Matthias Ginter is a German central defender who was born on 19th January 1994. Ginter joined Borussia Monchengladbach from fellow rivals Borussia Dortmund in the summer of 2017 and has quickly made a name for himself at Borussia Park. Ginter has started 22 out of 22 games this current 2019/20 Bundesliga season, only being substituted off the pitch once.
Ginter is a player who is on the radar of many top-flight clubs around the world, with Tottenham Hotspur the favourites to sign the 26-year-old. A move to a big-name club could earn him the chance of playing in the UEFA Champions League, having already competed in 4 out of the 6 UEFA Europa League matches Monchengladbach played this season.
This tactical analysis scout report will delve into the strengths Ginter possesses as a central defender, as well as look at why he is the perfect fit for Monchengladbach’s on and off the ball possession tactics.
Role of Ginter in-possession
One of the main ways in which Borussia Monchengladbach like to progress the ball up the pitch is by playing out from the back, and Matthias Ginter is a huge part of making this process successful. Ginter made a total of 74 passes during the game against Hoffenheim, of which 66 were successful, gaining an 89% passing accuracy percentage. Having also gained a 86% pass completion percentage throughout his whole career, it is very clear why Ginter is so effective in allowing Gladbach to progress out of their defensive third with ease.
Above we see an example in the game against Hoffenheim where Gladbach are playing out from the back. At 1-0, this is still a very dangerous yet precise method to adopt when trying to break down defensive lines. The ball is played to Ginter who is on the right hand said of the 18-yard box. As the ball is travelling to him, the two Hoffenheim players are now engaged.
The highest opposition player is going to close down Ginter, with the second occupying Gladbach’s right-fullback. As Ginter controls and plays a simple pass to the right-fullback, this then creates a 2v1 attacking situation as they look to advance across the halfway line.
The key to Gladbach’s quick forward play from the back to capitalise on the overload situation comes from Ginter’s execution of forward passes. His accuracy, weight and timing of forward passes from deep create overloads in which Gladbach then have a numerical advance to progress the ball forwards.
We again see Ginter receiving a lateral pass from Yann Sommer. He plays a simple forward pass into Jonas Hoffman who receives in the half space. This pass has then created another 2v1 attacking situation where Gladbach can progress further up the pitch. Ginter has the ability to receive and execute a forward pass under pressure in his own half.
For a central defender, this is a very difficult skill to perform successfully every time. Ginter’s high percentage of simple passes clearly shows why he is the right man for this tactic to work and be effective.
On occasions when Gladbach do play out from the back and the phase of play doesn’t involve Ginter, the position he adopts off the ball creates space for teammates to receive to play forwards.
Sometimes, Sommer (Gladbach’s goalkeeper) would be further forward than Ginter when trying to play out from the back. Ginter would be the deepest player, which stretches the opposition’s press to allow space to form for attacking players to receive.
Ginter adopts the same position, deep on the right-hand side of the 18-yard-box. He is engaging Hoffenheim’s left-striker, which then creates an option for Stefan Lainer (right back) to receive. What happened in the game was, as seen above, Ginter’s deep position also created space in the middle for Denis Zakaria to receive and take his first touch forwards. Again, this created a numerical advantage for Gladbach in the midfield third to transition forwards.
In addition, aside from Ginter’s role when in-possession playing out from the back, he also has the ability to break opposition lines by dribbling forwards. On many occasions during the Hoffenheim game, Ginter would take it upon himself to dribble forwards and start an attack, showing his bravery and confidence with the ball at his feet.
Throughout this season, he has attempted seven dribbles. Of these seven attempted dribbles, five have been successful, gaining a 71.4% success rate. Although the number of attempted dribbles seems low, the success rate at performing these dribbles is very high.
Whilst it could be argued that dribbling out of the defensive line for central defenders is a risky decision, Ginter’s high success rate adds value to the decisions he makes to perform this action.
At 1-0, late in the game against Hoffenheim, we can see Ginter dribbling forwards, trying to create another chance on goal for his team. In the above passage of play, Ginter breaks through the first opposition press, which then provides him with four passing choices, as well as the option to continue dribbling into the final third.
