2. Bundesliga 2019/20: Bochum vs Arminia Bielefeld tactical analysis tactics

The West Derby, not the biggest derby in Germany but tell that to the passionate Bochum and Arminia Bielefeld fans. Well, on Friday night at the picturesque Ruhrstadion in the heart of the Ruhr Valley, Bochum hosted Arminia Bielefeld in a classic 2. Bundesliga encounter. The results for both sides were mixed, Bochum were quite frankly unacceptable in their 3-1 defeat at the hands of minnows Jahn Regensburg. Whilst Bielefeld dominated St. Pauli but only managed to save a point thanks to a 90th-minute equaliser through Manuel Prietl.

This tactical analysis looks to take you through a wild West Derby. An uneventful first half turned in a real classic in the second stanza. Goals from pivotal figureheads of both sides, drama until the final moments of the match. It was one hell of a match.

Lineups

2. Bundesliga 2019/20: Bochum vs Arminia Bielefeld tactical analysis tactics

After the embarrassing display in Regensburg, it was to no surprise that trainer Robin Dutt swung the axe a. Three changes were made from that side, Danilo Soares comes in to start after being left on the bench last time out, he comes in at left-back which results in Vitaly Janelt move into midfield. Thomas Eisfeld, Milos Pantovic and Tom Weilandt were shipped to the bench in favour of Chung-yong Lee and the return of Silvère Ganvoula. Dutt went for a 4-2-3-1 formation.

Uwe Neuhaus made just the one change from the side that drew in their home opener against St. Pauli. Keanu Staude was dropped to the bench in favour of Cebio Soukou who gets his first chance to start in Bielefeld colours. Marcel Hartel gets his first chance to feature for Bielefeld after joining from Union Berlin a week ago. 4-4-2 is the formation of choice.

Bielefeld’s defensive set

For the vast majority of the encounter, Arminia Bielefeld played without possession and allowed Bochum to build. The objective for this was to win possession and quickly hit Bochum on the counter. However, on countless occasions Bochum were relatively well set. The exclusion, the final goal of the match to leave the match tied at three apiece. Lets have a look at what Bielefeld are structurally and how that changed throughout the match.

2. Bundesliga 2019/20: Bochum vs Arminia Bielefeld tactical analysis tactics

In the early stages, Neuhaus implemented the 4-4-2 tactic set with Reinhard Yabo and Fabian Klos up top. Andreas Voglsammer who is a recognised striker played on the left hand side of midfield. As we can see when the ball is entering Bielefeld’s defensive half, Klos and Yabo are in the vicinity to challenge Anthony Losilla. Voglsammer is more forward than Soukou on the right and does so on multiple occasions. The idea is to claim the centre of the park and force Bochum wide.

2. Bundesliga 2019/20: Bochum vs Arminia Bielefeld tactical analysis tactics

Again in the first half, the tight 4-4-2 off the ball tactic is on display. The wingers are quite narrow relative to the touch line. What’s interesting to note is the central midfielders. Prietl normally sits deeper whilst Joan Simun Edmundsson is able to press forward. On a number of occasions, Edmundsson will help the strikers in pressing Bochum deep whilst Prietl drops deep and can be the rebound player if the situation asks for it.

2. Bundesliga 2019/20: Bochum vs Arminia Bielefeld tactical analysis tactics

Later in the game, Bielefeld reverted to 4-5-1 formation thanks to a number of substitutions made. Though the decisions seemed to back fire when Bochum took a 3-2 lead. Amos Pieper drops into defensive midfield as Prietl presses up. A triangle can form when Edmundsson is able to aid Klos in pressing the ball carriers. However, when the ball is out of reach he tucks in alongside Pieper.

Operation Clauss

With the changes made by Dutt, Bochum’s side seemed to have better synergy in comparison to the previous week. The ability to cycle the ball and go on the attack was a joy to watch and it was very effective. One part of the game plan was utilising their left wing with Danny Blum and Soares attacking Bielefeld full back Jonathan Clauss. The Frenchman has had an interesting start to life in Bielefeld, he excelled as an attacking winger but has really struggled at right back. With Cedric Brunner still out, Clauss is put in and his vulnerability is on display.

