1996 European Championships
Group B – Match Round 1
Germany 2 – 0 Czech Republic
Old Trafford, Manchester
Sunday 9th June 1996
By Alistair Bain (@allybain)
To give us some context on the data here is a quick overview of each team:
Germany Attacking Structure
- Germany’s attacking set up was built to cover the width of the pitch, and supply movement in front of & behind the opposition lines of pressure.
- Hassler, Reuter & Kuntz covered the spaces on the right side of the field. Kuntz link play saw him stay high on the opposition center back, Hassler made many runs from central areas diagonally into wide areas, and Reuter provided width in build up but also deeper coverage in defensive transitions.
- Bobic served as a target man in many phases, winning countless flick ons, Ziege was a constant threat in wide areas both in & out of possession, and Moller attacked predominantly on the inside left side, but was always looking to get on the ball & make forward actions.
- Eilts & Sammer to provide a supporting mechanism centrally. The deeper players linked each side of the attack, but in the case of Sammer it now gave him license to break forward into unmarked territory.
Czech Republic Attacking Structure
- Build up play had a heavy focus on the left hand side, involving Nedved, Nemec, and laterally Berger.
- Kuka’s impressive target man display saw him lead the line well, and be a constant out ball when defending deep.
- Poborsky’s energy as a second striker often saw him pull into a wide position to offer an additional threat.
WHAT DO THE NUMBERS TELL US?
Value of Chances
xG Timeline – Despite the Czech Republic recording the 1st attack of the match, Germany very quickly asserted their dominance & maintained a higher attacking value throughout the remainder of the match.
Chance Value – Germany’s attacking performance was clear for all to see, they would maintain a decent hold on the game and then open up their superiority in the second half. While the quantity of attacks was solid, where they will look to improve next time is in their actual value. We’d see them return 0.42 xG from shots on target, which suggests that they gave themselves roughly 42% chance of scoring. Returning two goals from this xG is impressive, but hardly sustainable over longer periods.
The Czech’s would set up in a more conservative defensive structure than the Germans, so would have to use attacking transitions to move forward. This required a quality over quantity approach, and the need to be clinical when called upon. They would create 1 big chance in the game, but would fail to score it, which on another day could have altered the game significantly.
Type of Chances Created
Germany’s chance creation from open play was impressive, as they would convert 3 of their 4 Build Up attacks on target. Perhaps less so impressive in counter attacks with only one landing on target, but ultimately they were able to break down a solid defensive unit without the over use of set plays, which bodes well for this German side. All of Germany’s key passes would also come from central areas of the field, which illustrates the spread in quality they possess across the field. Their wide players certainly contributed in this match, but the patterns we saw were less reliant on direct crosses into the box, which again shows how versatile this German team are.
Five of the Czech’s nine attacks came from build up play, which shows us in transition they want to progressively move themselves up the field. Nemec & Bejbl did a good job of layering the attacks so Nedved/Poborsky & Kuka could position themselves before advancing. There is some work to do however, as only 1 of their 6 attacks from open play finished with a strike on target.
Where Chances are Created
If we were to be critical of Germany’s attack play we’d have to look at their actions inside the box. While they are missing talisman Klinsmann in this first game, the quality of their play inside the box isn’t where they needed it to be. Only 2 of their 8 attacks were on target, despite 6 of these attacks taking place inside the Golden Zone (within the center area of 18 yard box). Outside the box Germany were far more deadly, with two goals coming from their two shots on target (5 total attempts). Both goals were strikes from the central area just outside the top of the 18 yard box, which resulted in lower probability scoring within the xG model, and thus contributed to a lower overall expected goals value.
The Czech’s were able to penetrate the box on 5 occasions in this match, but the lack of shots on target overall will lead to them being disappointed. 22% of their expected goals came from attacks that tested the keeper, which in a match against an opponent of this size unfortunately wont get the job done.
Who Created Chances
Andreas Moller was Germany’s best statistical attacker, in a match which saw him directly involved in 5 attacks on goal. He would shoot three times on his own, scoring once, and would provide two key passes for his teammates.
Patrick Berger was the Czech’s best statistical performer, involving himself in 4 attacks in only 45 minutes of football. Its abundantly clear he has been instructed to shoot from whichever angle or distance in which he has the space, so fully expect his attacking output to continue to grow.
Using our very own Retro Football Analysis Match Simulator, we use the probability rating of each attack to calculate the odds of the matches outcome. Here are the results we got back.
Given the strength of this performance and the gap in quality I’d have saw Germany score higher than this, however where its clearly weighted is Germany’s strikes from distance and not enough big chances in the central areas of the 18.