Mark Uth is a German attacking midfielder/striker who currently plays for FC Köln in the Bundesliga. Uth joined FC Köln at the start of the 2020 calendar year on loan from FC Schalke 04. Since joining his hometown club, Uth has had a huge impact and is currently enjoying life at the RheinEnergieSTADION.
Uth left his role in the TSG Hoffenheim side to join FC Schalke 04 in the summer of 2018 to try and advance the team into the UEFA Champions League places. However, due to an unfortunate bout of injuries, he failed to gain any sort of form at the Ventins-Arena. His recent move to FC Köln has seen his form revitalized and is a key player for his boyhood side. He is gaining interest from a number of Premier League clubs, including Tottenham Hotspur.
In this scout report, we will analyse the role of Uth within the FC Köln’s transition phase from defence to attack through an in-depth tactical analysis. The report will then progress to analyse the main key traits that Uth brings in guiding his side to success.
Attacking threat in the final third
As an attacking midfielder/striker, Uth finds himself in an advanced position in the final third on many occasions. This is why he is one of the key players within the FC Köln side as he has the quality in these areas to guide his team to success. In the 7 matches he has played since joining FC Köln on loan in January, he has produced 29 shots. 41.4% of these 29 shots have been on target as the clever positions he finds himself in in the final third are the reasons why he has been able to perform this high amount of shots.
Within the first 5 minutes of the game against SC Paderborn, we see Uth’s attacking threat as he looks to exploit the left half-space deep in the final third. He received the ball in the midfield third and looked to progress the ball forwards by dribbling at speed. As he found himself in the left half-space, this attracted the two SC Paderborn midfielders towards him, leaving a large space centrally to exploit.
With Uth’s pace with the ball, he was able to pass the oppositions defenders with ease, which found him in lots of space very close to the SC Paderborn’s box. Once he broke past the first line of pressure, he forced Paderborn’s last defender to make a decision (highlighted in yellow above).
The defender needed to make the decision whether to follow Modeste who made a run to the left, or whether to close down Uth with the ball to stop him from carrying out a shot a goal. As Uth is such a threat in the final third, this scenario led to Uth forcing a great save from the SC Paderborn keeper and rewarding FC Köln with a corner.
Throughout his 7-game spell with FC Köln this season, he has achieved a 4.35 shot per 90 rating. Although his shots on goal per 90-minute rating is only 1.80, it is a stronger argument to suggest that his threatening positions in the final third are key in allowing him to perform a shooting action at goal.
Following on from the first example above, Uth can still be a threat in the box even when the oppositions players have recovered to defend. He holds the ability to perform a shot at goal even though his path to the target may be obstructed. We can see this shooting example below.
We can see that SC Paderborn now have bodies behind the ball and Uth and Modeste are in an underload situation. Instead of waiting for supporting team-mates, he shows why he is a threat in the final third by carrying out a shot at goal through a number of opposition defenders.
Uth had other options in this scenario. He could have delayed the attack by staying on the ball to wait for supporting players. His second option could have been to play the ball to the right-hand side where his team-mate Hainz was in space to shoot. However, Uth’s bravery in the final third to carry out a shot at goal even though the path is obstructed highlights his threatening ability going forwards.
During the game against SC Paderborn, there were times when Uth wasn’t taking a shot at the goal but was still a threat advancing his team into the oppositions penalty area.
In the image above, we see Uth on the far-left hand side touchline with the ball. Finding himself in a 1v1 attacking situation and with no support players or space to exploit, Uth still manages to show his threatening ability going forwards. He recognises his attacking team-mate Anthony Modeste in the box and notices that there is space in front of the near post, behind the SC Paderborn right central defender.
Although not in an advanced position in the box, Uth still shows his class by producing a pin-point cross for Modeste to get on the end of, and attempt to guide the ball into the goal. To be able to accurately produce a cross over two players and under severe pressure strongly shows his threatening side to his individual ability with the ball.
