Stopping the attack of Borussia Dortmund, one of the world’s best, is no easy task. With many solutions, Thomas Tuchel’s team forces the opponent to fill the spaces effectively and maintain concentration throughout the game. That was exactly what RB Leipzig made. The new Bundesliga team was perfect in the defense and still managed to surprise and take 3 points. Here we show you their defensive process.
RB Leipzig was structured in a 1-4-2-2-2, having players at different heights on the field. The wing midfielders had a tactical mission of great sacrifice: when Dortmund started to build, they had the command to occupy the spaces between the central midfielders and the forwards, but when the ball entered Leipzig’s block they downloaded to give more cohesion to midfield (in this case, forming a 1-4-4-2 shape).
This way, Hasenhüttl’s team could prevent Dortmund from playing through the center and simultaneously take control of the width. The tactical discipline of the wings has been instrumental on Leipzig’s defensive process.
Another example: Forberg recovers the ball and Leizpig will score
Die Roten Bullen, as they are known, managed to have numerical superiority most of the time in the ball area due to the team’s coordinated action. The output timings to the pressure were very well defined and removed time and space to the opponent.
When Rode receives the ball, Leipzig’s player is already close
The strategy set up by Ralph Hasenhüttl had particular attention on the role of Julian Weigl. Knowing the midfielder is very important in the construction phase, thinking and accelerating the game, so RB Leipzig tried to reduce his influence.
Both strikers (Timo Werner and Yussuf Poulsen) stood close to the 21 years old, making the reception difficult and preventing that he face the game with possession. Ilsanker, one of center midfielders, also was charged to press and not let Weigl breathe.
In order to have the ball in his dominance, Dortmund’s brain often had to step down and play outside of Leipzig’s structure.
If Weigl receives, Ilsanker is ready for pressure
In short, RB Leipzig studied very well the lesson and successfully lobbied Borussia Dortmund. The team never exposed itself, always leaving many men behind the ball line, managing to avoid the dangerous transitions of the opponent.
To defend corners, Leipzig opted for a mixed marking. Hasenhüttl’s team tried to force Dortmund to cross, putting players near the corner, and also covered potential risk zones outside penalty area. Sokratis, Bartra and Piszczek deserved individual marking.