In this scout report, we had an eye on Florian Wirtz – the youngest goalscorer ever in Bundesliga. The 17-year-old, right-footed midfielder plays for Bayer Leverkusen and won this year the Fritz-Walter medal. This is the highest award for German talents. Players like Kai Haverts, Timo Werner and Joshua Kimmich won it before. Bayern Munich and Liverpool have the 175 cm big and 68 kg weighty midfielder in their scout reports for ages. Since Florian Wirtz joined Leverkusen last winter, he played nine top-flights, mostly on the wing. Nowadays, he is already worth ten million Euros.
In this analysis, we aim to show you why the youngest player to ever play for Leverkusen is already on an astonishingly high level. Not only is he well educated in passing, dribbling and finishing, but he is also useable in various tactics.
Florian Wirtz’s passes
Wirtz had his breakthrough after the restart. He can play on every position in the offensive line behind the strikers. Based on his technique, the youngster plays precisely accurate cross-field passes and through balls. Leverkusen register close to Bayern Munich and Dortmund the team with the most possession in Germany. So Wirtz is a good fit in these tactics. His overall passing accuracy of 83.77% underlines his superb technique.
Moreover, Wirtz completed 1.4 deep balls per game, which is the tenth best value in Bundesliga. This is an indication for Wirtz using his technique efficiently. Efficiency is more asked than a skilful winger, who isn’t developing a strong and direct running to the penalty area. Also, deep balls are way harder to play than horizontal balls. This value emphasises Wirtz’ good passing accuracy.
The tactical analysis above shows Wirtz using his technique intelligently. He was playing for Germany’s youth national team. After Wirtz got the ball in the situation, he sped up. He shifted the game from to the right-wing, as he dribbled for a few meters. Although the opponent attacked Wirtz vigorously, the youngster demonstrated his overview. Wirtz realised the space on the other side of the pitch. He also recognised his unmarked teammate on the right-wing.
As you can see in the analysis, Wirtz played a perfectly timed cross-field pass. Thereby he was at the maximum pace. Playing a pass as this one offers more dimensions for counter-pressing situations. You do not need to have the ball in the centre as a team anymore.
Wirtz passing game is even more dangerous if he has the ball around the penalty box. The right-footed can serve the ball with an exact timing into the penalty area. Still, 68% of his passes into the penalty area are accurate and successful. This is a threatening weapon. Wirtz combinates technique with overview and tactics.
In the scene above, Wirtz played for Leverkusen’s U19. He played a through ball in the other way of his route direction. Before the pass, Wirtz dribbled into zone 14 from the left wing to shift the defenders into the centre. As a consequence, the marked space opened up. This space seemed to be harmless, as no one of Wirtz’ teammates was around. But this space has to be exploited if defensive lines are organised and close as in the picture above.
Again, Wirtz recognised the crossing route of his right-winger. So, Wirtz played the through ball, as the space was at the maximal size. Because his teammate was still far away from the space, Wirtz demonstrated his feeling for the pace of the ball. This pass solely cracked the defensive line, which makes Wirtz a strong passer.
The next image shows a similar situation. In this situation, Wirtz had played for 1. FC Köln’s U17. It is notorious, that Wirtz got the ball again on the wing and afterwards he dribbled into the centre. Thereby, he stepped also one step back, before he played the through ball. Also, one opponent pressed Wirtz. The German did not get worked up for another perfect timed pass. Playing passes under pressure, gave Wirtz the dimension of unexpectedness. Unexpectedness is an advantage to lever out a defensive line.
As you can see, Wirtz anticipated the situation earlier as the rest again. He lobbed the ball before his teammate was not even close to the space. As a consequence, Wirtz played the ball again with a lot of feeling. So, the ball was played as a through ball and not as a long ball with the goal of winning the one-on-one after.
All in all, Wirtz demonstrated his technique and overview of his passing play. Moreover, he knows how to use them together efficiently. He is a real threat if he can structure his team’s attack as the opponent fanned out. He can play different ways of vertical passes. This is noticed positively in scout reports.
Analysis of finishing against organised defences
Wirtz is also dangerous in front of the goal. In Bundesliga, he scored one goal compared to 0.55 expected goals so far. While Wirtz played four games for Leverkusen’s U19 he scored two goals and assisted for three. Enough for coach Peter Bosz to back on the 17-year-old talent. In the tactical analysis below, you can see Witz’ dribbles in the final third.
The blue rhombus shows the position from which Wirtz scored. After dribbling in the final third, Wirtz had an expected goal rate of 3.64. Again, he outscored this value with seven goals! The white circles illustrate the position, where Wirtz kept possession after dribbling. It is notable, that he kept possession in 75.6% of his dribbles in the final third. These two facts tell us, that firstly Wirtz is difficult to separate from the ball. And secondly, his finisher is a real threat.
In other words, Wirtz is a good fit for tactics with a lot of possession. Defences will play against these teams in a close-packed, deep standing defensive block. They will be organised and try to close the passing and shooting alley. These teams try to force the dominating team into direct one-on-ones. Situations, in which Wirtz can give a fine display with his dribbling skills. Also, these teams allow only shots from the distance. Wirtz has an accuracy of 66.7% for his distance shooting.