During this game, Uth gained a 100% crossing accuracy percentage. We have seen two different examples of how Uth can be a threat in the attacking third and how he is very important in creating goal-scoring chances for his side.
Alongside his ability to threaten the opposition with his shots and crosses, he also shows how he can be a threat when passing the ball in the final third.
Although FC Köln have a strong lead in the game, this didn’t stop Uth trying to threaten the SC Paderborn defensive unit even more. In this example, Uth again is seen to be trying to advance into the oppositions penalty area. Instead of taking a shot at goal and exploiting the space in front of him, he produces a forward pass into the path of his teammate Jakobs. Jakobs then has the opportunity to perform a shot at goal.
In addition to this example, Uth made two assists which led to FC Köln’s two goals of the game. This season, Uth has made four assists for his side. The first assist in this game was a header to the back post from a corner. The second assist came from a similar example to the first one of this analysis which can be seen below.
In the same left half-space, Uth this time has drawn more players towards him which has created space for his supporting teammate. Uth recognized that there was pressure from in front and the side, which meant he couldn’t carry out a shooting action.
This time, Uth plays a perfectly weighted pass to Hector who is supporting him from the right. Hector is in enough space due to Uth dragging the opposition players out of their positions. Hector manages to strike first time at the goal and scores. Uth’s recognition of space to create goal-scoring opportunities is another threatening trait he holds in the final third.
Uth’s unpredictability in the final third is a trait that not many strikers at his age still possess. When he is in threatening areas he has the skillset to perform a pass, shot or cross which can punish the opposition and give his side success. During this season, he has made 16 live passes which have led his team performing a shot attempt.
Whilst we have seen his ability on the ball in these areas, he is also a threat off the ball in the final third. Late on in the game against SC Paderborn, he shows how he is able to find key pockets of space to receive the ball in, giving him the opportunity to shoot at goal.
In this example, his left attacking teammate, Jakobs, has the ball on the left-hand side and is in the process of executing a cross into the SC Paderborn’s penalty area. However, Uth holds his run on the edge of the box which sees him in a position to receive without any direct pressure. The space that he has created by timing his edge of the box run means if Jakobs crossed the ball to him then he would have a great chance to strike at the goal.
Even if Jakobs doesn’t cross the ball to Uth, Uth’s position means that the opposition defenders would have to make a decision whether to cover the space in front of the goal or run forwards to block the ball from reaching Uth. This position gives the defenders difficult decisions to make in threatening areas of the pitch.
Overall, it is clearly apparent that Uth has many different skills that he can use in the final third to be one of the most dangerous players in the FC Köln side. He is dominant and successful in the final third with the ball in numerous different scenarios. Off the ball, he can find penetrating areas to receive to create a shooting chance.
Uth’s actions in the midfield third
Away from the final third, Uth can also be seen to adopt a midfielders’ role when his side is in possession of the ball in their own half. When in this role, he looks to try and advance his team into the key attacking areas by performing penetrating passes.
In the seven games, he has played this season for FC Köln, he has attempted 127 medium passes, of which 101 were accurate, meaning his medium passing accuracy rating in 7 games is 79.5%. In the game against SC Paderborn, we saw him in on many occasions dropping into the midfield third to receive to then perform a pass to build the attack.
As half-time approached, Uth was the target of a throw-in in the midfield third. His receiving position forced the oppositions two central midfielders to become very narrow and attracted to win the ball. This created space to exploit in the advanced areas of the midfield third which are highlighted in red in the above image.
Uth’s bravery to control and execute a medium pass to his waiting central midfield teammates meant that they were then able to advance the ball into these forward spaces and exploit the out of position opposition players’ positions. This ‘Up, Back, Through’ scenario forced the SC Paderborn players towards Uth as he received, but his quick initiative and passing accuracy allowed FC Köln to create attacking overloads going into the final third.
