Finding a new club for Mario Gotze 2019/20 - Scout Report - tactical analysis tactics
Gotze moves down as part of Dortmund’s front three between Dusseldorf lines, before switching play.

Mario Götze, a name most recognised in the wider football world for his famous World Cup final goal in 2014, earning Germany their fourth title and individually the man of the match award. Since then, Götze’s career has spiralled out of direction and seen a huge fall from the heights of his early playing days. His best seasons statistically came during his 2013-2016 phase at Bayern Munich following a $34 million move to the German giants from rivals and boyhood club Borussia Dortmund, motivated by his desire to play under manager Pep Guardiola, and at the time Götze was quoted as the ‘German Messi’ by footballing legend Franz Beckenbauer. Götze returned to Dortmund in July of 2016 in search of his world-class form that had previously brought him into the spotlight amongst the worlds best. But it seems it was never found and in recent years has fallen out of favour under numerous managers, having to settle for appearances off the bench and never truly establishing himself in the Dortmund starting eleven since his return As a result, Dortmund announced in early June Götze will be leaving the club at the end of the season, currently making him a free agent. A sad ending to a strong player-club relationship, but all is not lost for Götze and his football career being in the prime age of 28, and still showing glimpses of his former world-class playmaking he was once known for.

Personally, I believe Götze still has the ability and potential to perform for some of the world’s best teams, and clubs would be wise to gamble on the German’s signature before the presumption of the 2020-21 season. In this tactical analysis, I will start by comparing metrics of Götze’s best seasons and his more recent seasons to help empathise the plummet in form. I will go on to discuss Götze’s general style of play as well as detailing three of his best abilities from his previous season in the Bundesliga. I will then proceed in this scout report using analysis to breakdown five teams from around the world which I believeGötze’s style of play would best match tactically, offering the most sensible destinations for him in the future, benefiting both club and player.

Comparison and Decline

Pre 2014 FIFA World Cup, and during his tenure at Bayern Munich saw Götze perform at his best. In the 2013/14 season, he totalled 20 goals and 15 assists in 56 appearances, average a goal or assist every 99 minutes played. The following season he combined for 23 goals or assists providing an impressive xG of 15.52. Compare this to his last four seasons at Dortmund combined (2016-2020) where he averaged only a goal or assist every 191 minutes played through 116 appearances, more than twice as long as his better Bayern days. Throughout the last four seasons combined Götze had a low xG of 14.67, also only attempting 295 dribbles in the four years. Götze had previously attempted 199 and 261 dribbles in the 2013/14 and 2014/15 season’s respectively in Munich, showing a drop in the maestro’s confidence on the ball. His debut season for Bayern saw him complete 118 key passes, backed up by 115 the next, compared to a reduced 26 key passes for Dortmund last season. When we average these key passes with minutes played, this figure actually offers a bright spot for Götze averaging a key pass every 29 minutes in 2013/14 then every 37 minutes in 2014/15, compared to an improved figure of a key pass every 25 minutes last season. A small improvement, but helps show Götze still possess’ the attacking wit and accuracy in the final third. Last year he had an xG of 2.47 and an xA of 3.26, far too low for any player wishing to start for one of Germany’s biggest clubs, let alone wanting to live up to previous hype of world-class status. Through Götze’s days in Munich, we are also shown his defensive capabilities with 219 ball recoveries for his side through a two-season span (2013-2015) contributing heavily to a pressing style most effective for the German and now European champions.

Finding a new club for Mario Götze 2019/20 - Scout Report - tactical analysis tactics
Götze’s minutes played vs goals and assists over career span.