The image above shows this kind of situation. He played in this picture for Köln’s U17 again. The last line of the opponent was organised. They pressed against Wirtz in zone 14 with two central midfielders. An astonishing number here is Wirtz number of offensive duels. The youngster conducted 15.19 offensive duels per 90 minutes. This is the third-highest value in Bundesliga. Also, he demonstrated a success rate of 36.92% for these duels. So he is looking for direct engagements, tries to pull some opponents to himself and afterwards to finish or play the last pass. He finished this attack with a knuckleball, which hit the bar. His shooting technique is noteworthy here to underline his technique again.
The next tactical analysis shows a goal from Wirtz in Leverkusen’s U19. The opponent was again organised and close-packed. Leverkusen trained their talents to find playful solutions against well-organised defences. Wirtz got the ball in front of the penalty area. Afterwards, he entered the area with speed. Five opponents pressed him. Nevertheless, Wirtz demonstrated his touch again. He feinted them with short and quick sidesteps. At least he finished the attack with a precise curler in the right corner. Wirtz change of pace and his control were crucial for outplaying the defensive block.
In the analysis above is again a situation where he played for Köln’s U17 team. Wirtz can also finish due to an intelligent route and an accurate instep kick. You can see in the analysis above, that Wirtz’ teammate served the ball from the right-wing in a counterattack. Wirtz ran into the space behind the penalty point. As he got the ball from the right side, he shot with his left foot. By having his standing leg on the side, from which the ball came, a player can shoot stronger. Wirtz scored in the other way than the keeper runs accurately in the right bottom corner.
Combination of touch, tactics and tempo changes
Wirtz has the fifth most dribbles in Bundesliga per 90 minutes. He had over seven dribbles per match. Wirtz showed special dribbling for Bayer Leverkusen in Bundesliga match against Bayern. He demonstrated in this situation how good he already is. In this situation, he combined his ball control with his education of tactics and his changes in pace. Also, Leverkusen’s first team want to find playful solutions. They want to produce chances of high quality instead of a preferably high quantity of chances.
First of all, you can see that Wirtz held his position on the right-wing. The ball was in zone 14. Instead of running too early into the penalty box, Wirtz gave his teammate the chance to play a more defensive pass. Besides, Wirtz obviated an offside position. Another effect of his tactics was, that he was still unmarked, as he did not close the distance to the 2018 World Cup winner Lucas Hernandez. Wirtz got the pass at the level of the last line. He upped his pace already. He made 2.34 progressive runs like this per 90 minutes.
The youngster entered the penalty box and ran hard into the centre. After Wirtz had possession, he speeded up to the maximum. Thereby, he had a close touch, that he contacted the ball with every step. As you can see, Thiago came to double Wirtz and also to close the alley to the goal. Now, Florian Wirtz made a deciding move as he sidestepped. Firstly, he decelerated his speed quickly and then he touched the ball with two contacts per step. This ball control is extremely difficult to defend, especially in the penalty box. Opposing teams want to avoid penalties.
Wirtz feinted Hernandez enough to move inside, but Thiago closed almost the alley. Leverkusen’s winger recognised Thiago before, so he had a plan of how to finish. After the ball laid at this left foot, Wirtz finished with another scoop into the left corner against Manuel Neuer, the best keeper in the world. This was the first Bundesliga goal for Florian Wirtz.
Lack of physicality and experience
Wirtz is already on a high level, but he needs to gain experience, experience and experience. But he plays in a good environment with international-classy teammates. Also, coach Bosz places his trust in the Fritz-Walter medal winner. The analysis below shows a situation, where he could be more successful if he had some more experience.
You can see, that Wirtz dribbled again into the penalty box. The opponent already pressed him with three defenders and a fourth wanted to block an alley for a shot. The timing for the finisher was good because the fourth defender was not close to Wirtz. But Wirtz tried the more difficult shot into the upper left corner. This was also a difficult position for a right-footed player. He missed it. Instead, he should have tried to score with the inside of his boot into the lower right corner. The alley was big enough and he would have wrong-footed the keeper.
But the 17-year-old has enough time to learn this kind of coolness. Furthermore, Wirtz has some lack of physicality due to his age. As a consequence of this lack, he only recovered 4.91 balls on average per 90 minutes. This is the 93. Place in Bundesliga. Also, he only won 14.29% of his aerial duels. In the tactical analysis below is a situation, where Wirtz lacks aggression in the Bundesliga match against SC Freiburg. Leverkusen press high to win the ball back as fast as possible. Peter Bosz originates from Cruyff’s school.
Freiburg had a throw-in in their half. Vincenzo Grifo controlled the ball not very well. The ball jumped in the direction of Wirtz. Instead of pressing Grifo now, Wirtz covered the passing alley to Freiburg’s goal line. So, Grifo came to the ball first and played a cross-field pass. This pass overplayed Leverkusen’s pressing tactic and led to an opportunity for Freiburg. If Wirtz had pressed him, Grifo would not be able to play this ball so accurate.
Florian Wirtz is one of the most impressing talents in Europe. Every top team has some scout reports about him. He has every ability that an offensive midfielder needs, especially for dominating teams. He unites technique, efficiency, goal threat, creativity and tactics. His first goal in Bundesliga against Bayern Munich demonstrates Wirtz’ level.
On the other hand, Wirtz is very young and has to gain more experience. Leverkusen is a perfect spot for gaining experience on a high level. We also mentioned in this scout report, that he lacks some physicality, but this is a balancing act. Building up some muscles could also lead to a lack of mobility and pace. All in all, we will have some great fun with Florian Wirtz at Leverkusen.