At the start of the season, many would have scoffed at the idea of Hannover languishing near the relegation zone and Erzgebirge Aue challenging in the top five. Yet, heading into matchday 16 in the current 2. Bundesliga, this was the reality of the situation. Hannover are one of seven sides to have made a change in trainer after the lazy appointment of Mirko Slomka backfired after 12 uninspiring performances. The question remained whether Kenan Kocak was the guy to turn their fortunes around.

This tactical analysis dives into this critical 2. Bundesliga encounter, which was drama-filled until the end.

Lineups

2. Bundesliga 2019/20: Hannover vs Erzgebirge Aue - tactical analysis tactics

Trainer Kocak made two changes to the side that took a 0-1 win at St. Pauli last time out. Defender Felipe was left out of the squad while Sebastian Jung dropped the bench. Julian Korb is a like for like replacement with Jung while Emil Hansson came into the side. The shift saw Waldemar Anton move from defensive midfield into defence while Genki Haraguchi would partner Marvin Bakalorz in the defensive pivot.

Dirk Schuster made four changes from the side that lost 2-0 at Bochum last time out. With the suspension to defender Marko Mihojevic, Schuster was forced to readjust the back four. Dennis Kempe was moved from left-back to centre back, Calogero Rizzuto moving to left-back with John-Patrick Strauß coming into the side. Louis Samson was dropped in favour of the more experienced Clemens Fandrich. The real surprise came with Pascal Testroet; he was dropped to the bench in favour of on loan Freiburg Christoph Daferner.

Kocak Fussball

In just his third game in charge of Hannover, Kocak has looked to make tweaks to a side which has underachieved so far. An emphasis on pressing from the midfield pivots, consistency in defensive shape and using full backs in attack has seen a small shift in momentum. But what is noticeable in the way Hannover are now approaching both the defensive aspects and going forward? Let’s take a look.

2. Bundesliga 2019/20: Hannover vs Erzgebirge Aue - tactical analysis tactics

Our first situations look at Hannover without possession, the importance of the central and attacking midfielders, and how they look to win the ball back. Structurally, Hannover defends in a 4-4-2 with the attacking midfielder pressing alongside the striker. This allows for one of the midfield pivots to either press up or hold station. In this situation, both Haraguchi and Bakalorz remain aligned. We see Emil Hansson tucking in, to ensure that Aue is forced down the line. This means the recycling of possession is only possible by a back pass to the keeper.

2. Bundesliga 2019/20: Hannover vs Erzgebirge Aue - tactical analysis tactics

Here we have a better example of this structure. As Hannover are looking to win back possession in their attacking third, we notice that Bakalorz is prone to positioning between the attackers and Haraguchi. This limits spaces between both fronts and ensures that Aue keeper Martin Männel is forced long rather than allowing them to play out from the back.

2. Bundesliga 2019/20: Hannover vs Erzgebirge Aue - tactical analysis tactics

A follow up on the previous picture. When Aue plays out from the back and bypasses the initial high press from the attacking duo, Bakalorz can intensely press the ball carrier. By looking at the position at Philip Riese, his options are diagonal and backwards or hope the left-back drops back to create an alternative.

2. Bundesliga 2019/20: Hannover vs Erzgebirge Aue - tactical analysis tactics

In attack, the utilisation of the full-backs in the attack has become noticeable and in particular down the left. Miiko Albornoz was involved in 85 total actions against Aue, but it was his importance in attack, which made the difference. As the image above showcases, out of the 41 total attacks, 23 of those were used on the Albornoz flank.

2. Bundesliga 2019/20: Hannover vs Erzgebirge Aue - tactical analysis tactics

Here is an example of Albornoz’s involving going forward. As Hannover look to clear defensively, defender Joseph Elez brings the ball up. As Aue defend the middle of the park tightly, this allows Albornoz to make a darting run. Elez can play to Albornoz, and the attack develops. The result of the attack led to Männel making a strong reactionary save to the header from Linton Maina. This attack only had two passes attached, but the excellent run by Albornoz ensured an opportunity was available. This tactical decision worked well as Hannover nearly doubled the number of goals they’ve scored all season at home.