Style of Play

Mario Götze is an attacking playmaker who can be deployed in multiple roles, making him a valued asset to any team. Most recently being used as a ‘false 9’ for Dortmund, Götze has also played as a 10, narrow attacking midfielder, wide winger and even as a central 8 early in his career. He is extremely flexible when it comes to positioning and proven to be effective in multiple tactical set-ups. He likes to roam in and out of position, aiming to find pockets making himself hard to defend against. Perhaps his best attribute is finding space between the lines of the opposition whether this develops from dropping down as a 9 up top, or drifting into these spaces off the shoulder of midfield opponents in a 10 role. He is successful at this also when shifting inside from the wide flanks into half-spaces, continuing to bring fellow teammates into the game with simple bounce passes. Götze moves the ball as quickly as possible with short sharp passing always looking to limit his touches to one or two, and is extremely dangerous when linking up in the attacking third with his quick burst of pace in ‘one-two’ combinations off the ball. The German specialises in the simple ‘give and go’ passing philosophy and is very good at breaking down the tightest of opposition defence’s where space has been heavily limited. Despite his size (5ft 9), Götze is surprisingly strong and physical, showing quality holding up the ball when played to his feet up top, using his low centre of gravity to get his body between ball and opponent, advancing to link midfielders into the game or furthermore switch the play to the opposition’s weak side being skilful on both feet and tidy working in tight areas. Technically a strong and advanced player useful in many tactics.Götze in recent seasons hasn’t driven and dribbled at opposition defence’s as he previously did in his younger years, instead opting to offload quickly and use sharp linkup play. This is possibly a result of speed he has lost through fitness and metabolic issues of the past. Maybe this suggests to us that he doesn’t suit wide positioning for big clubs if he isn’t as capable and confident in 1v1 situations as other better-equipped wingers will be. In and around the goal, Götze is not a long-distance shooter and prefers to work the ball into the penalty area getting as close as possible before pulling the trigger. We see from the image below off all his shots from last season (excluding penalties). He is notably dangerous on the counter-attack having the capability to spray passes forward quickly in transition, matching this with well-timed effective forward runs and a desire to get forward. Possibly his most underrated trait though is his pressing actions and defensive contributions. Being a part of Bayern, Dortmund and Germany sides which heavily rely on pressing effectively and swiftly in transition, Götze has embedded this into his game and excels at ball recoveries in opposition area’s averaging 2.4 of these actions per game in his 2014/15 season with Bayern Munich. With pressing out of possession becoming more and more popular in professional football today, the desire for a player like Götze who is comfortable with high-intensity defensive work and equipped to turn over possession in attacking areas, increases heavily and is an attractive attribute for prospective clubs. Finding a new club for Mario Götze 2019/20 - Scout Report - tactical analysis tactics

False 9 

In the past, both Bayern and Dortmund have taken advantage of Götze’s positional adaptability isolating him upfront and allowing him to perform the ‘False 9’ role. A False 9 is essentially a centre forward or a striker who drops deep into the midfield area and plays the role of a playmaker rather than an out-and-out striker due to various tactical reasons. This consists of Götze dropping deep off the opposition’s defensive line in possession with sharp movements, attempting to drag a centre-half down and create space in behind for diagonal runs of his wingers. This movement also sees his side momentarily outnumber the opposition in central areas with Götze now being positioned as a 10, as he attempts to receive the ball in spaces between the lines. This suited the possession-based tactics of Guardiola at Bayern Munich as it meant his side had control in the middle of the park, and aided Dortmund more recently who’s midfield would look to link with Götze when he found space allowing the attacking wide-men to get forward.The German is most dangerous when he receives between the opposition lines, is allowed to turn, and play passes through the opposition defence for the like’s of Jadon Sancho and Marco Reus running on. The image below illustrates this with Gotze dropping down finding a huge pocket of space between Inter Milan’s midfield and defensive line offering an effective passing lane for centre-back Mats Hummel’s to play out of Inter’s press.

Finding a new club for Mario Götze 2019/20 - Scout Report - tactical analysis tactics
Dropping down in a False 9 fashion.

As Götze is not tracked by the Inter centre-back in this movement, nor is his run picked up by an Inter central midfielder, Götze is afforded the time and space once he receives to turn and attack the now outnumbered and vulnerable Inter defence. Notable is the width maintained by Dortmund right-back Achraf Hakimi in the build-up phase allowing the space to develop centrally for Götze to drop down and operate in. The benefit Götze brings to his side when he plays underneath is again shown here against Hoffenheim in the Bundesliga. We see Götze start high pinning down the Hoffenheim back four, recognising the space below him to penetrate, and timing his run well to receive and turn with ease. Consequently, this movement turns a phase of play where Dortmund are under pressure playing out from the back into a 4v4 attacking scenario with the wingers Sancho and Thorgan Hazard cutting inside, through one simple pass.

