He would continue his strong performances the following season and on November 21st, Reese would make his Schalke debut as a substitute in a 3-1 defeat to Bayern Munich.

The loan phase

Reese would spend half of the 2016/17 season with the second team after graduating from Die Knappenschmiede which was followed before being sent out on loan to Karlsruher SC. At the time, Karlsruher SC where in the midst of a relegation battle and hoped that Reese would bring a strong desire and enthusiastic approach to the game. However, the stint didn’t work out, 10 appearances and goalless with Karlsruher SC relegated.

Reese would make cameo features at the beginning of the 2017/18 campaign with Schalke. But with no regular action on offer, Reese was sent out on loan again with Greuther Fürth his temporary home. In the initial spell, Reese made 15 appearances for the Kleeblatt but like his initial spell with Karlsruher SC, it was a goalless one. Despite the lack of goals in the 2. Bundesliga, Greuther Fürth were more than happy to bring Reese back for another season to which they did. His first second tier goal coming in a thrilling come from behind win against Arminia Bielefeld. From that, Reese added two more goals to his tally to end the season with three goals from 29 2. Bundesliga appearances.

Goals

In his first full season with Greuther Fürth, Reese managed the three goals this term. All with his right boot and all after half time. We will take a look at all three of those goals to see how they came about, what he did in the lead up to the score and anything in-between.

2. Bundesliga: 2018/19 Tactical Analysis: Fabian Reese at Greuther Fürth

We begin our goal analysis against Arminia Bielefeld. From the proceeding set piece, Arminia Bielefeld’s defence is trying to clear. Multiple Bielefeld players are watching the play as Andreas Voglsammer looks to turn and move the ball forward. Reese is circled in this frame, with the weight of numbers something catastrophic would have to happen for Greuther Fürth to get a goal scoring opportunity.

2. Bundesliga: 2018/19 Tactical Analysis: Fabian Reese at Greuther Fürth

As Voglsammer tries to clear the ball is block and falls straight to the feet of Reese. With four Bielefeld defenders surrounding Reese, he takes a touch before taking aim at goal. The touch might’ve been a bit much with a mass of defensive pressure coming his way, but it helped in composing himself as he scored his first 2. Bundesliga goal.

2. Bundesliga: 2018/19 Tactical Analysis: Fabian Reese at Greuther Fürth

Reese would have to wait 18 matchdays for his second goal of the season. Here, Greuther Fürth are able to counter quickly as Darmstadt has numbers up with the hope of drawing level. Right back Patrick Herrmann is horribly out of position which allows Reese the space in the middle of the final third. David Atanga plays a key role in the build-up, the aerial ball played prior was heavy but he does well to control possession and find Reese streaming forward.

2. Bundesliga: 2018/19 Tactical Analysis: Fabian Reese at Greuther Fürth

Herrmann is able to recover his position forcing Reese into an uncomfortable situation. Should he take the shot after cutting onto his right or hold onto the ball? The touch is heavy which allows the Darmstadt defence to get back and eliminates a shot at goal.

With Reese holding the ball but going across goal he is limiting his option. Reese continues to assess the situation but with little support, he has no option but to go for goal. Fortune on his side, Reese’s shot trickles past keeper Daniel Heuer Fernandes and double’s Greuther Fürth’s lead.

2. Bundesliga: 2018/19 Tactical Analysis: Fabian Reese at Greuther Fürth

Reese’s final goal came on the last matchday of the season against St. Pauli. From the set-piece by Julian Green, the ball is aimed towards the back post. Richárd Magyar is the target and heads the ball across goal. Reese is already in a good spot. His opponent Dimitrios Diamantakos isn’t goal side and is caught ball watching as have a few of the St. Pauli defenders.

2. Bundesliga: 2018/19 Tactical Analysis: Fabian Reese at Greuther Fürth

With Reese off the leash and the ball going towards the back post, the 21-year old makes his run towards space. Opening up his body and striking the ball home with relative ease. The distance between himself and Diamantakos is large with the St. Pauli hardly moving throughout the sequence. Reese has scored in a variety of different ways showcasing the diversities of his goal scoring abilities.

