AZ Alkmaar- Match Report vs Viktoria Plzen 26/08/20

In the second qualifying round for the 2020/21 Champions League, AZ Alkmaar came from behind to beat Viktoria Plzen 3-1. This was Alkmaar’s first competitive fixture since March 7th and the effects of such a break were apparent. Both teams employed 4-2-3-1 formations and the game was played at a very low tempo. There were only two shots in the first half as both teams struggling to progress the ball through midfield. Generally, neither side showed any urgency in or out of possession.

The game livened up slightly in the second half as a Viktoria Plzen goal forced Alkmaar to throw men forward and be direct. A Koopmeiners penalty in the 94th minute took the game to extra time which proved to be a scrappy 30 minutes. Alkmaar managed to snatch two goals while Viktoria Plzen struggled to create anything meaningful, allowing Alkmaar to progress despite a lacklustre performance.

Ratings

  • A1 – Very good, could play higher
  • A2 – Strong potential to play higher
  • B1 – Good, strong player at this level
  • B2 – Potential to be strong player at level
  • C – Average for level, rewatch
  • D – Below average in this match

Teun Koopmeiners

Player Profile:

  • Nationality: Netherlands
  • Age: 22
  • Date of Birth: 28/2/1998
  • Current Club: AZ Alkmaar
  • Career: AZ Alkmaar
  • Position: Defensive Midfielder
  • Secondary Positions: Central Midfield, Centre Back
  • Preferred foot: Left

Koopmeiners was deployed as the left centre back and captained the side as usual. Although not a natural centre back, Koopmeiners is no stranger to the position, having had a run of games there prior to the stoppage. In defence he looked confident and was a calming presence throughout.

As a natural midfielder, it is no surprise Koopmeiners was comfortable on the ball. He was in possession a lot for Alkmaar, completing the most passes of any player with 80. His passes were generally accurate, 84% completion, and hit with good technique. However, for much of the first 90 minutes, they were sideways or backwards, with minimal progressive or line-breaking passes. In addition, he would take a considerable amount of time to play the simplest pass, which only exacerbated the games slow pace. Only after Alkmaar had fallen behind did he really demonstrate the extent of his passing range with some long cross-field passes. These passes caused problems for Plzen and it is easy to see why Koopmeiners would be effective in a defensive midfield position.

Koopmeiners was also adept defensively. He is a strong player, able to hold off attackers and shield the ball consistently. He rarely seemed rushed and positioned himself well, managing to make the most clearances with six. Additionally, he timed his tackles well and did not make hasty decisions, demonstrated by his 100% tackle completion. Although, Koopmeiners does have pretty average pace, but today’s slow paced game meant this was not an issue. Alkmaar’s fairly low defensive line also compensated for the lack of speed at centre back.

Being 6ft, Koopmeiners is on the small side for a centre back. As a result, against Beauguel, 6’3, he struggled aerially. It was evident how uncomfortable Koopmeiners was when Beauguel targeted him for aerial duels, as he found it difficult to get round or over his opponent. His height disadvantage and lack of an exceptional jump meant he won only one of four attempted aerials.

Overall for player who is not a centre back by trade, Koopmeiners put in a composed performance and his versatility is no doubt an asset. His calmness was personified when he emphatically struck home Alkmaar’s last minute equaliser from the spot.

Rating – A2

Owen Wijndal

Player Profile:

  • Nationality: Netherlands/Suriname
  • Age: 20
  • Date of Birth: 28/11/1999
  • Current Club: AZ Alkmaar
  • Career: AZ Alkmaar
  • Position: Left Back
  • Preferred foot: Left

Wijndal started at left back and was a bright spark for Alkmaar’s attack in an uninspiring team performance. Particularly in the second half, he made several marauding runs forward and linked up well with Idrissi. Their link up play was Alkmaar’s best attacking threat in the second period, with Wijndal being unlucky not to come away with an assist after de Wit’s effort was tipped over.

Whether he was underlapping or overlapping he looked dangerous, exhibiting outstanding pace to get up and down the flank. His crosses, and overall passes, had great technique. He showcased his ability to both whip and drill crosses successfully, finishing with three completed crosses and three key passes.

Wijndal was proactive in defence, utilising his pace in this aspect. He rarely gave the opposition much time or space to turn, quickly pressing them as they received the ball. He was astute at winning the ball cleanly from behind his opponents and in all won three tackles and six duels. Furthermore, he displayed fine anticipation and used his pace to pick up loose balls, culminating in seven interceptions, four more than any other player.

Being 5’8 he is not the most effective aerially. But he possess a decent jump and so managed to compete, winning two aerial duels. Although, at times, he was slow to close down opponents who were face on. As such, he could not get close enough to block the subsequent cross, but this was not a serious issue. Through the 120 minutes Wijndal showcased both his defensive and offensive capabilities and appears to have the attributes of a modern full back.