Not only has Ginter’s dribbling decision beat the high press and provided him with numerous passing options, but it has also again created an overload in the midfield third. Ginter has taken two main players out the game, creating huge spaces for numerous teammates to receive and play forwards.
Ginter holds two main roles when his team is in possession of the ball. His high passing statistics show that he is able to perform accurate passes to penetrate lines. The timing of these passes means his team has the attacking advantage higher up the pitch. If these passing lines are blocked then he holds the ability to individually progress his team up the pitch, and statistics have also proved he is successful at these other traits.
Role of Ginter out-of-possession
Matthias Ginter also plays a crucial role in executing Monchengladbach’s out-of-possession tactics. There were many occasions in the game against Hoffenheim where we saw him as the first defender to press the opposition when they broke into the defensive third. We also saw Ginter touch tight to the striker when the ball was being progressed forward by Hoffenheim.
When Hoffenheim were in possession and entering the final third, Ginter would step out of the back four and press Christoph Baumgartner. Monchengladbach would then deploy a back three, which became very narrow with two holding midfielders just in front.
As well as pressing the player who has his back to goal, Ginter would also press the player facing the goal and dribbling into dangerous areas. Again, he would leave the back four, which then would become a narrow back three to force the opposition out wide and away from the centre of the goal.
Due to Ginter’s high success rate when involved in defensive duels, he is the perfect player to press the ball first. As he presses the player with the ball, Gladbach would become very narrow defensively to try and force Hoffenheim to play out wide and deflect them from attacking the central area.
If the ball is retained in the defensive or midfield third and Ginter has no need to press the ball, he would be very tight against the opposition attacker. This would then mean the ball into this player would be at risk of losing possession, therefore the opposition would have to play into different areas.
When Gladbach are out of possession, they will become very narrow defensively. Ginter will be the first defensive player to press the ball or become very close to the opposition attacker to stop them from playing direct and into central attacking area.
As well as being comfortable on the ball, Ginter holds the ability to regain possession for his team due to his duels against opposition players. His role in the team’s out-of-possession tactics sees him as one of the most important players to regain possession for his team. His strength, as well as positioning off the ball makes him a highly successful player in stopping the opposition from progressing forward and penetrating his team’s defensive lines.
Technical ability with the ball
Aside from Ginter’s role within the teams in and out of possession tactics, this analysis will also dive into the individual technical traits of Ginter’s performance. Especially in the game against Hoffenheim, we saw Ginter executing many different types of passes.
During this game, Ginter performed 74 passes, of which, 66 were accurate, receiving an 89% accuracy passing percentage. In the second half, 81% of his forward passes were accurate and five out of eight passes into the final third were accurate. Ginter is a crucial player in progressing his team into penetrative areas, and we can see below one of the many times he made this happen.
After a spell of ball retention at the back by Gladbach, Ginter decides to drive forwards and perform a pass to break down opposition lines. We see his pass played into Lars Stindl, who has dropped into the half-space in between the lines to receive. This then allows Stindl to play into Alassane Pléa who can attack the space out wide.
Ginter’s ability to recognise and perform a forward pass, not just under pressure, but is so penetrative in the sense that the next passage of play after this pass allows his team to enter the opposition’s penalty area is a major strength of his game.
As well as penetrative passes, Ginter also carried out many long-range passes, another part of his game which is very strong. These long-range passes would more often than not be under minimal pressure, however, he still has the ability to make them accurate and to a teammate, no matter what distance they are.
Throughout the first half of the game, 83% of Ginter’s long passes were successful, with 50% being successful in the second half. Although he performed the same number of passes in both halves, it could be argued that the reason why this percentage was lower in the second half was down to the quicker pressing from the front by Hoffenheim, the longer the game went on. Therefore, it could be a strong argument to suggest that Ginter’s long passes are more accurate when under limited/no pressure.
In the early stages of the game, Gladbach’s full-backs ensured they were very high and wide when Ginter or Nico Elvedi were in possession of the ball. Here we see Ginter with two clear passing options. He can either play into the right half-space, or produce a long ball in behind the opposition’s defensive line. Ginter chooses the latter, which provides Gladbach with an opportunity to attack the goal.
