During a season in which Eintracht Frankfurt finished in mid-table, Japanese midfielder Daichi Kamada played a starring role. He helped his side score more than the clubs ranked in the three places above them. His passing skill, direct and effective dribbling and ability to initiate counter attacks helped three teammates reach double figures on their goal tallies – as well as reach ten himself.
This tactical analysis will hone in on Kamada’s key attributes. We will see why Eintracht have an intriguing player on their hands and why Adi Hütter wants him to sign a new deal.
Despite only scoring twice in the Bundesliga, Kamada netted six in the Europa League, so a substantial part of this piece will focus on his output in Europe.
Goal contribution and positions
First and foremost in this analysis, Kamada scored 10 goals and provided nine assists in all competitions. This led Eintracht Frankfurt to 9th and the Europa League’s Round of 16.
Kamada played almost 2000 minutes of Bundesliga football in 2019/20. He ranked as Hütter’s fourth most-used player and this isn’t a surprise. The Japanese international is adept in a number of positions behind the striker. He has even adopted a false-nine role when needed.
Crossing and passing
Though his most common starting position is central, Kamada made 0.9 crosses per 90 in the Bundesliga; the most in the squad. This shows the fluidity Hütter entrusts him with and he certainly repays the Austrian’s faith.
Above, we see the moment before a successful cross which reached teammate Dominic Kohr in an advanced position. This created a straightforward goal-scoring opportunity.
Teammate Filip Kostić had a remarkable season. But Kamada ranked second when it came to successful passes per 90. The 24-year-old, following a successful stint in Belgium, made 1.3 key passes per 90 in the league and 1.7 in the Europa League. He also made 0.9 successful short key passes and 0.4 successful long key passes in the Bundesliga.
Despite these numbers paling in comparison to those of his Serbian teammate, Kamada’s diversity across the front line adds something to the system which helps it flow.
Versatility in attack
He put up 1.4 successful dribbles per 90 in the league and one in Europe, ranking second in the former and sixth in the latter amongst the squad. However, he played more off the right flank in the Europa League. He often used a quick change of pace or a feint to wrong-foot an opponent and move in a different direction.
Kamada’s upright running style and ability to glide and keep the ball close to his feet is not dissimilar to Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish.
The image above show Kamada’s ability to wrong-foot a defender. He often does this twice in one run. He is then able to exploit space down the flanks or in the box to create a chance.
The image shows him deceiving an opponent by dropping his shoulder. Kamada moves in a different direction with pace, alertness and whilst keeping an eye out for the best passing opportunity or position for a shot.
Kamada is equally comfortable crossing or cutting in to shoot or pass to a well-positioned teammate.
Dribbling from deep
Below, we see Kamada running from deeper. He has the ability to drop into a more reserved role in midfield in order to pick up the ball from defence. It is often fellow Japanese international Makoto Hasebe or Austrian centre-half Martin Hinteregger passing to him.
This allows him to advance. He is surrounded by superb attacking players in Filip Kostić as well as Portuguese duo André Silva and Gonçalo Paciência who generally dovetail superbly.
The image above shows how Kamada exploits space. This creates a number of different passing opportunities. He usually has around two straightforward chances to pass and a third slightly riskier option.
His ability to dribble through midfield and combine effortlessly with his attacking teammates saw Eintracht take the third-most shots in the Bundesliga last season with 14.8, behind only Bayern Munich and RB Leipzig and ahead of Borussia Dortmund. They put up a similar number of shots per 90 in Europe too.
At the age of 24, presumably at least three years prior to his peak, Daichi Kamada shows the ability to think quickly and make correct decisions whether it be in counter attacks or slower, calculated moves towards goal.
In both the Bundesliga and Europa, Kamada attempted 2.3 tackles per 90, successful with one. Again, he doesn’t come close to Kostić who was successful with 2.3 overall in Europe.
None of his defensive numbers stand out particularly. This may be an area of his game to nurture. Pressing and intercepting, closing down and positioning correctly against attacks are areas to focus on.
As highlighted previously, his age means that he has a few years to integrate at a top league like the Bundesliga. The potential to sign a new deal shows his manager and club are eager for his progress.
All-in-all, this scout report shows that Daichi Kamada is solid and an important cog in Eintracht’s system. Kamada has the capability to play anywhere across the front line. He often veers onto the wings to exploit space. He excels when freeing up space and making useful forward passes.
His passing and shooting numbers are currently nothing to shout about. However, it is progressive dribbling and willingness to drop back which make him a favourite for Hütter.
With much of the praise heaped on his teammate Filip Kostić, the former Sagan Tosu man will have to step his game up even further next season. Playing a better, more well-rounded team, Kamada’s dribbling numbers would likely rocket as there are multiple signs that he could perform better, statistically, than he did last season.