FC Schalke 04 Qualitative Analysis

1. Bundesliga · Fri, 25.01.2019

unionHertha Berlin

2 – 2

bochumFC Schalke 04

Table of Contents

General Notes

  • Team plays with 4-2-3-1 Formation

  • Team is extremely good in controlling the ball when being in possession

  • Players are very confident on the ball but avoid any risk actions. They lack creativity

  • Technically very skilled players

  • Team doesn’t use the offside trap. Poor cooperation between center backs

  • Intense midfield pressing after losing possession

  • Players are very agile and do not give a lot of time for an action to their opponent

Offensive Play

Transition to Offense

  • Not a counter-minded team if winning the ball in the defensive third. Center backs usually play simply long in such case

  • Attacking players usually try to carry out a counterattack after winning the ball in the middle third. They rarely set themselves at 1v1 situation relying more on the support of their teammates

  • Attacking players counterattack only if the ball was won in the midfield area and the opponent didn’t manage to reorganize himself defensively. Defensive players do not support them

Offensive Organisation

  • Team is really good in controlling the ball on the own half under a medium opponent pressure

  • Players often switch play from the left to the right side by a long pass with no further progression afterwards

  • Nastasic stays very deep when the team is in possession in the opposite half (figure 1)

  • Defenders and midfielders do not hurry to advance and remain pretty static when defenders play long

  • Left wing players (Oczipka, Konoplianka) are extremely good in controlling the ball on the left side

  • There is a lot of misunderstanding between attacking players. In a second half they became very hectic and played a lot in a rush

Figure 1. Nastasic stays very deep and staggered with Sané when the team is in possession on the opponent’s half

Defensive Play

Transition to Defense

  • Very intense midfield pressing

  • Players try to make the central area very tight (tip: use wings when counterattacking)

  • Attackers do not hurry to return back after an unsuccessful counterattack

  • Players lose their concentration if possession was lost by a throw-in (see video 1)

Video 1. Series of mistakes during Hertha’s counterattack

Defensive Organisation

  • Aggressive midfield and high pressing performed by every attacking player, but it is rather individual and not collective pressing (video 2)

  • Large space appears between defensive and attacking players when the latter perform high pressing (figure 2). Big space also appears between defensive and midfield lines after an unsuccessful midfield pressing (video 3)

  • Often not a cohesive defensive line with large distances between players appears (tip: exploit run in behind by avoiding offside, figure 3)

  • All the midfielders running back willingly during opponent’s counterattack

  • Defenders are very confident when controlling the ball and rarely make mistakes

  • Team doesn’t use the offside trap (tip: exploit short diagonal passes when counterattacking, see video 1)

Video 2. Individual, not collective pressing performed by attacking players
Figure 2. Large space appears in midfield if attackers perform high pressing
Video 3. Big space between defensive and midfield lines after an unsuccessful midfield pressing
Figure 3. Defensive line often loses its coherence when defending

Set Plays

Set Plays for

  • Fast restart with a short pass after being fouled in midfield

  • Throw-ins from the left side: Konoplianka or Oczipka, always short and without risk when in the attacking third, Oczipka throws alongside and long when in the defensive third

  • Free kicks in midfield: always short to the nearest player

  • Corners from left side: Oczipka, all players near the penalty box border, nobody near goal area

  • Goal kick: Nübel always plays sideways and long

  • Long distance lateral free kick: nobody in the penalty box, far post (figure 4)

Figure 4. Long distance lateral free kick offensive positioning example

Set Plays against

  • Medium distance frontal free kicks: all 10 players in the wall (figure 5)

  • Long distance lateral free kicks: one player in the wall, all players are on the penalty box border

  • Throw-ins: players let one of opponent players to stay unmarked if the team is satisfied with the current score. All players are marked if Schalke needs to score. Players position themselves not too close to the potential receivers, rather at approximately 3 meter distance

  • Long throw-ins to the penalty box: 10 players in own penalty box

  • Corners: no players on posts, goalkeeper in a goal area

Figure 5. Medium distance frontal free kick example



Alexander Nübel #35

22 years
193 cm
Right foot
  • Usually plays long and precisely with his right foot

  • Sometimes gives away possession when playing long or punting the ball (video 4)

  • By build-up always plays long and sideways

  • Can instantly restart the game after winning the ball with a sidelong throw

  • Very high positioned when the team is in possession in the middle third (tip: shot from midfield, see figure 6)

  • Always plays long when being chased

Video 4. Nübel’s mistake
Figure 6. Nübel positioning when the team is in possession in the middle third


Left Full Back
Bastian Oczipka #24

30 years
185 cm
Both feet
  • Good in headers

  • Very good first touch

  • Fast player, rapidly goes in a free space in front of him

  • Good in tackling

  • Strong foot is left, but can easily switch play to the right by a long pass with his right foot

  • Supports his teammates by midfield and offensive (high) pressing. Often very high positioned during defensive phase (figure 2)

  • Runs willingly to the offensive third if there is free space available on the left wing

Left Center Back
Matija Nastasic #5

25 years
188 cm
Left foot
  • Tall and extremely good in headers

  • Excellent long balls with his left foot (video 5)