Finding a new club for Mario Götze 2019/20 - Scout Report - tactical analysis tactics
Recognising space below and making the best use of it.

The eagerness and work rate of he to move vertically is unique among forwards and a special asset to his game. When Götze operates as the False 9 he is very comparable to the likes of Roberto Firmino at Liverpool, as well as Lionel Messi at Barcelona when he has played in centralised areas in the past. Again the positioning of his fellow teammates are crucial to create the areas underneath the forward line for him to operate in, and not kill the space by being attracted to the ball. This demonstrates the discipline, patience and positional awareness needed by Götze and his teammates in order to successfully play through and break opposition lines. His link-up play and quick passing is extremely effective in the False 9 role, often drifting into wide positions below the winger in an attempt to switch the play from one half of the field to the other and attack the opposition’s weak side. On his day, Götze has shown to be very productive in this role, pulling the strings in games for Dortmund in the past and becoming effectively unmarketable for opposition defence’s through positional flexibility and possessing an exceptional technical skillset to play his team out of tight areas.

Wide 10 

To further examine Götze’s positional flexibility we’ll take a look at how he operates in wide area’s of the pitch and what positive benefits this can bring to teams in the future. When played as a winger or wide 10 in a front three for Dortmund this season as part of a 4-3-3 or 3-4-3 formation, he prefers to receive the ball to his feet instead of running in behind on the end of through balls. This suits Götze’s style as he doesn’t possess the mid to long-range acceleration or dribbling flair to take on opposition defenders, instead opting to breakdown defences through intricate link-up play and effective off the ball movement. When he receives in the wide area’s, Götze will look to play the inside square pass to a lone forward or central midfielder, moving quickly into tight spaces hungry to receive the ball instantly and progress forward through ‘one-two’s’ or ‘wall passes’. Keeping his passes to one or two touches, Götze will make darting runs either underneath Dortmund’s centre-forward moving centrally from wide area’s to link play or make combination play with an overlapping fullback often releasing the runner into the final third in the wide area’s. Götze’s impressive stat achieving a key pass every 25 minutes last season is heavily contributed by this movement inside from wide channels in the attacking third, allowing him to drift centrally and penetrate the opposition penalty area due to the dilemma he creates for opponent full-backs as to whether they should track him out of position or not, potentially leaving unprotected spaces out wide. Finding a new club for Mario Götze 2019/20 - Scout Report - tactical analysis tacticsAgain we’re seeing Götze’s positional flexibility and courage to roam cause challenges for the opponent, similar to the False 9 role. Receiving in wide area’s also allows Götze more time and space to create in the final third and assess all his options before playing a killer pass, which he often isn’t afforded in central areas. Against Werder Bremen earlier last season, we saw the effectiveness for Dortmund when he is afforded time in wide area’s, as he picks out the perfect switch pass in a transition moment for the on-running Hakimi, which ultimately lead to a shot on goal for Dortmund.  This also bolsters the argument for the threat Götze possesses on the counter-attack, trusting his instinct and making quick creative plays where others might take time and kill momentum going forward. Finding a new club for Mario Götze 2019/20 - Scout Report - tactical analysis tacticsIn my opinion, Götze’s best position is as a wide 10 simply because it gives the German more time on the ball to showcase his playmaking and threatening ingenuity in attack for his side, picking out the right passes and moving inside off the flank unmarked through combination play. He also brings the best out of his rapid teammates Sancho, Hazard, Erling Haland and his fullback counterpart using his experience to recognise when its best to hold the ball up out wide and bring these players into the game through perfectly placed through balls in-behind oppositions defensive lines.

