Ron's Blog

The European Champions League Final - Analysis

By Ron Smith | 27/05/2013 | 1 Comments

I enjoyed watching the Champions League Final between Bayern and Dortmund and analyzed a few pertinent points about possession, the number of attempts at goal and how they came about.

Bayern had 13 more possessions than Dortmund overall and that's taking into account the TV replays, which affect the accuracy of what can be recorded.

Bayern and Dortmund respectively, regained 80% & 83% of all possession in Open Play inside their own half. Of those possessions both teams had approximately 30% success in reaching the final third of the field with the ball.  From the approximate 30% of regained possessions that reached the final third, Bayern had 5 attempts at goal and scored two goals, while Dortmund had 8 attempts but didn't score.

The figures are quite low but they are representative of two of the best teams in Europe who set out from the start to play possession football. Having said that both teams pressed high up the field fairly consistently, which resulted in both teams playing a number of long passes forwards or diagonally to switch play, with Bayern recording 29 compared to Dortmund’s 23, excluding the long balls from the goalkeepers.

Bayern were slightly better at getting the ball into the final third from possession regained outside the final third with a 38% success rate compared with Dortmund's 32%.

The attempts at goal in Open Play favored Dortmund who had 11, one more than Bayern.
However, Bayern had 4 attempts from Set Plays, 3 more than Dortmund, who scored their goal from a penalty.

Of the strikes at goal Bayern had 8 inside the penalty area and 2 outside, whereas Dortmund had 7 from inside the penalty and 4 from outside.  Bayern's 10 strikes at goal, came from 2 crosses, 1 passing sequence resulting in a shot from outside but the other 7 from inside were a result of passing the ball behind the Dortmund defensive line. Dortmund by contrast had 4 crosses, 5 passing moves, which included 3 counter attacks and only 2 strikes at goal from passing the ball behind the Bayern back line, all up 7 inside and 4 outside.

The aspect of play where there was a significant difference between the teams was in passing the ball behind the last line of defense. Overall, Bayern had twice as many attempts as Dortmund to play the ball behind, which is a direct result of players making forward runs and team-mates being able and prepared to pass the ball.

Both of Bayern’s goals involved a long forward pass from inside their half, a pass behind the last line of defenders and players making forward runs to the back of the defense.
Dortmund’s goal was a direct result of playing a long ball to the back of the defense for a forward runner. The pass was intercepted by a Bayern defender and headed back in the direction it came from. The ball was immediately played behind the Bayern back line once more for a forward runner who was fouled inside the penalty area, which resulted in the penalty and the goal.

If the Champions League is an indicator of successful football in Europe, the importance of making well-timed forward runs, at pace, from central positions is a key feature of the modern game. Players on the ball should look for opportunities to play the ball behind opponents as a priority and from anywhere on the field making quick transition possible.

For members of my website I will have a presentation showing the full details of what I have touched on briefly in this article.

Member Comments (1)

Ian Greener, 12/06/2013 5:52pm

Up to your normal standard Ron- interesting, incisive and above all factual backed up with video evidence. Thanks for sharing. Cheers Ian Greener


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