Barcelona’s build-ups vs Leverkusen-Part 2


Read the first part here


Good movement by Busquets (& Rakitic when Busquets drops to the back line.) Ball to Mathieu is on who should look to recycle possession to Rakitic’ who then has to switch to Sandro’s wing. Mathieu is looking to dribble instead. Leverkusen’s clearance falls to Rakitic who is correctly placed to support play & then makes the horrible mistake of making a penalty box run(Counter probability is high already). Iniesta’s switch is intercepted. Runs back 60 yards to make up for it (Of course he’ll pull his hamstring) due to one mistake by Rakitic’. In contrast look at Xavi, supports play & looks for the ball on the other side. Iniesta, Xavi, mascherano are all placed to cut off the counter.

Move breaks down due to Rakitic’ not in place. Busquets is the 3rd CB. No holding midfielder is present. Forwards can be aggressive.

Good ball from Rakitic’ to switch wings. Iniesta is there to support possession & switch play. Neymar should use Iniesta & Rakitic’ should be in line with Iniesta, instead Neymar loses the ball & Rakitic makes a mindless run forward. Counter is on. Good aggression from Pique though.

A double pivot situation with 3 at the back while Leverkusen only have 2 forwards. Both midfielders are marked & Leverkusen midfield can be aggressive & push up.Pique should have opted for the Mathieu diagonal with Iniesta switching.

Brilliant sequence of play by Barcelona. Everything about this move is what I’ve been crying about this whole time. Busquets drops & pulls to allow mascherano to be the free man .Rakitic’ switches to alves who crosses in which the aim is to win the 2nd ball which Rakitic & Iniesta are perfectly placed to win .They do eventually win it & barca almost score.

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Iniesta drops to the holding role & switches play to the wing. Barcelona win the 2nd ball from Mathieu’s cross. Decent chance.

Again looking for 3v2 in the middle. Barcelona don’t play the ball across a shifting midfield but through a static one. Leverkusen are so compact, it makes it easy for them to win the ball. Not using wings enough. Counter was on. Turnovers from passes in between the lines are very dangerous for Barcelona. Again Barcelona with no holding midfielder.

There you go. Standard build-up. Busquets has 2 forwards on either side. Keissling is concerned about Busquets opening up a lane for Mascherano. Barcelona get into the final 3rd easily.

No holding player. Forwards can be aggressive. Barcelona do have a 3v2 advantage at the back with the 3 man defense but Leverkusen forwards have a good work rate to keep in check the extra man. Were there a holding midfielder, they wouldn’t have been as aggressive as the play would have gone directly between them & through the middle or freed up the CB on the other side.

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Leverkusen defensive structure behind the goal kick gets them higher up the pitch. They don’t need varied elaborate build-ups. They simply win the 2nd balls.

This is the problem with low no. of lines, meaning the no of vertical divisions is only 3 ;1. A back line. 2. Midfield 3. Forwards. Leverkusen midfield can be aggressive on both Busquets & Roberto & the forwards can be aggressive on the CB’s. If the layering is 3-1-4-2, not only does the presence of a holding midfielder prevent the forwards from harassing the CB’s but the presence of 2 midfielders a line above keeps the Leverkusen midfield in check from pressing the Holding player. The result of all this is that a CB is freed with loads of space to take the ball forward. Once mascherano is far away from the forwards a holding player should fall into place.

Mascherano is able to squeeze the forwards & make Mathieu the free man. Alba is keeping Hilbert busy meaning Neymar is free in the hole. Midfield is behind the ball, counter is not on.

Mascherano as a holding player. Pique is free & finds Munir as the interior. Wendell can’t step forward due to Alves. Even if he does lose the ball counter is not on. Superb from both Munir & Suarez.

This post first appeared on r/soccer

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