Pressing 

As previously mentioned Götze has been apart of some of the world’s best pressing teams and squads which helped kick-start the ever-evolving pressing theme out of possession in Europe’s top footballing leagues we see today. In his early days at Dortmund, he was introduced to the now famous Gegenpress popularised by Jürgen Klopp, and further nurtured into a similar intensive yet effective defending philosophy by Guardiola at Bayern. Whatever position Götze is deployed in, he’s learnt how to constructively and successfully press in transition to defence through experience with this tactical system and always shows the desire and work rate to win possession back as quickly as possible for his side. This is one of his best traits and has lead to many successful defensive actions for the individual, winning the ball high up the pitch for his team and immediately being off danger to the opposition goal. Götze has a pressing intelligence and cleverness many attackers in modern football do not own, making him a valuable addition to any top side who choose to press high in defence, squeezing and eliminating opponent space to play through as part of their football philosophy. Pressing can be ineffective and a waste of energy for any individual not backed up in the action by the other nine outfield players, expressing the importance of the manoeuvre being a collective effort and worthwhile as it can be physically exerting. Different variations of pressing have been developed in recent football history such as the ‘3 Man Lock’ where a team allows the ball to be played to the full-back or a centre-half in wide areas before pressing them horizontally. Three players then eliminate the three main options for the ball carrier, forward pass down the channel, sidewards pass into midfield and backwards pass into defensive line and/or goalkeeper by marking tightly to the immediate options of these passes, squeezing the ball carrier to go long in a 50/50 pass or attempting to dribble out of the situation which is unlikely to be successful, given he is surrounded by the three opponents pressing. Tactics like these when used correctly force the ball carrier into mistakes and turnover of possession for the pressing team. We see here against Schalke the 3 Man Lock pressing system being used by Dortmund, with Götze leading the press by angling his run to the ball carrier so that he first blocks off the backwards passing channel for the ball carrier, then secondly proceeds to pressure the Schalke centre-half from behind.

Finding a new club for Mario Götze 2019/20 - Scout Report - tactical analysis tactics
Götze eliminating backwards pass in ‘3 Man Lock’ press.

This pressing action leads to a turnover for Dortmund as the ballcarrier had no passing options, and Dortmund then used possession to immediately counter and create a goal-scoring opportunity. A further demonstration of Götze’s pressing capabilities is demonstrated here with the German leading a ‘high press’ for Dortmund, attempting to stop Bayern from playing out from the back by blocking forward passes into the midfield, conceding space on the opposite flank of play in order to close Bayern deep into one side of the pitch and force a long ball or critical error in and around the penalty area. Götze’s role here is to lead the press and decide when to step on to the ball carrier and when to hold, as he’s been deployed as the centre-forward by manager Lucien Favre. When Götze proceeds forward in the high press, the rest of the team must follow behind him in his actions, making his leadership and decision making critical to the completion of the defensive action. He will often press on triggers or queues such as a backwards pass or when the ball carrier has taken multiple touches and is struggling for passing options, these are when the opposition becomes most vulnerable in possession. It becomes very difficult for any side to play out of a well-drilled high press, and having a player like Götze who is comfortable and experienced in this defensive philosophy gives us another reason as to why he is a valuable addition to top teams in modern football.Götze

Five Best Suitors 

So where will Mario Götzebe playing his football in the 2020-21 season? He is still a top player with many years of football left in his locker and has proven in the past he can be amongst the world’s best in his position. The obvious risk involved in signing the 28 year old for any club is whether or not he can, in fact, reach the heights and performances of his former self. For the purpose of this tactical analysis, I will not be taking into account media news and speculation, player motivation and values, money negotiations and other uncontrollable and unknown influences that affect player signings today. Instead, I have focused purely on which clubs Götze tactically fits into and possess’ a style of play which with his addition, will benefit both the club and the individual. I’ve analysed many clubs around the world expanding into their principle playing style, and manager’s philosophies to provide a brief of the top five teams which I believe he should move to this summer. These clubs are put in no particular order and each offers different elements to partner Götze’s game.

RB Leipzig

Julian Nagelsmann has revolutionised RB Leipzig this season and continues to impress and inspire as a young German coach taking the world by storm. Leipzig often deployed in 3-4-3 formation with a narrow front two 10’s supporting the centred 9, or 4-4-2 variation with the two wide midfielders cutting inside, both formations aiming to open space in the wide areas for their potent wing-backs. Naglesmann’s philosophy in possession heavily evolves around rotation using the full width of the pitch to get the wing-backs Nordi Mukiele and Angeliño on the ball higher up the field, with often one the two 8’s moving across splitting the centre-back and wing-back. The next phase is where Götze would come in. The advanced wing-back with possession in the wide area’s now needs an advanced forward of the trio to move sharply down off the defensive line and square to the wing-back, offering the horizontal pass between the opposition midfield and defensive line.

