Berti Vogts side is built within the now famous German 3-5-2 system that had brought them so much success for the better part of two decades.
Germany’s attacking set up was to cover the width of the pitch and supply different types of movement to break down the opposition lines of pressure. On the right hand side Hassler, Reuter & Kuntz combined really well. Kuntz link play saw him stay high on the opposition center back, stretching the space for Hassler to make runs from central areas diagonally into wide areas, both of whom were supported by Reuter who provided width in build up like a traditional full back, but would also move inside like a holding midfielder to cover for Hassler when he was in attack.
On the left side play was a little more functional with Bobic playing as a target man, checking to the ball and winning countless flick ons. Ziege offered natural width as a wing back, moving further forward than Reuter on the right. Ziege’s dribbling ability and pace to break space off the ball was a constant threat, aided also by Moller who attacked predominantly on the inside left, but who carried the ball through pressure allowing those in front of him to get into good positions.
Sammer’s role was perhaps the most interesting of the lot, as he frequently strode into midfield like an attacker getting on the end of through passes and making runs into the box. Yet at the same time Sammer displayed the poise and balance of a creative holding player, taking up good positions in deeper areas to circulate possession. Dieter Eilts provided coverage for Sammer, often dropping back into center back but also quickly pressing the ball in transition to prevent any turn overs from generating an attack.
Germany Starting X1
The Czech republic set up in a similar 3-5-2 system, however this quickly morphs into a 5-4-1 in the defensive phases.
Build up play had a heavy focus on the left hand side, with the supremely talented Nedved working with Nemec to advance the ball forward, and was joined by Berger later in the game.
Kuka’s impressive target man display saw him lead the line well, serving as a constant threat in transition should the Czech’s need to take the pressure off themselves after a long period of defending deep.
Poborsky’s energy as a second striker was impressive, his movements often saw him pull into a wide area in an attempt to expose the spaces at the side of Germany’s back three.
Czech Republic Starting X1
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.