Due to the recent dip in form of the Bundesliga favourites, Schalke were offered the opportunity to become the league leader with a win over Hoffenheim. Their opponent, on the other hand, struggled under new head-coach Alfred Schreuder at the beginning of the season.
In the end, Hoffenheim could beat Schalke in a game between two teams with similar approaches with 2-0. Both sides opted at pressing the opposition in a man-oriented way and committing many players into central areas of the pitch. As a consequence, the game did not offer many chances. And despite Schalke dominating the first half of the game, Hoffenheim were capable of winning the game with different defensive tactics in the second half.
The following tactical analysis examines why Schalke could not utilise their domination in the first half and how Hoffenheim were capable of beating Wagner’s side in the end.
Lineups and formations
Schalke coach David Wagner decided to line his side up in a 4-3-1-2 formation. While Omar Mascarell played as the anchor in front of the backline, Alessandro Schöpf and Daniel Caligiuri were supposed to support the attack and press in wide areas. Playmaker Amine Harit was given freedom during the attacking phase and took over a fluid role in midfield. Upfront, Rabbi Matondo replaced Mark Uth on the striker position next to Guido Burgstaller.
Schreuder, on the other hand, continued with the recent trend to play with a back four whereas he mostly used a back three formation in the beginning of the season. To start into the game, the Dutch coach set his side up in a 4-3-3. Especially the right side of Hoffenheim seemed very defensive with usual centre-back Stefan Posch in the right-back position while usual full-back Pavel Kadeřábek played as a right-winger. Andrej Kramaric came back into the starting lineup after an injury. The Croatian’s task revolved around dropping into midfield occasionally and utilising his playmaking abilities to help his side to progress up the pitch.
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