Russia vs Germany

Germany’s attacking set up mirrored lots of the same facets of the opening game, however the change in the strike partnership saw them alter the ball movements ever so slightly. Talisman and captain Jurgen Klinsmann came into the line up to replace Kuntz, as did Oliver Bierhoff make the line up to replace Bobic.

Hassler & Reuter continued to work well together in managing the space on the right side, with Reuter taking up a more attacking role than we saw previously against the Czech Republic. Klinsmann dropped to play more centrally than Kuntz had in the previous game, with the focus on Bierhoff to attack both posts as the main target man inside the box. Bobic had served as a target man, where as it was apparent Bierhoff preffered to get on the end of crosses versus setting up play for others.

Moller continued to make impressive attacking movements from central midfield, driving forward in transition & making lots of final third entries. Ziege was again a constant threat on the left wing, flanked on the inside by Eilts who offered protection for Ziege affording him more freedom to attack like a winger.

Sammer continued with his Libero position, supporting play as a holding midfielder as well as a pseudo sweeper and center back, but again we saw his eagerness to make attacking runs into the final third in an attempt to score.

Germany Starting X1

Russia would alter their shape for this match, moving away from the 4-1-4-1 to a more defensive 3-5-2 that fell back into a 5-3-2 when out of possession.

Russia’s attack play focused heavily on overloads on the left side, with Tsymbalar the main creative force during those moments where Russia were able to find the spare man. When dribbling inside from the wing he combined with Khoklov & Radimov to combine before feeding the strikers.

Mostovoi provided a threat between the lines, a wonder technical footballer who showed quality in a variety of attacking situations.

Kanchelskis starting position was slightly deeper given his defensive responsibilities, but his threat going forward was utilized via big switches of play, typicaly in moments of transition to attack the space behind Ziege.

Russia Starting X1


Value of Chances

xG Timeline:

Germany were very consistent in their application of attacks, maintaining the attacking dominance throughout the ninety minutes. There is a decent variety of attacks within this performance also, showing that they are mixing shots outside and inside the box well to test Kharine in the Russia goal. Germany recorded an xG of 0.98 from shots on target, which equates to about a third of their overall attack value coming from shots that tested the keeper, a score that 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 and 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.

Our verdict:

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

About the Author

Picture of Alistair Bain

Alistair Bain

Alistair is a native of Hamilton, Scotland, and an A License qualified coach with vast experience in the football industry. Currently residing in Charlotte, North Carolina, Alistair's resume includes a variety of roles within football clubs in Scotland, England, and the United States.

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