This weekend’s Bundesliga fixtures saw Schalke take on Borussia Dortmund in the Revierderby. With the Bundesliga so tight this season, both sides were looking for a win to climb up the table, but in the end, it was another poor display from Borussia Dortmund, and another good display from Schalke– a display which probably should have seen them claim all three points. Dortmund simply couldn’t deal with Schalke, and as I will get into. In this tactical analysis, I’ll look at Schalke’s press and how Dortmund dealt with it, and Dortmund’s other struggles in their tactics throughout the game.
Schalke’s most used formation was their 4-1-3-2 pressing structure, as this was the defining factor in the game as I will cover shortly in this analysis. Dortmund meanwhile played a 4-2-3-1 which mostly resembled a 4-4-2 for large parts of the game, particularly in the first half where Schalke were dominant.
Schalke’s press is something I seem to have to cover every time I write about them, and yet again it was extremely effective. Schalke recorded a massive 25 high recoveries in the game, compared to Dortmund’s five high recoveries.
We can see Schalke’s 4-1-3-2 press here. The two strikers cover the central defenders, while the widest players in the midfield three cover the full-backs. Omar Mascarell acts as the holding midfielder and looks to seal the press, offering cover should any player be beaten while pressing.
We can see in this situation below the same pressing format again. Here Dortmund actually have a man over as highlighted, but Schalke cut the passing lanes in their pressing, with the player pressing the ball carrier coming from the direction of the free man. Dortmund struggled to outplay this press without committing too many men behind the ball, and so when Schalke didn’t get high recoveries they usually recovered the ball from one of Hitz’s long kicks up the pitch.
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