Emmanuel Iyoha 2018/19 - scout report - tactical analysis tactics
Artwork by @chapulana

Holstein Kiel have been relatively busy throughout the transfer window and announced the signing of 21-year-old striker Emmanuel Iyoha on loan from Fortuna Düsseldorf. Die Störche were unable to replicate their stellar 2017/18 campaign where they finished third before loving to Wolfsburg in the relegation playoffs. Tailing off late in the season to finish in 6th.

It is hoped from a Fortuna Dusseldorf perspective that the 2019/20 campaign will be a breakout for him. Two loan spells away from the club have been unrewarding statically, but the hope that with an attacking out looking side like Holstein Kiel perhaps Iyoha will finally unlock his full potential. This tactical analysis aims to give an insight on the German U21 international and whether 21-year-old can help Holstein Kiel remain in the top echelon of the 2. Bundesliga.

Dusseldorf homegrown

Iyoha is considered one of the brightest prospects to come out of Fortuna Düsseldorf’s academy system. A native of the city, Iyoha has a real connection with his home town club and after a brief spell with Bayer Leverkusen’s academy, It was fitting that Iyoha would get the opportunity to represent his city’s club at junior level.

The striker hit the scene in the 2014/15 U19 Bundesliga West which is arguably the most competitive region in junior football. Schalke, Borussia Dortmund, Bayer Leverkusen, and Borussia Mönchengladbach to name a few are some of the academy sides Fortuna Düsseldorf comes up against. Iyoha shone in his first full season with the U19’s, nine goals and six assists helping Sinisa Suker’s side to a more than respectable 6th place. During the month of November, Iyoha was on a hot streak scoring six times in the space of four games.

Iyoha would spend just half of the following campaign with the U19’s. In 13 outings, the striker managed seven goals and four assists which was a strong return considering he scored every 156 minutes. The reason behind an interrupted junior campaign was Iyoha’s introduction to the first team. The manager Frank Kramer included him in the matchday squad on nine occasions with five those seeing Iyoha take to the field. His debut coming on a Friday night in October in a 2-1 defeat to RB Leipzig.

After graduating to the first team for the 2016/17 season, Iyoha was a prominent fixture in the first team, 17 appearances in what was another disappointing season for Fortuna finishing 12th. A change in coach with the experienced Friedhelm Funkel help stabilise the Düsseldorf in avoiding the drop.

Onwards to Osnabrück and Aue

After a goalless campaign with Fortuna Düsseldorf, Iyoha was sent out on loan to 3. Liga side VfL Osnabrück. At the Lila-wieß, Iyoha made 25 appearances under the ever popular Daniel Thioune where he managed four goals and two assists. A solid return when considering Iyoha was deployed in a variety of positions in the attack, mostly as an attacking winger.

With no option to buy, Iyoha returned to Düsseldorf looking for another opportunity to break into the first team. However, thanks to an impressive title-winning campaign in the 2. Bundesliga. It seemed unlikely that Iyoha would get that chance. Instead, Iyoha would head east to the Saxony where he would once again wear purple but this time for Erzgebirge Aue.

A common theme is Iyoha playing for sides that have been in the relegation battle and Aue is consistently trying to avoid the drop. This season was no different as Aue only managed to secure their safety with just two matches remaining. For Iyoha, he managed three goals and seven assists in 27 appearances where he formed a strong partnership with Pascal Testroet.

Goals

In his first full season in the 2. Bundesliga with Erzgebirge Aue, Iyoha ended with three goals as mentioned. He managed to score in a variety of different ways and really showcased the excitement around Iyoha as a prospect. Let’s look back at all three goals and how he sealed the deal.

Emmanuel Iyoha 2018/19 - scout report - tactical analysis tactics

The opening goal of Iyoha’s campaign ironically comes against his new employers Holstein Kiel. With the hosts trailing, Aue are in behind the defence and have a real opportunity to create. Sören Bertram plays the ball to Iyoha who is in acres of space on the left-hand side of midfield.

Emmanuel Iyoha 2018/19 - scout report - tactical analysis tactics

Iyoha received the ball and looks in on goal. However, the Kiel does a good job of recovering for the initial danger. With very little space to cut onto his right or play the ball out wide to Bertram, Iyoha is forced to go to his left which will only leave him with an option to shoot.

Emmanuel Iyoha 2018/19 - scout report - tactical analysis tactics

The angle is tight and Kenneth Kronholm is in an ideal position to make a routine save on Iyoha. Yet despite all the odds favouring Kiel, Iyoha squeezes the ball past Kronholm and helps Aue equalise. Mightily impressive when considering Iyoha had been on the pitch for just over a minute.

Emmanuel Iyoha 2018/19 - scout report - tactical analysis tactics

Iyoha’s second goal of the season is a thing of beauty. It starts in Aue’s defensive half with Iyoha playing the ball to Calogero Rizzuto. As Rizzuto goes at the closing defence, Greuther Fürth are horribly exposed to the closest side of the ground to which Iyoha continues his run. Iyoha receives from Rizzuto with plenty still to do.