Finding a new club for Mario Götze 2019/20 - Scout Report - tactical analysis tactics
Götze moves down as part of Dortmund’s front three between Dusseldorf lines, before switching play.

This player needs to be comfortable operating in tight spaces, quick on the ball in his decision making, inventive in finding pockets of space in front of the opposition back four and possess the ability to switch the play for Leipzig to the opposite and advanced wing-back. Through this scout report, Götze has shown he is a master of these skills from his time at Dortmund and Bayern and would be a very good fit for Nagelsmann’s side and a sensible replacement for the lately departed Timo Werner now of Chelsea, if played as a wide attacker in Leipzig’s front trio. The German has played in the Bundesliga his entire 10-year professional career making the transition into Nagelsmann’s squad an easy one, offering experience and a spark for Leipzig in the final third, possibly what they need to fully compete for the Bundesliga title next season. To accompany his possession-based tactics, Nagelsmann’s off the ball aggressive pressing philosophy which is debatably his teams most recognised characteristic, matches the role Götze performs best, willing and able to cause problems for the opposition through either a high press, 3 Man Lock, or similar pressing styles as previously analysed. RB Leipzig’s tactics and needs of future requirements fit very well into Mario Götze’s playing design.

Arsenal

Arsenal look fit, firing and in form going into the 2020-21 season following the appointment of Mikel Arteta. The Gunners ended a poor season in good spirits lifting the FA Cup beating both Manchester City and Chelsea on their way to the title, as well as a surprising 2-1 victory over champions Liverpool in the league during lockdown. Arteta has brought a new 3-4-3 system into The Emirates better suiting the personnel currently at the club, centred around a possession-based philosophy creating numerical advantage’s in wide channels as well as looking to the feet of the front three to help maintain possession as the back three bring the ball forward in build-up. When approaching the final third, Arsenal will be seen in 3-2-5 display pinning down the opposition defence giving the common ball carrier David Luiz at the back time to pick out the best forward pass. Arsenal’s back three now is relying on cohesive and fluent movement of the front five to ultimately penetrate the penalty area. Arteta needs a mix of players dropping down into half-spaces to receive and forward runs in behind, which Mario Götze specialises in showing us his depth and ability to work in close encounters in the final third through quick passing sequences to breakdown small spaces, as well as a blend of movement patterns to lose opposition defenders and open space for attacking teammates runs. Götze doesn’t have the goalscoring capabilities of Arsenal attackers Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette and instead specialises in area’s these two lack in, and I believe this is the answer to a reoccurring issue for Arteta this season in trying to get the best out of his two main strikers. Aubameyang and Lacazette have been asked throughout the season to work in uniform with one dropping down to link with the Arsenal midfield in possession, whilst the other makes a darting run in-behind. This common sequence hasn’t been as effective as Arteta would have hoped with the single forward run often being comfortable for opposition defences to snuff out, and the obvious aspect that he has to sacrifice the attacking capabilities in this moment of one of the pair who move deep away from goal to link.

Finding a new club for Mario Götze 2019/20 - Scout Report - tactical analysis tactics
Potential Arsenal forward movement if Götze was a part of this side.

Götze would solve this problem for Arsenal if played as a central False 9 for the gunners, with Aubameyang and Lacazette simultaneously working off the shoulders of the little German in build-up play. This would mean Götze is the one to drop between the lines and receive which he performs brilliantly, allowing both Aubameyang and Lacazette in the same phase to make diagonal forward runs from outside to-in, giving Arsenal an extra option going forward and creating a dilemma for the defending side with three different runs made by the front three. This pattern would bring the best out of Arsenal’s top two goal-scorers allowing them to get forward and attack the goal more frequently for Arteta’s side adding additional threat especially in counter-attacks, with Götze operating as a False 9 doing the link-up work he excels in.

Finding a new club for Mario Götze 2019/20 - Scout Report - tactical analysis tactics
Three runners off-ball when Götze drops down, compared to one runner off-ball when Lacazette drops down.