2. Bundesliga 2019/20: Bochum vs Arminia Bielefeld tactical analysis tactics

With the knowledge of Clauss being the weak link in the back four for Bielefeld, Bochum looked to exploit and did so magnificently. 50% of the attacks where used through the left channel and the combination of Soares and Blum worked well, the ability to interplay and create opportunities for Ganvoula and co. Out of the 19 occassions Bochum crossed into the box, 13 of those came from the Blum and Soares combination. The interesting stat is the expected goals (xG) when attacking from the left side, 1.37xG was expected and they manage to create all three goals from the left hand side.

2. Bundesliga 2019/20: Bochum vs Arminia Bielefeld tactical analysis tactics

In play, we can see how the duo is able to exploit Clauss. Overlapping runs and drawing the defender towards Blum on the ball allowing Soares to take the space left vacated by the drawn out Clauss. Soares is able to take the space and Behrendt marking Janelt, Bielefeld don’t have anyone to cover quickly.

2. Bundesliga 2019/20: Bochum vs Arminia Bielefeld tactical analysis tactics

Soares delivers the ball into the box but the opportunity goes begging. In a system that forces the full backs to challenge rather than jockey in certain areas, you can see where Clauss gets caught out. Another example follows.

2. Bundesliga 2019/20: Bochum vs Arminia Bielefeld tactical analysis tactics

Circled is Clauss, Bielefeld have the situation relatively well covered as Zoller is on the attack. Ganvoula is out wide but if Clauss covers, then Zoller is limited and is most likely to be stripped of possession with the three Bielefeld defenders around him. Clauss bites on the coverage and heads towards Zoller allowing Ganvoula to sneak out the back.

2. Bundesliga 2019/20: Bochum vs Arminia Bielefeld tactical analysis tactics

This decision proved costly as the help defence couldn’t come quick enough and Ganvoula equalises the game. That momentary lapse in concentration and the inability to read certain situations allowed Bochum to take full advantage. From what we learned, we saw why Brunner is heavily missed at right back for Bielefeld.

Doing as the Bochumers do

As mentioned in the previous point, Bochum enjoyed attacking down the left hand side whilst Bielefeld used a variety of different looks. However, irony is struck as the opening goal of the game came from an attack down the left hand side. This part of the analysis looks at how Bielefeld were able to exploit Bochum’s right back and how the weight of numbers overwhelmed the defence.

2. Bundesliga 2019/20: Bochum vs Arminia Bielefeld tactical analysis tactics

Left-back Florian Hartherz is on the ball, Losilla trying to cover and on-loan Arsenal U23 full-back Jordi Osei-Tutu caught in between. Stuck in trying to press Hartherz or drop back and cover the space. This moment of indecision allows Edmundsson to take advantage of the vacated space left by Osei-Tutu. Both Simon Lorenz and Armel Bella-Kotchap have distance to cover if the ball is played towards Edmundsson.

2. Bundesliga 2019/20: Bochum vs Arminia Bielefeld tactical analysis tactics

Edmundsson receives the ball with Lorenz covering. Bella-Kotchap has Voglsammer for company and Soares is tracking Klos. One-on-one matchups across the board and an early ball in, with height will fall into the hands of Klos. Pull the ball back and you allow Soukou to influence the play. Soukou has some ground to cover put with Klos attacking the six-yard box it will give Bielefeld a numerical advantage.

2. Bundesliga 2019/20: Bochum vs Arminia Bielefeld tactical analysis tactics

The ball is telegraphed by Edmundsson as the ball is played to Soukou. Soares tries to influence after dropping off Klos but Soukou is able to shift away from the driving tackle. Voglsammer is in acres of space, both centre halves aren’t close and only now is Osei-Tutu back in the frame.