Getting out of a jam

One of the stronger aspects of Reese’s game so fair is his dribbling, the ability to see off opponents whilst keeping possession. This season, Reese completed on average seven dribbles per game with a success of 52.8%. That’s an increase in dribbles attempted per game but a decrease in the succession of those completed. Reese has shown to be shifty when going forward but also has the ability to use his body to shield the ball away from opponents and keep the play going forward. Let look at a couple of examples where Reese succeeds at this.

2. Bundesliga: 2018/19 Tactical Analysis: Fabian Reese at Greuther Fürth

The first situation comes against Bochum with the Kleeblatt holding the advantage. Maximilian Sauer plays the ball down the touchline towards Reese. The Kiel native is draped by Tim Hoogland who is hoping to hold him stationary long enough that his teammate can come and pick pocket the Fürth striker.

2. Bundesliga: 2018/19 Tactical Analysis: Fabian Reese at Greuther Fürth

Instead, Reese is able to use the touchline as his friend. Cradling the ball away from the clutches of Hoogland who he turns inside out and continues the Fürth attack. Although it didn’t lead to anything with Reese crossing the ball straight at goalkeeper Manuel Riemann. You can see Reese using his body to his advantage to evade the tight marking Hoogland.

2. Bundesliga: 2018/19 Tactical Analysis: Fabian Reese at Greuther Fürth

Another scenario where Reese is able to dribble his way out of trouble came against Jahn Regensburg. Unlike the Bochum situation where Reese uses the body to hold onto the ball and then burst way. We see Reese try to think his way out a jam. With the Regensburg defender coming towards Reese, it’s evident that option to play the ball to a teammate are out of the question. To his right, however, there is plenty of space to make stride towards. Reese eyes off the oncoming danger and makes his way right.

2. Bundesliga: 2018/19 Tactical Analysis: Fabian Reese at Greuther Fürth

As Reese continues forward another Regensburg player looks to challenge the ball carrier. This time Reese has two options he can make, play the ball down the line or move the ball inside to a presenting teammate. Reese goes the former and plays it safe with a ball down the line to Atanga. It’s evident that Reese has the tools on the ball, technically gifted and has a knack of finding his way out of a jam.

Who should be interested

Bundesliga sides, in particular, those who have gained promotion would be unlikely to be tempted in loaning or signing the 21-year old for the moment. Another season in the 2. Bundesliga seems most likely. Greuther Fürth would seem to be a good fit, he has spent the last season and a half there and looked comfortable within the playing group. It has been mentioned of their interest but whether they can afford to purchase or bring him in on loan remains to be seen.

Jahn Regensburg would be another team that might dangle the carrot. A side that plays 4-4-2, Jahn could be an interesting situation for Reese. With Sargis Adamyan leaving for Hoffenheim in the summer, a spot out wide is open to which Reese could fill.

Could Fabian Reese even entertain a move back home to Kiel? The club has undergone a clean out of such with the key departures of David Kinsombi to Hamburger SV and Kingsley Schindler joining Köln in the Bundesliga. Holstein Kiel also have a new manager in André Schubert who recently saved Eintracht Braunschweig from a dreaded double relegation situation. Another side looking for options going forward, it wouldn’t be inconceivable if Holstein Kiel did entertain a potential home coming.

Conclusion

At this moment in time, the jury is still out on Reese as a Bundesliga player. You would even go as far to say that Reese isn’t a prototypical striker, in fact, he has been deployed so often as a wide option that his ability to play the number nine role effectively have diminished somewhat.

With a new Schalke boss and the line of returning players from injury, it’s hard to see Reese in the mix at the moment. That said, a return to the 2. Bundesliga would be a very good option for Reese. Another year to develop his skills and at the end of the season perhaps Schalke will assess his value. Reese has been a tease, showcasing his potential which leaves us unfulfilled at the present.


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Matthew Karagich

Host and Producer of the 2. Bundesliga Podcast. 23-year old hailing from the city of churches (Adelaide, Australia) who indulges in all things German football.