  • Very good in tackling

  • Tactically very good at 1v1, difficult to beat him

  • Can be tempted to attack the player on the ball and leave a free space in behind instead of just moving backwards and delay the attack (video 6)

  • Plays long and straight when being chased by an attacker

  • Fast run to the defensive third when opponent counterattacks, conditionally very fit

Video 5. Nastasic switches play to the right side with his excellent left foot
Video 6. Nastasic attacks the player with the ball and leaves the space in behind instead of continuing falling back

Right Center Back
Salif Sané #26

28 years
196 cm
Right foot
  • Plays a quality vertical low pass through the middle

  • Lacks in agility and can be disoriented if opponent turns around quickly instead of taking the ball under control (video 7)

  • Poor in marking his direct opponent during crosses. Stays in front of him and doesn’t know his position (tip: position behind Sané’s back and he will forget about you, see video 8)

  • Often fouls when sets himself in a header duel

  • Very poor in 1v1 situation (tip: go in 1v1 against him, video 9)

  • Plays to goalkeeper when being chased by an attacker

  • Can play long to the left winger (Konoplianka)

  • Goes decisively towards opponent when at 1v1 situation, never moves backwards (tip: surge forward with the ball against him)

Video 7. Sané gives up the space in behind to his opponent
Video 8. Sané leaves his opponent behind his back which leads to a goal conceded
Video 9. Sané loses his 1v1 duel

Right Full Back
Daniel Caligiuri #18

31 years
182 cm
Right foot
  • Very confident when being on the ball

  • Very good at 1v1 situation, never loses his duel (tip: feints could be potentially advantageous against him)

  • Good at stealing the ball (video 10)

  • Weak in headers, doesn’t correctly estimate the ball’s trajectory

  • Often plays very poor long pass (video 11)

  • Mentally not strong: after having made a mistake there is a great possibility for further mistakes

  • Goes aggressively to the opponent (1v1 by simply surging forward can be useful against him)

  • Plays long balls to Skrzybski

  • Shoots from a large distance if unmarked

Video 10. Caligiuri defensive skills
Video 11. Caligiuri gives the ball away to the opponent


Defensive Midfielder
Sebastian Rudy #13

28 years
179 cm
Right foot
  • Skilled technically and can perform a quality pass even if the ball is 1 meter above the ground

  • Not confident in headers. Doesn’t goes decisively to the ball in order to win the header duel, moreover, doesn’t correctly estimate the landing point of the ball

  • Plays long and imprecisely when under pressure

  • When defending shifts close to the left side in order to support Oczipka

Defensive Midfielder
Benjamin Stambouli #17

28 years
180 cm
Right foot
  • Probably the best player when it goes to headers. Wins every single high ball in midfield

  • Same as Caligiuri, extremely confident on the ball (video 12)

  • Has a good long pass

  • Can play unnecessary high short pass when the team is on the ball in the last third (lack of attacking tactical understanding)

  • Even though he is confident on the ball, can nevertheless kick the ball long when under pressure

  • Was substituted on Bentaleb in the first half because of injury

Video 12. Stambouli’s confidence when under pressure

Right Attacking Midfielder
Alessandro Schöpf #28

24 years
178 cm
Right foot
  • Very fast

  • Can play an imprecise short pass and lose possession when under pressure

  • Chases the opponent with the ball very aggressively

  • Usually plays short to nearest players

  • Was substituted on Serdar in the 27th minute because of injury

Left Attacking Midfielder
Yevhen Konoplianka #11

29 years
178 cm
Right foot
  • Extremely dangerous when shooting with his right foot from a long distance (video 13)

  • Pass execution under pressure could be better

  • Not fast enough to beat the defender in 1v1 situation

  • When being with the ball often shifts to the central area and shoots with his right foot (tip: anticipate early this displacement to the central zone)

Video 13. Konoplianka’s very typical goal

Central Attacking Midfielder
Mark Uth #7

27 years
185 cm
Left foot
  • Confident in controlling the ball under medium pressure

  • Very dangerous left foot (do not leave him shooting even with one touch, see video 14)

  • Avoids performing risky passes. Lacks some relaxedness and creativity

  • Shoots to the right post from the goalkeeper

Video 14. Uth’s goal


Center Forward
Steven Skrzybski #22

26 years
174 cm
Right foot
  • Very fast player (video 15)

  • Good field vision. Always knows where his teammates are

  • Chases goalie aggressively

  • Was substituted on Kutucu towards the end of the match

Video 15. Steven Skrzybski speed skills


Right Attacking Midfielder
Suat Serdar #8

serdar21 years
183 cm
Both feet
  • Both feet are very good and both are used for crosses

  • Very fast and agile player

  • Often plays long and imprecisely instead of just leaving the ball under team’s control (video 16)

  • Likes to set himself at 1v1 situation, but always keeps the ball near his foot, doesn’t kick the ball forward followed by running up like Gareth Bale

Video 16. Serdar plays in a rush and gives away the ball

Defensive Midfielder
Nabil Bentaleb #10

bentaleb24 years
187 cm
Left foot
  • Very tall and extremely good in headers

  • Can lose the ball when under pressure (video 17)

Video 17. Bentaleb gives up the possession

Center Forward
Ahmed Kutucu #15

kutucu18 years
181 cm
Right foot
  • Didn’t get enough playing time