AS Roma

Roma manager Paulo Fonseca lead the Italian side to an eight-game unbeaten streak to end last season’s Serie A, finishing in 5th place earning Europa League qualification. Looking to play out from the back, Fonseca’s philosophy sees his side set up in a traditional 4-2-3-1 formation with the interesting movement of the two wide-men being of unique importance to Roma, parallel to the role Götze has played previously in wide 10 roles at Dortmund and Bayern. Reverse to conventional wide players, Fonseca demands his wide 10’s to move and play inside as inverted wingers with width being provided instead by fullback’s Aleksandar Kolarov and Alessandro Florenzi. Effectively this creates six central passing options for the Roma ball carrier gaining the attention of opposition defenders to the central areas, opening up space for the fullbacks’ Kolarov and Florenzi out wide who always maintain positional width no matter where the ball is on the pitch. The trio partnership of the two inverted wingers and the Roma attacking midfielder slide across in coalition with one another to whatever side the ball is on, with the opposite-side winger floating inside to receive diagonal passes into opposite pockets of space. This is extremely effective for Roma as it allows the Italian side to penetrate the opponents weak side, and the receiving inverted winger can now link with his advanced and overlapping fullback with 2v1 situations in advanced areas as the opposing defence’s struggle to transition horizontally across the pitch.

Finding a new club for Mario Götze 2019/20 - Scout Report - tactical analysis tactics
Lorenzo Pellegrini moving inside and finding space in the opposite pocket for Roma.

Timing of this movement is crucial to Fonseca’s tactics as he looks to move the ball quickly from back to front, and break opposition lines with these diagonal passes to the opposite side of play. Götze has performed this invented winger role superbly at Dortmund, opting to play inside and underneath the 9 being of a larger threat to the goal the more central his positioning is, bringing the best out of his clever final third combination play making him a suitable addition to Fonseca’s tactics at Roma. Götze has played on the flank with overlapping fullbacks in the past such as Philipp Lahm and Łukasz Piszczek and I believe his knowledge and understanding of the inverted winger role would consequently strengthen the attacking threat of Roma’s dangerous fullbacks. Another attacking pattern Fonseca likes his team to use is when the ball has been switched directly to the opposite fullback and diagonal forward runs inside-to-out are made by the inside wingers penetrating wide channels. This run means the inverted winger can receive behind and beyond the opposite fullback who has pushed up on Roma’s receiving full-back, or the same run can be used as a ‘dummy run’ dragging away an opposition central defender and clearing the passing channel for a direct pass to Roma’s central 9 in close proximity to the goal. Off the ball movement is a strong point of Mario Gotze’s game matching his hard work and desire to open space for teammates in possession, demonstrating another reason why Götze is a good fit for Fonseca’s Roma side.

Finding a new club for Mario Götze 2019/20 - Scout Report - tactical analysis tactics
Götze drops down and inside to receive in opposite pocket.

Lazio

Having come off the back of a superb season in Serie A finishing 4th and gaining Champions League qualification, Lazio will be looking to strengthen attacking depth for this coming season in pursuit of the Scudetto. Simone Inzaghi sets his Lazio side up in a 3-5-1-1 or 3-5-2 formation. With the expertise of Lucas Leiva being deployed as the holding 6, shielding the back three and expected to break down opposition attacks with crucial interceptions, the two 10’s for Lazio have the freedom to roam forward and are encouraged to combine with the two frontmen. This 10 role would perfectly fit into Götze’s style who would look to receive in between the lines for Lazio and link up with this season’s top goalscorer Ciro Immobile, Lazio being a side who like to commit large numbers to attacks. Lazio builds up from the back at every opportunity, and as we know Götze would be sufficient at providing an outlet pass to opposition press’s the eagles have come up against in Italy, moving down swiftly into pockets of space looking to break opposition lines. This process would be aided by Lazio’s ball-playing back three who have proven to be comfortable and quality in playing out from the back under pressure this season. Götze would be of huge benefit as a backup to Sergej Milinković-Savić and Luis Alberto, who play the double 10 roles underneath Lazio’s frontmen, or as a replacement should the Spaniard Alberto move on as suggested through transfer speculation. Equally, he would be the ultimate company 9 to Immobile, looking to drop off the line and link with the Lazio midfield through quick combination play in the final third, creating the opportunities for Immobile to penetrate space in behind opposition defences with his pace and attacking prowess.