Emmanuel Iyoha 2018/19 - scout report - tactical analysis tactics

As the Furth defence retreats and is able to bring numbers back to defend, Iyoha is able to shift to his favourite left foot. Goalkeeper Sascha Burchert is closest to the six-yard box, the shot from Iyoha needs to be perfect. The advantage for Iyoha is the Furth defence doesn’t close him down and he produces a peach of a goal. Side netting with Burchert only a bystander in the situation.

Emmanuel Iyoha 2018/19 - scout report - tactical analysis tactics

Our final goal to look at from Iyoha comes against promoted Paderborn at home. We start the play with Testroet on the ball driving towards the by-line. We’ve highlighted the defender covering the runner heading towards the six-yard box. But with this, Paderborn have failed to see an Iyoha drifting to the back post. Iyoha keeps his distance from the defender in front and awaits the delivery in.

Emmanuel Iyoha 2018/19 - scout report - tactical analysis tactics

Testroet’s initial cross is blocked but the second of the bite the cherry finds a completely unmarked Iyoha at the back post. With the angle relatively tight, Iyoha coolly hits first time with the helpless Leopold Zingerle unable to make the ground up. Three goals showcasing the variance in ways Iyoha can score, his new employers will be hoping he can add to the three from last season.

Underrated assist maker

Despite the lack of goals, Iyoha made himself a handful at setting his teammates up with seven assists for Aue. To put that in perspective, Iyoha ranked in the top 10 in assists from attacking players in the 2. Bundesliga. Iyoha finished the 2018/19 season completing 72.4% of short and long range passes. This section of the tactical analysis will showcase two of Iyoha’s assists.

Emmanuel Iyoha 2018/19 - scout report - tactical analysis tactics

The first situation comes against Union Berlin, two of the original DDR-Oberliga sides who have become regular fixtures in the 2. Bundesliga. Union Berlin headed into this game undefeated after 17 matches but Erzgebirge Aue would end that streak in the return fixture. Iyoha has possession on the right side of midfield with Ken Reichel closing down on him, one aspect of Iyoha which is strong his completion of dribbles. Last season Iyoha completed 72.5% of dribbles and it not only helps him get out of tight situations but enables him to progress the play.

Emmanuel Iyoha 2018/19 - scout report - tactical analysis tactics

Iyoha leaves Reichel in his dust and now needs to pick out Testroet in the box. Testroet is playing behind Florian Hubner and with Felix Kroos coming to help cover the space, Iyoha’s ball has to be precise. The ball from Iyoha is played away from goal towards the penalty spot which negates Hubner’s impact on the play. Testroet turns on the style with an outstanding bicycle kick which beats a stranded Rafal Gikiewicz.

Emmanuel Iyoha 2018/19 - scout report - tactical analysis tactics

Our second scenario pits Aue against St. Pauli in a game which the visitors would win 2-1. Iyoha receives the ball and chests it down, he has gained the attention of two St. Pauli players allowing Jan Hochscheidt to get in behind the defence and attack the space. A ball on the ground would allow the St. Pauli to Iyoha’s right to either intercept or at least deflect the ball away from Hochscheidt.

Emmanuel Iyoha 2018/19 - scout report - tactical analysis tactics

Iyoha intelligently plays the ball to space with a cheeky lob which gives Hochscheidt enough time to run onto the ball. He takes it first time and scores past Robin Himmelmann. Whilst only two situations, you can see Iyoha has an array of options in his arsenal to choose from. With a new team and partner up top, it should be interesting to see how his passing develops.

Onto Holstein Kiel

For the third season in a row, Holstein Kiel will have a new manager in the dugout. Tim Walter sails south to manager VfB Stuttgart after their relegation campaign the season prior. The new man in charge is André Schubert. At 47, Schubert is well travelled in German football. Paderborn, St. Pauli and Borussia Mönchengladbach where he led the latter to the Champions League. His latest effort came in the 3. Liga where he saved Eintracht Braunschweig for a second consecutive relegation. His football isn’t always loved by the fans but at Kiel, he hopes to replicate the fortunes and style of play as his predecessors.

Under Schubert, we could see Iyoha played in a variety of different ways. With a preferred system of a 4-3-3, Schubert would most likely use Iyoha as a wide player where he has had his greatest success at the professional level. On the left-hand side with Janni Serra up top and David Atanga on the right. Two quick attacking wingers with a young, talented striker up top.

If there is a two-man forward set, Iyoha and Serra would be able to complement each other quite well. Iyoha with his quickness could be a counter-attacking option against possession heavy sides. The tactics that Kiel will likeliest use are either a 4-3-1-2 or a 4-1-3-2. A flat midfield three which they used under Walter or one defensive pivot with a midfield diamond.

Conclusion

This is built up to be quite an important season for Iyoha as his chances at Fortuna Düsseldorf seem to be fading. At Holstein Kiel, Iyoha will have to hit the ground running in developing a strong partnership with Serra at the heart of the attack. Iyoha has a great opportunity with Holstein Kiel who buy into the philosophy of playing quick, full-fledged attacking football.

The question is whether Schubert will be the right man to unlock Iyoha’s footballing capabilities? A manager who has his critics with his team’s footballing philosophy and too many is a short term coach rather than someone to build a promotion challenge with. The relationship between Iyoha and Schubert will be vital. Iyoha is contracted at Fortuna Düsseldorf until 2022, a strong season in Kiel may give manager Funkel something to think this time next year.


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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.