2. Bundesliga 2019/20: Bochum vs Arminia Bielefeld tactical analysis tactics

Whether it was an intended pass or not, Voglsammer takes Soukou’s heavy touch and opens the scoring. Mind you had Manuel Reimann stood his ground he perhaps makes a routine save. From this angle, the Bochum defenders upon review would love their time back. It seemed nobody tracked back to help defend and allowed Bielefeld to gain a numbers advantage. That said, Edmundsson’s telegraphed pass across goal opened the elements of possibility for Bielefeld by ensuring multiple Bochum defenders out of the picture.

Dutt’s change in approach

Despite looking the more likely, Bochum faced a 2-0 deficit heading into the final quarter of the game. Dutt knew he had to throw caution to the wind and at least try and get something.

2. Bundesliga 2019/20: Bochum vs Arminia Bielefeld tactical analysis tactics

A change tactically from the 4-2-3-1 implemented for most of the game to a 4-1-3-2 formation. Simon Zoller and Tom Weilandt are the new attacking options substituted onto the park. Zoller on the right of midfield and Weilandt up top with Ganvoula. Lee was shifted to right-back whilst Losilla when Bochum where on the ball would tuck into defence. There wasn’t a whole lot of logic or thought process to what they did but the chaotic nature and increased tempo really undid Arminia Bielefeld.

2. Bundesliga 2019/20: Bochum vs Arminia Bielefeld tactical analysis tactics

The best examples of this are the prior actions to the first goal as well as there next opportunity on goal. Bochum holding onto the ball in the pouring rain before centre half Bella-Kotchap plays an excellent diagonal to Blum who controls well. Clauss recovers for Bielefeld and intercepts the cross as the ball goes out for a corner.

2. Bundesliga 2019/20: Bochum vs Arminia Bielefeld tactical analysis tactics

From the proceeding corner taken by Blum, he plays the ball quickly ensuring the Bielefeld defence can’t set. Losilla heads the ball onto Weilandt which creates chaos in the penalty box. In a moment of panic, Voglsammer fouls Weilandt and penalty to Bochum.

2. Bundesliga 2019/20: Bochum vs Arminia Bielefeld tactical analysis tactics

This unpredictable nature of Bochum’s play made it hard to defend and in turn, this opened pockets of space. Just a few minutes after pulling a goal back, Bochum were pulling the strings. Lee is in possession and you can see the space in behind the defence, he can either play the ball to Zoller running towards the 18-yard box or feed Weilandt heading towards the touchline.

2. Bundesliga 2019/20: Bochum vs Arminia Bielefeld tactical analysis tactics

It’s Zoller who received possession and in turn isn’t in an ideal position. He can’t really shoot as he is covered by Behrendt. Zoller has Weilandt in support as his best option and passes to him. At the back post is Blum, nobody near him and is an option whilst Ganvoula has the much smaller Clauss. Whilst the chance results in nothing we see Bielefeld having all sorts of issues containing Bochum’s gung-ho approach. This is exactly what Dutt hoped for with his changes and it worked, three goals in 10 minutes not only gave Bochum an equaliser but they even a lead.

Conclusion

A thoroughly enjoyable watch made largely due to an explosive second half. At best it was chaotic but in a good way. Bochum, for the most part, seemed the most likely and if it wasn’t for some good saves from Stefan Oretga and the frame of the goal playing its part, perhaps Dutt’s side takes the three points.

Neuhaus should be happy with a point. When his side fell apart in a 10-minute spell of madness, they were able to recompose and force the issue enabling the equaliser. That said, it did feel as if Dutt out-coached Neuhaus from an analysis perspective. He was able to exploit certain weaknesses fair to often and didn’t make the necessary adjustments. All in all, this was a fantastic advertisement for the 2. Bundesliga

Total Football Analysis Magazine #11: July 2019 - tactical analysis tactics
Artwork by @chapulana

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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.