When Uth has the ball without pressure, he has shown he has the skills to perform long ranges passes to switch the point of the attack. This season, Uth has attempted 106 long passes, of which 52.8% have been accurate. Although this figure is slightly lower than his medium passes, Uth’s destination of these passes is very effective in his side advancing further up the pitch.
Even though his side has a comfortable lead in the game, Uth has the ball on the far-left hand side of the midfield third. His destination to place the ball is in the right attacking half-space as he recognizes that the SC Paderborn left full-back is out of his position and ball watching. This pocket of space will allow an advanced teammate to receive the ball and orientate into effective areas.
During this game, Uth attempted eight forward passes, three long passes and five passes into the final third. Although he is classed as an attacking midfielder/striker, he is seen on numerous occasions in a far deeper role to try and help his team with the build-up play. If he can, he likes to drop deep into the middle third to be involved in the action to try and create the opportunity to penetrate.
Shortly after half-time, we see him progressing his team into the final third.
Uth produces a different type of pass from the midfield third. This time, he plays a ball over the top of the SC Paderborn’s right-back, which gives Jakobs the opportunity to advance into space into the box. Even under pressure from the right side, Uth is able to perform a penetrative pass over the top which directly takes his side deep into the attacking third.
In addition to Uth performing different a selection of passes from the midfield third, he has also shown us that he can hold the ball up to link in with supporting teammates making off the ball forward runs.
Late on in the game with SC Paderborn looking to snatch a draw, Uth shows his class and experience by holding the ball up in the midfield third. What is very important to analyse in this scenario is that Uth doesn’t try and advance forward with the ball by himself. He recognises that there is only one supporting player on the right-hand side and if he went alone then could get tackled and the pressure would be back on his team.
Instead, he holds the ball up against the defender and uses his strength to keep his side in possession. He notices that there is space to his left near the halfway line, where his teammate is making a forward advancing run. He also is aware that there is no FC Köln to his right. Therefore, he waits for the right time to pass the ball to the supporting player to keep his side in possession and advancing further forward.
Role in FC Köln’s transition from defence to attack
In addition to Uth’s gameplay in the midfield third, he also holds an important role when his team are playing out from the back. As FC Köln look to advance further forward, this sees Uth dropping in deep into the midfield third to offer as a support player for the defenders to pass too. Since January, Uth has touched the ball 350 times. Of these, 172 have been in the midfield third, with only 35 touches in the defensive third and 162 in the attacking third. During the game against SC Paderborn, Uth showed why he has taken the highest amount of touches in the midfield third.
Early in the first half, FC Köln had a goal kick and their main focus was to play out from the back. As we can see in this example, a split pass was made to the waiting Uth who is deep in the midfield third. As he receives the ball, he has pressure from behind but has generated space for his teammates to receive on the left and right.
This tactic was apparent throughout the whole game with FC Köln looking to play out from the back and use Uth as an outlet player to advance up the pitch. Even before Uth received the ball, the FC Köln players were making advanced supporting runs off the ball into the spaces.
This season, Uth has been the target of an attempted pass 296 times and successfully received the ball 215 times.
Shortly after half-time, we again see Uth in a deep midfield role and another split pass in-between the two opposition forward players. Uth is again the target of FC Köln’s transition from defence to attack. This time he can receive unopposed, giving him the chance to turn into space and advance into the final third.
Although Uth is classed as an advanced midfielder/striker, this analysis has delved deeper into the role he plays within the FC Köln side to deploy their tactics when going forwards. He holds strong technical skills with the ball, as well as recognizing the space to receive to allow his side to keep possession and advance into threatening areas of the pitch.
Mark Uth has impressed since his loan move to FC Köln in January. He is a key part of the team’s transition up the field and possesses many strong technical traits which allow him to be an effective player for the Bundesliga side.
This scout report has analysed the main key strengths of Uth’s game and how he fits into FC Köln’s tactics. His role within the teams’ defence to attack transition is very important for it to be effective. He also holds many strong individual skills when in possession of the ball which has allowed him to make a name for himself at his hometown club.