Bremen – Ole Werner stuck to his 5-3-2 system in his Bundesliga debut. It worked surprisingly well against VfL Wolfsburg. Our tactics columnist Tobias Escher analyzes why Wolfsburg slept through the first half and why Werder have to be annoyed about losing two points.
As is Werder Bremen appear as a first division team? This question plagued countless Werder fans before returning to the Bundesliga. The 2:2 against the VfL Wolfsburg provided the first clues in which direction Werder is headed: Coach Ole Werner stuck to the 5-3-2 system from the previous year. However, his players interpreted the system more defensively.
Werner’s starting line-up did not come as a surprise. As in the previous season, the coach relied on a 5-3-2 system. Newcomer Jens Stage moved in for Romano Schmid, who was suffering from Corona VfL Wolfsburg in the starting XI. Mitchell Weiser acted offensively as usual at right-back, while Anthony Jung held back on the left. The game of Werder Bremen was therefore characterized by an imbalance on the wings.
Werder Bremen versus VfL Wolfsburg in the tactical analysis: Ole Werner sticks to the 3-5-2 system in the Bundesliga as well
Not only Werder Bremen celebrated his return to the first division. Also wolves coach Niko Kovac sat on one for the first time in 1008 days Bundesliga-Bank. The new Wolves coach used a mix of 4-3-3 and 4-2-3-1. Josip Brekalo surprisingly started as a ten, Matthias Svanberg acted on the double six alongside Maximilian Arnold.
You could tell early on that Wolfsburg’s midfield wasn’t well-rehearsed. The distances between Arnold and Svanberg were either too big or too small. The Wolfsburg tried to fill the gaps in the center with a narrow formation. The wolves defended extremely closely with their two back fours, covering just half of the field. Already in the initial phase it became apparent that the system of the VfL Wolfsburg offered some gaps. The Wolves took the lead early on (11′) thanks to a brilliant pass from Patrick Wimmer. But the first half was clear Werder Bremen.
Bremen found the gaps in the Wolfsburg formation. For one, Wolfsburg’s tight defense left gaps on the wings. When Bremen had the ball on the left, Mitchell Weiser was completely free on the right. Since Wolfsburg hardly put any pressure on Bremen’s left side, the latter was able to calmly shift the ball to Weiser.
Werder Bremen against VfL Wolfsburg in the tactical analysis: Bremen gratefully accept gaps in Wolfsburg’s midfield
On the other hand, spaces opened up again and again in Wolfsburg’s midfield. Due to the bad staggering between Svanberg and Arnold, Stage in particular was always free. He got the ball in the left half-space. The newcomer could either pass it on to the left or cross it into the penalty area. So Stage initiated the equalization (21st) and prepared the 2:1 with a cross in an exemplary way (23rd).
Werder developed a clear advantage in the first half. They not only found the gaps in the opposing defense. They also defended consistently. As in the second Bundesliga, Werder relies on a man-oriented style of play. Especially in central midfield, Bremen are looking for a direct duel. For example, Jens Stage led numerous duels against Svanberg. Christian Groß also showed his usual activity, he kept moving forward from midfield to increase the pressure.
Werder Bremen against VfL Wolfsburg in the tactical analysis: Josuha Guilavogui turns the home side’s game upside down
In the second half, the VfL Wolfsburg completely different. Niko Kovac brought on Josuha Guilavogui for Svanberg. The Frenchman formed a compact double six with Arnold, together they closed the centre. Stage was now vacant less often and could hardly provide relief Werder Bremen worries.
Gradually, Wolfsburg’s offensive plan also crystallized. Ridle Baku advanced well as a right-back, the back four became a back three as the game built up. This allowed right winger Wimmer to move into the center. Of the VfL Wolfsburg tried again and again to attack from his side. Werder Bremen was pushed far into his own half, but defended with concentration in a 5-3-2.
Werder Bremen against VfL Wolfsburg in the tactical analysis: Bremen’s defense makes a classic mistake
During the second half carded Niko Kovac its entire offensive. None of the four offensive starting players stayed on the pitch. In the end Max Kruse stormed as a ten behind Jonas Wind. The many changes helped the game VfL Wolfsburg limited. Although they now had control of the ball, the hosts had chances against Werder Bremen however hardly.
Just as Werder started to swim a bit, stabilized Ole Werner his defense with the substitution of Nicolai Rapp (76th). He interpreted the position more defensively than the replaced Leonardo Bittencourt. At the same time countered Werder Bremen after the substitution of Oliver Burke (80th) a little more powerful.
A carelessness was enough to gamble away the victory that was believed to be certain. After a short played corner committed Werder Bremen Defense against a classic mistake: all the players moved one or two steps forward, just chasing the ball. This allowed Guilavogui to steal away in the backcourt. With his equalizer (84th), he became the match winner of the VfL Wolfsburg.
Werder Bremen: Draw at VfL Wolfsburg shows that the promoted team can keep up in the Bundesliga
On the one hand, there are enough reasons to be happy on the Bremen side. The team proved that they are also in the Bundesliga can keep up. Convinced in the first half Werder Bremen offensive. After the break, Werner’s 5-3-2 system also worked defensively. On the other hand, Werder must also be annoyed: in the 2-2 draw against the VfL Wolfsburg Werder left two points unnecessarily. Werder’s game has to be even more consistent in the last third and in their own third. Otherwise Werder only collects praise for a disciplined tactical performance – but not the points that the club needs in the relegation battle.