Tactical analysis: Paderborn play Bayern onside

Bayern Munich registered a comprehensive 6:0 win over SC Paderborn at the Benteler Arena. The hosts were thoroughly outclassed, and their faulty offside line made matters worse.

Paderborn’s offside ‘line’

Right from the start, Paderborn adopted an attacking approach. The hosts did not seem overawed by their illustrious opponents and stuck to the playing style which sees them atop the 3. Liga standings.
Such an approach is admirable and can work, provided the defensive line backs it up. That is where manager Steffen Baumgart’s men failed miserably.

Lewandowski in onside heaven.

The defenders, perhaps justifiably so, did not share the enthusiasm of their attacking teammates. However, this led to one of them breaking the offside line more often than not. When the backline did manage to be on the same wavelength, it did not execute the offside trap well enough.
Boeder (encircled) stays behind Coman. Herzenbruch pushing high.

The image above strikes at the heart of the problem. Right-back Lukas Boeder knows Kingsley Coman has the beating of him, and stays deep. On the opposite wing, Felix Herzenbruch inexplicably pushes high, playing both Arjen Robben and Joshua Kimmich onside.
In the end, the home side conceded four goals by playing die Roten onside. While some of it is down to the intelligence of Bayern’s attackers, it is nevertheless a tactical flaw that Germany’s third division leaders can work on.

Bayern play it cool

This may be a simplistic description for tactical analysis, but it is exactly what Bayern did. Heynckes’ troops allowed Paderborn to hit them as hard as the hosts could. They then relied on their superior quality to dispatch the challenge.
Statistics support this interpretation. Paderborn enjoyed 41% of possession, which is decent given the difference in level and Bayern’s usual ball-hogging nature. They also attempted 12 shots on Bayern’s goal, five of them from inside the box.
This is not to discredit the attacking quality of Paderborn’s offensive moves, which did create chances and should have led to a goal or two. Bayern were simply a much superior side in all aspects and knew it.
One aspect which was worrisome was the defending on the right wing, also mentioned in the post-match thoughts. Marlon Ritter, Paderborn’s number seven, enjoyed attacking this wing. As a result, Arturo Vidal favored the right side in defensive transitions.

Right wing unprotected, forcing Vidal to close down gaps.

This points to the requirement of more defensive awareness on the right, to cover for Kimmich and avoid gaps in central midfield. A possible solution might be moving Vidal to the right of a midfield three, with either Javi Martínez or Sebastian Rudy in the anchor role.

Final thoughts

Paderborn’s defending let down an otherwise admirable performance from the plucky underdogs. Bayern tried to put them down as gently as they could, but Lewandowski and co. are as greedy as they are ruthless.
Baumgart will, no doubt, treat the game as a learning curve and move on. Should his team achieve promotion (and I hope they do), the lessons learned here will come in handy.