Ginter has pressure from the furthest Hoffenheim attacker, all be it very minimal. He has time to control and pick out his next passing option. Although there were ‘safer’ options for him to retain possession, this example highlights his confidence in passing the ball, as well as showcasing why he is a key player to lead Gladbach forwards.
Ginter scored the only Gladbach goal of the game which was from a corner from the right-hand side in the first half. Ginter’s expected goal percentage (xG) for this game was 0.26, meaning he fulfilled this statistic set before the game. It is very important to analyse the way Ginter performed this action which led to the goal, as it was very unusual for a central defender to perform this technique under pressure quickly.
If we examine Ginter’s technique when he is about to strike the ball, we can clearly see that the technique is perfect to allow him to strike the ball at both side of the goal. His standing foot is aiming towards his target, as well as arms out for balance and eyes on the ball.
To react to perform this technique so quickly against oncoming defenders clearly indicates why he is making a name for himself around the world. For a central-defender, performing this action under pressure in the opposition’s penalty area could prove to be difficult. However, with Ginter performing this correct technique and being successful at it, really displays his individual technical strength when on the ball.
Throughout this current 2019/20 season, Ginter has performed a total of 15 shots. Of which, 46.7% were on target.
It is also very important to analyse the surroundings when Ginter performed this shooting action and whether the environment influenced his shot type, or was it just brilliant technique which allowed him to be successful.
As we can see above, there are many different factors that Ginter had to take into consideration when performing this shot which led to him scoring. Not only are there three opposition players located in close proximity to Ginter, but there are also six players in front of him evading his path towards the goal. His ability to also recognise the goalkeeper’s position and to aim his shot in the largest space at the goal whilst there isn’t a clear path to this space shouldn’t go unnoticed.
Not only does Matthias Ginter prove to be an influential player within Gladbach’s on and off the ball tactics, but he also shows his individual quality with the ball. He can accurately produce different types of passes to transition up the pitch, as well as technically execute difficult shots in key areas of the pitch to make his team successful.
Overall, Ginter holds numerous individual technical traits that can be used at different stages of a game to ensure his side has the upper hand on their opponents.
Although this scout report has heavily analysed Ginter’s attacking performance, his success at defending should not go unnoticed. Ginter won four out of four of his defensive duels during the Hoffenheim game, gaining a 100% success rate. In the previous game against Fortuna Dusseldorf, he won six out of seven of his defensive duels.
In the second half, Ginter won 100% of his defensive duels. As we can see above, the Hoffenheim striker has dropped into the space to receive. As a central defender, Ginter follows the striker and makes sure he is tight enough to stop any form of turn to happen. The space that he left has been covered by his fellow teammates. Ginter leaves a perfect distance between himself and the striker for him to play backwards instead of orientating forwards.
As well as being the first player to force the opposition to play backwards, Ginter also shows his strong defending duties by reading and anticipating the next pass.
In this case, Ginter reads that the through ball is going to be played into the moving Hoffenheim striker. He anticipates this pass, and starts to move to cover the space in behind. At 1-0, this is exactly what you want your central defender to do in order to stop the opposition from creating a goal-scoring opportunity.
Defensively, Ginter has shown that he can force the opposition to play backwards by deploying a good distance and body position. He has also proven that he can read penetrating passes before they are played to stop these key passes being successful and to keep his team’s lead intact.
Ginter is a solid defender who holds many traits on and off the ball. Not only can he carry out accurate passes/dribbles and shots, but he also is effective out of possession to stop the other team’s key players from attacking the goal and exploiting the dangerous areas on the pitch.
At the age of 26 with international caps for Germany, Matthias Ginter is entering the prime of his career. Teams should be jumping at the chance to sign a proven and quality player. His individual ability, along with his versatility highlights how he would be a perfect fit for the big European sides.
This tactical analysis scout report has analysed the main key strengths of Ginter’s game and how he fits into Gladbach’s tactics. Not only does he hold many strong individual traits, but he also enables Gladbach’s tactics to be successful with and without the ball.