In Jurgen Klopp’s final game as manager,his side played in his trademark 4-2-3-1 formation. In goal,Mitchell Langerak was preffered to Weindefeller once again. The back four was Durm,Hummels,Subotic and Schmelzer. The double pivot was formed by veteran Sebastien Kehl and Ikay Gundogan. The three attacking midfielders were Mkhitaryan,Kagawa and Reus. Up front was Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
The Wolfsburg team hoping to spoil Klopp’s last match in charge was the following:Benaglio in net,a back four of Vierinha,Klose,Naldo and Ricardo Rodriguez. A double pivot of Arnold and Gustavo. On the flanks,Perisic and Caligiuri. The two central attackers were Bas Dost and Kevin de Bruyne.
Dortmund’s Non-Efficient Press
Uncharacteristic oy of Klopp’s Dortmund,their press was not successful. Dortmund’s midfield was often bare and Wolfsburg,De Bruyne in particular exploited this. In Dortmund’s initial press,they were often bypassed as Wolfsburg used fast ball movements to escape it. At times Shinji Kagawa’s poor tactical awareness could be seen,leaving huge spaces in behind him for Arnold and Gustavo to sit in and start attacks from.
When defending in their own half,Wolfsburg were very compact.Gustavo and Arnold were almost right on top of the centre-backs,this stopped Klose and Naldo being dragged out of position to press. If Gustavo or Arnold were to leave their positions to press,they would be cvered well and the team would slide across to close down Dortmund’s space,this left Dortmund’s full-backs with no option but to pass backwards a lot. Due to Dortmund’s narrow shape going forward,this meant Wolfsburg were even more compact centrally,the full-backs remained in the halfspaces to mark Reus and Mkhitaryan while Perisic and Caligiuri followed Dortmund’s full-backs. Wolfsburg clearly weren’t too worried about Dortmund crossing as Dortmund lacked any real width meaning that if a cross was to come in,it was likely to be from a fullback,Wolfsburg could then exploit the space left by Dortmund’s full-backs on the counter.
Wolfsburg High Line Constantly Beaten
A common pass seen from Mats Hummels was over the top of Wolves defence to speed demon Aubameyang. His pace often seen Naldo and Klose caught out with their high line and chasing the Gabonese striker’s shadow. Often Aubameyang would peel into the halfspaces as Hummels began to advance,Hummels would then make the most of his terrific passing range and find Aubameyang.
Wolfsburg Wide Overloads
A clear plan from Wolves from the off was to exploit Dortmund’s right flank. Overloads were constantly created on this flank,a 3v2 almost always the case in Wolves favour. De Bruyne,Caligiuri and Rodriguez were often the three involved. Eventually Dortmund realised they had to do something about this and Gundogan began to come across and support Durm and Mkhitaryan. However,this caused problems of its own,when Gundogan came out wide to defend,this meant Kehl was outnumbered centrally against Arnold and Gustavo,when Wolfsburg’s escaped the wide press by Dortmund and managed to pass inside,one of Arnold and Gustavo were always free. In the image below,we can see the large amount of space Kehl has to defend alone.
Sadly for Borussia Dortmund as a cob and possibly even neutrals too,Jurgen Klopp’s wasn’t to be crowned as a German Cup winner in his final match in charge of the club. Tactically,it had been a weak effort from Klopp compared to opposite number Dieter Hecking. Wolfsburg’s wide overloads had been a large factor in their win,Sebastien Kehl just not being able to do enough to defend such a large area by himself. It was another brilliant performance by Wolves who certainly turn up for the big games.