Tactics Journal

by Kyle Boas

Analyzing football tactics

Mea culpa

If Real Madrid field an attack made up of midfielders and Vinicius Junior, know that you have a chance. I would say they were playing for the draw, but they were not even compact in defense. RB Leipzig didn’t take their chances.

Figure 1.1 - RB Leipzig play past Real Madrid's second line.
Figure 1.2 - RB Leipzig play past Real Madrid's second line.
Figure 1.3 - The space Real Madrid offer up to RB Leipzig when their center-backs carry the ball forward.

If RB Leipzig committed more men forward to the center of the pitch and then peeled off quickly to the right of Antonio Rudiger or the left of Nacho Fernandez, they might have created even more high-quality chances through the half-spaces.

Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti after the match:

The Bernabeu’s whistles at the end of the first half were well deserved.

The idea was to press more, with energy, but we played very slow, controlled in the low block too much, without pressing, with very slow balls, with little verticality, with lateral passes.

It has not been a good night; that’s obvious, mea culpa.

Figure 2.1 - Jude Bellingham drops to the left and the space is unoccupied at the top.

Jude Bellingham played up top in the first half and was given license to drop and roam. No one had to fill that space he left, but when he dropped, they never had enough numbers around the ball to make not having an outlet up top work.

Especially with how slowly they passed the ball around. RB Leipzig were always in position to cut off the pass. There was no one to connect the play.

That’s what I think Ancelotti is referring to when he talks about a lack of lateral passes. They needed a switch of play to the side with the numbers.

Match: Real Madrid 1-1 RB Leipzig, 6 March 2024

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