Defence in numbers approach

Aue are renowned in the 2. Bundesliga for being a side which is entirely defensive and under Schuster that is very much the case. As a result, Aue are in the top half of the standings and its this weight in number approach which has seen sides have some difficulty in breaking them down. This part of the analysis looks at the defensive tactics that Aue used against Hannover.

2. Bundesliga 2019/20: Hannover vs Erzgebirge Aue - tactical analysis tactics

The first scenario showcases their shape as Hannover look to enter the defensive half. The full-backs and wingers are quite wide while the attackers press the ball carriers. With this wide approach, Aue force Hannover to play the ball long or to play through the middle and break the space between the lines. In this case, Hannover goes long.

2. Bundesliga 2019/20: Hannover vs Erzgebirge Aue - tactical analysis tactics

How about when Hannover get into Aue’s defensive third? What became apparent in the second half was the lack of cohesiveness in terms of a defensive structure and here is a good example. The final defensive line has the centre backs tight together, and left-back Rizzuto is tucking in besides. Aue has been invested in winning the ball back in this area, where possession is we have an even number situation. The issue comes highlighted, As the centre-halves are tight and the right-back is challenging the area of possession, this area can be exploited by quick ball movement and runs in behind.

2. Bundesliga 2019/20: Hannover vs Erzgebirge Aue - tactical analysis tactics

The final situation looks at their set-piece defence; this optimises the defence in numbers approach. From the outset, we see the Aue set-up. Much like the defensive structure you can see in open play, Aue showcases a 4-3 set-up with two players marking Hannover players. The final outfield player is stopping the option of a short corner. This means there is a small margin of error for Albornoz to pick out a teammate.

Hannover set-pieces

Aue is renowned in the 2. Bundesliga for being a side which is entirely defensive and under Schuster that is very much the case. As a result, Aue are in the top half of the standings and its this weight in number approach which has seen sides have some difficulty in breaking them down. This part of the analysis looks at the defensive tactics that Aue used against Hannover.

2. Bundesliga 2019/20: Hannover vs Erzgebirge Aue - tactical analysis tactics

The first scenario showcases their shape as Hannover look to enter the defensive half. The full-backs and wingers are quite wide while the attackers press the ball carriers. With this wide approach, Aue force Hannover to play the ball long or to play through the middle and break the space between the lines. In this case, Hannover goes long.

2. Bundesliga 2019/20: Hannover vs Erzgebirge Aue - tactical analysis tactics

How about when Hannover get into Aue’s defensive third? What became apparent in the second half was the lack of cohesiveness in terms of a defensive structure and here is a good example. The final defensive line has the centre backs tight together, and left-back Rizzuto is tucking in besides. Aue has been invested in winning the ball back in this area, where possession is we have an even number situation. The issue comes highlighted, As the centre-halves are tight and the right-back is challenging the area of possession, this area can be exploited by quick ball movement and runs in behind.

2. Bundesliga 2019/20: Hannover vs Erzgebirge Aue - tactical analysis tactics

The final situation looks at their set-piece defence; this optimises the defence in numbers approach. From the outset, we see the Aue set-up. Much like the defensive structure you can see in open play, Aue showcases a 4-3 set-up with two players marking Hannover players. The final outfield player is stopping the option of a short corner. This means there is a small margin of error for Albornoz to pick out a teammate.

Conclusion

The result was incredibly crucial for Hannover; it’s their first win at home this season. In three matches under Kocak, Hannover is slowly turning their season around. With two games remaining at Bochum and home to Stuttgart, the possibility of being firmly in mid-table is on the cards. For Aue, this was their second consecutive defeat away from home in as many games. As is the case so often, most of their points are won at home. While they were firmly in the game, they rode their luck going forward until Hannover took firm control of the game.


Total Football Analysis Magazine #16: December 2019

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