Rating – A2

Dani de Wit

Player Profile:

  • Nationality: Netherlands
  • Age: 22
  • Date of Birth: 28/1/1998
  • Current Club: AZ Alkmaar
  • Career: Ajax, AZ Alkmaar
  • Position: Attacking Midfielder
  • Secondary Positions: Central Midfield
  • Preferred foot: Right

Dani de Wit began the game playing just behind Boadu, but as Alkmaar brought on more attackers he was moved back into a deeper position. He was more effective in his first position but, in truth, he was fairly quiet all game. In attacking midfield he had license to roam and often looked to make runs into the channels. He also sought to make late runs into the box and was up alongside Boadu when pressing the defenders. He came close to scoring early in the second half as he arrived to meet a Wijndal ball, but he failed to make a clean enough connection.

However, for all his hard work, he failed to really effect Alkmaars stagnant attack and was pushed deeper to accommodate the attacking substitutes. On the ball he had tight control and his passing was sound, ending the game with 80% accuracy. As the game progressed he saw less of the ball as Alkmaar went more direct and so bypassed the midfield. Extra time was scrappy at best and so de Wit drifted further out the game.

De Wit is no doubt a combative player, being just over 6ft and physically strong he can provide a presence in the midfield. He does not shy away from the less attractive side of the game, contesting 21 aerial and ground duels combined, the joint most of any player. Although, he only won 4/10 ground duels and 5/11 aerials which are modest returns. Had he been more successful in these areas he may have effected the game more.

Rating – B2

Myron Boadu

Player Profile:

  • Nationality: Netherlands/Ghana
  • Age: 19
  • Date of Birth: 14/1/2001
  • Current Club: AZ Alkmaar
  • Career: AZ Alkmaar
  • Position: Striker
  • Secondary Position: Left wing
  • Preferred foot: Either

Boadu led the line for Alkmaar today and has recently been linked to some big clubs. However, today was far from his best game and he looked like a player lacking in competitive match sharpness.

Generally, he struggled to get involved, having only 48 touches in 120 minutes. Moreover, Alkmaar’s slow and ponderous football did not compliment Boadu who found little opportunity to use his pace in behind. On a rare instance Boadu got into a full sprint, he looked a strong runner and skipped away from a couple defenders before firing wide. Poor shooting was another theme of Boadu’s game as he failed to get any of his four shots on target. However, he did demonstrate his ability to shoot with both feet while also generating consistent power, but any accuracy deserted him today.

His first touch was also lacking today and subsequently, made his other actions harder as he was chasing his loose touch. His passing was an improvement as he laid the ball off well to others while managing to create three chances. He did register an assist too with a neat first time pass through to Gudmundsson who rounded the keeper to score.

Boadu is 6ft with a strong frame and so can successfully hold the ball up with his back to goal. His physical traits make him effective in duels, which he won eight of today. However, he put little conviction into aerials, winning only two from eight. This appeared to be a side of the game he had little interest in and he only really competed in the air when he had to. Despite his size, he is still somewhat nimble and so can turn away from defenders, when he has the ball under control. Unsurprisingly then, he was regularly targeted by the opposition and was the most fouled player today.

Clearly, Boadu posses talent but he struggled to show it today. He appeared very rusty, while the type of game which played out gave him little room to showcase his more impressive aspects.

Rating – B2

Calvin Stengs

Player Profile:

  • Nationality: Netherlands/Suriname
  • Age: 21
  • Date of Birth: 18/12/1999
  • Current Club: AZ Alkmaar
  • Career: AZ Alkmaar
  • Position: Right Wing
  • Secondary Position: Left Wing
  • Preferred foot: Left

Having missed most of pre-season through injury it was a surprise to see Stengs starting on the right wing for Alkmaar. Similarly to Boadu, he has been linked with some big clubs recently but also like Boadu he struggled today. It was apparent Stengs had not played competitively for five months and was low on general match sharpness. He was substituted in the 63rd minuted, likely due to fitness but it could have easily been performance related.

Little went right for Stengs today, his touch was consistently loose while he routinely played stray passes. Early in the first half he could be forgiven for attempting the exceptional with a couple curling balls infield and outside the boot passes which almost came off. In the 63 minutes he played he lost possession 16 times, which equates to a him losing possession every 3.9 minutes. From both teams no other player lost possession as frequently. As the consistent errors piled up he simplified his game with more safe passes.

However, his dribbling ability was clear. Typically, he sought to come inside onto his left foot and here he was fairly successful, looking well in control of the ball and potentially dangerous. Although, he was very dependent on his left foot, using his right only as a last resort.

Physically, Stengs was off the pace today but did display bursts of speed in a game that rarely allowed for direct running. Being 5’11 but also slim he retains his pace and agility while also still having a physical presence. However, he rarely went for aerial duels, one in total, and was inconsistent when competing on the ground. Evidently, Stengs has technical ability but was well below par today and may need a few games to get his rhythm back.

Rating – C

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