Wolverhampton Wanderers

The German would glide into and suit Wolverhampton’s tactics very well for more reason’s than one. I will be focusing on the match of the two parties out of possession and additional quality Götze would bring to the wolves in transition to attack moments. Manager and highly rated tactician Nuno Espírito Santo has been recognised as the focal point of Wolverhampton’s rise from the lower English divisions to finishing 7th in the top flight for consecutive seasons. Nuno’s out of possession philosophy is reflected in his disciplined, hard-working and intensive pressing approach displayed by his players on match days, and has been a major part of the tactical revolution behind Wolves’ recent success. More than just running relentlessly to win possession back for Wolves, players have demonstrated a high football IQ and smart defending procedures to minimise tiredness from pressing and make these actions as productive and efficient as possible. Nuno’s side set out in a 5-3-2 formation which is easily progressed into a 3-5-2 offensive shape with the theme to push the fullbacks on outlined again in this scout report. Götze would suit the mould playing in the front two pair for Wolves, with his role out of possession being to maintain a high position centrally, multitasking in applying pressure on the opposition centre-backs as well as blocking passing channels into the midfield, specifically the opposition 6. When the opposition rotate the ball from side to side through their back four, Götze and his partner forward will move across respectively always maintaining a close distance between one another, again eliminating these passing channels into the midfield no matter the angle or ball location. This forces the opposition to play backwards or down the line to the winger who will be tightly marked by the Wolves fullback who has the licence to get forward both in and out of possession. By cancelling out inside passes to the midfield, Götze and his partner forward allow no immediate passing options for the opposition.

Finding a new club for Mario Götze 2019/20 - Scout Report - tactical analysis tactics
Wolverhampton front two positioning in press, blocking passing lanes into midfield.

This is where the pair will now decide to apply real pressure to the ball carrying defenders in the attempt to force long balls, much to the liking of Wolverhampton’s aerially dominant defenders typically in the form of Conor Coady, Willy Boly and Ryan Bennett. When the opposition plays the ball out wide, Nuno’s side unleash the 3 Man Lock pressing system, surrounding the ball carrier with the fullback behind, a central midfielder inside, and a forward (Götze’s proposed role) coming down, cutting down angles and shutting off all passing channels in short to mid-range distance. As we analysed before, Götze is very good at performing this system in a 9 role through his time at Dortmund. This triangle press has worked exceptionally for wolves this season and I believe will be improved and intensified with the addition of Götze to the squad as he also brings the skill to counter successfully in transition moments, moving the ball forward quickly with minimal touches and dynamic forward runs.

Finding a new club for Mario Götze 2019/20 - Scout Report - tactical analysis tactics
As part of a Dortmund front two pressing high eliminating backwards pass, press supported by three other teammates.

Honourable Mentions

Liverpool – a reunion with Klopp at Anfield, the coach who gave Götze his professional debut at Borussia Dortmund, could potentially spark form of the past. He would be an able and adequate back up to Firmino in the False 9 role and offer quality squad depth which Liverpool will need to compete with Manchester City again for the Premier League title.

Barcelona – Götze’s fluid attacking play and flexible positioning to roam in and out of spaces mirror’s Barcelona’s long-standing possession-based philosophy. Adding him as depth to the front three brings a player who moves off the line well and would link the units between the thirds effectively for the Catalonian club.

Hoffenheim – Hoffenheim traditionally press high up the field carrying defensive tactics developed into the club by former manager Julian Nagelsmann. Their high intensity defending and willingness to gamble throwing bodies forward on the counter-attack would suit Götze’s proven intelligence and maturity in these situations. Staying in Germany will give him the advantage of having a thorough understanding of how football is played in this country at the highest level.

Leeds – Marcelo Bielsa’s newly-promoted Leeds use a similar inverted winger system to Roma relying on technically able maestro’s who move the ball quickly in possession, a wide 10 role Götze would suit. Marcelo Bielsa prefers his team to press high in defence and to apply a press that encourages them to regain possession, instead of one that attempts to delay opponents via more routine pressure. Not to mention Leeds could do with adding some higher profile individuals with experience in top-flight football in an attempt to establish themselves in the Premier League.