Russia vs Germany – Data Analysis

1996 European Championships

Group C – Match Round 2

Russia 0 – 3 Germany

Old Trafford, Manchester

Sunday 16th 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 covered the spaces on the right side of the field, with more of an attacking threat coming from Reuter in getting to the final 3rd and making crosses.
  • Bierhoff served as a target man throughout the match, allowing Klinsmann to drop between the lines & link play. Moller formed a secondary attacking threat beside Klinsmann in the attacking midfield position, driving forward in transition & making lots of final third entries.
  • Ziege was a constant threat on the left wing, flanked on the inside by Eilts who offered the base of midfield & often covered Ziege to afford him more freedom.
  • Sammer supported as a holding midfielder, but also made many attacking runs into the final third.

Russia Attacking Structure

  • Russia’s attack play focuses heavily on overloads on the left side, with Tsymbalar coming inside to link with Khoklov & Radimov to create build up play.
  • Mostovoi provided a threat between the lines, technically solid & good in a variety of attacking situations.
  • Kanchelskis starting position was slightly deeper given his defensive responsibilities, but his threat going forward was utilized via switches of play, from left to right, in the final third.


Value of Chances

xG Timeline:

Germany were very consistent in their application of attacks, starting the game & finishing the game very well. There was a portion at the end of the 1st half & start of the 2nd that tapered off slightly, but overall this was only a slight blip. With so many attacks it would suggest that there were lots of long range attempts, however the high scoring chance creation would suggest otherwise as indicated by the 0.98 xG on target scoring which is almost double what they achieved in the last game.

For the first twenty minutes Russia were very much in the fight, however as the game wore on they were unable to match Germany in both attacks created & the quality of attempts. They would go almost 10 minutes without registering an attack on goal in the second half, which underlined how they struggled to take advantage of what possession they would have.

Type of Chances Created

Germany enjoyed much of the ball during the match, which in turn allowed them to get their attackers into position & really threaten in the final third. Germany would create 12 of their 21 chances from build up play, but with only 5 on target it seems this strategy was more to force Russia on the back foot & was death by a thousand cuts.

Russia created 12 attacks throughout the game, with a counter attacks & free kicks being their most used route to creating an attack on goal. Both returned only one attack on target, which speaks to Russia’s inability to create enough of a threat in the final third.

What’s also immediately evident when looking at the Pass Map is the spread of Germany’s attack versus that of the Russian’s. It was clear that Russia’s asymmetrical shape would favor the right side of the park, but the distance of their key passes to goal is an indicator of how little control they would have when entering the final third. In contrast the German’s controlled the territory across both sides of the field and would look dangerous in a variety of positions.

Where Chances are Created

Germany’s attacking performance is underlined within this graphic, not only through the amount of times they entered the box, 17 of the 21 attacks came from this region of the field, but also the frequency of attacks within the golden zone (central portion of the 18 yard box). It wasn’t always pretty patterns & link up play, Oliver Bierhoff was a big threat throughout the game in the air, and Germany utilized this to great effect with Ziege’s long throw ins and their quality crossing from wide areas. Moller & Hassler also provide quality from corners for the likes of Bierhoff, Reuter & Babbel to attack, so it rounds out what a genuine threat Germany can be.

Of Russia’s 12 attacks only 2 were registered in the golden zone, and of these two attacks both were from set plays, with only one forcing the keeper to make a save. Ultimately Russia werent able to generate enough attacking intent from the time in possession that they had in the match. They would see only 39% of their xG result in a shot on goal, which is understandable for an underdog, but for a team of Russia’s quality they were simply way below par today. The speculative efforts from distance did little to sway the balance in the match, which will no doubt force the coach into a re-think for their final group match against the Czech Republic in round 3.

Who Created Chances

Statistically Jurgen Klinsmann was Germany’s most dangerous attacker, taking part in 6 attacks over all & returning 2 goals. Oliver Bierhoff also deserves a tip of the hat, as he was involved in 7 attacks overall, but with only 1 landing on target it perhaps spoke of the aerial threat he posed & the problems he created for the Russians.

Ilyan Tsymbalar was arguably the Russians most creative force, setting up two chances & taking two of his own, however Igor Kolyvanov was slightly more forceful in front of goal taking 3 attacks of his own & contributing a third of the teams xG.

Match Predictor

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.

Out verdict:

A comprehensive win for Germany both statistically & aesthetically, simply outpowered their opponent in every area.

Why not check out the Full Match Report from this match? CLICK HERE to do so.

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