VfL Wolfsburg – Match Report vs Hertha Berlin 01/11/20

With both goals coming in the first 20 minutes, this game between ended 1-1. The shared points left Hertha Berlin in 14th and Wolfsburg in 10th, getting 4 and 8 points respectively from their opening 6 games. Wolfsburg are one of only two Bundesliga teams who remain unbeaten, however they’ve also only won one of their matches. Set up in a 4-4-2, Wolfsburg wanted to play on the counter but was overall a fairly well contested game where they pressed in midfield well. Their goal came from Baku, the right back, who hit a great strike into the roof of the net from range.

Ratings

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

Maxence Lacroix

Player Profile:

  • Nationality: French
  • Age: 20
  • Date of birth: 06/04/2000
  • Current club: VfL Wolfsburg
  • Career: FC Sochaux, VfL Wolfsburg
  • Position: Centre Back
  • Preferred foot: Right

In Lacriox’s 5th Bundesliga match, he continued to impress and has adapted to the league very well, Wolfsburg have the 2nd best defensive record as well this season. The well built 20 year old stands 6’3″, he stepped out of the line very well, putting pressure into the back of dropping attackers and preventing them from turning. He would then work hard to recover his position. He was strong in the air in midfield and was comfortable playing in a high line and showed good awareness.

He was calm under pressure when in possession playing short passes and carrying into space when possible. A few times he could have made quicker decisions in possession I thought but wasn’t an issue. His first touch was decent and at times progressive but did put it at a 45 degree angle onto his stronger right foot and then had to readjust to pass at different angles but showed good technique overall. He tried a few longer passes and showed he could hit passes a very long distance but needed to make better decisions with these.

Defending in deeper areas, he showed good concentration and was really well positioned cut out crosses. He was strong in the air with a good leap and worked hard to get in position. He also made an amazing block late on, diving in front of a shot on the counter to prevent a 1v1 and showed good pace. Overall another really good performance from the young French defender and should be on the radar of top teams.

Rating – A1

Xaver Schlager

Player Profile:

  • Nationality: Austrian
  • Age: 23
  • Date of birth: 28/09/1997
  • Current club: VfL Wolfsburg
  • Career: RB Salzburg, VfL Wolfsburg
  • Position: Centre Midfield
  • Preferred foot: Left

Schlager played in the midfield two for Wolfsburg. He stands at 5’9″ with a stocky build, pressing well in midfield and was an intelligent player out of possession. He put good pressure on the ball with good timing and intensity, he was aggressive in the challenge without overcommitting and was able to force play backwards and delay attacks. He made 5 tackles and 5 interceptions in this game, covering a lot of ground, showing great stamina and work rate. He read play really well and made some important interventions, was able to win the ball high up the pitch and tracked his runner in deeper areas.

In possession he showed good tight control, taking good first touches and checked his shoulders. He didn’t get that many touches on the ball overall and spread play with both feet and quick decisions but wasn’t used that much in buildup and could have been less static at times. He supported the attack well down the left and got into the box, playing a 1-2 on the edge of the box and also took his usual long shot which was poorly hit.

Overall, Schlager was excellent out of possession and although he wasn’t that involved in possession he did well when he was used. He is a really effective player for this type of role and could be a good option for certain teams but not ones who want to dominate possession.

Rating – B1

Josip Brekalo

Player Profile:

  • Nationality: Croatian
  • Age: 22
  • Date of birth: 23/06/1998
  • Current club: VfL Wolfsburg
  • Career: Dinamo Zagreb, VfL Wolfsburg, VfB Stuttgart (L)
  • Position: Left Wing
  • Secondary position: Attacking Midfield
  • Preferred foot: Right

Brekalo impressed down the left wing today before being subbed off in the 65th minute. He carried well on the counter into space but could have driven at the defence more. He had good control, able to create space for himself with feints and showed good passing in the final third although at times could have been crisper at times. He got forward well and looked to cut inside, dribbling sideways into space and looked to pass into the box and took one shot from range.

He got forwards well, operating in the half spaces and did well in the final third. He is very slim though and lacked physicality and intensity. On the counter he could have been quicker and out of possession didn’t really impose himself and was very passive. Overall, this was one of his stronger games I’ve seen from him with good technicality and more effective in the final third but can’t see him playing for a bigger team.

Rating – B1

Bote Baku

Player profile:

  • Nationality: German
  • Age: 22
  • Date of birth: 08/04/1998
  • Current Club: VfL Wolfsburg
  • Career: Mainz 05, VfL Wolfsburg
  • Position: Central Midfield
  • Secondary position: Right Back
  • Preferred foot: Right

Playing at right back, Baku is stocky with a strong build and good muscle mass. He scored his team’s goal with a well taken strike from the edge of the box into the roof of the net. He was physical and did well in the challenge, putting in a few strong tackles. He did okay 1v1 but could have closed down the opposition better at times and done more to block crosses.

In possession he charged into space and travelled down the wing into space. He was comfortable passing with both feet, showing good passing down the line and finding players in space inside. He didn’t receive the ball very well, taking several heavy touches and could have had better control with better variation of touches when carrying the ball. He made some good runs in the final third and got into some good positions and okay crosses. He protected the ball well under pressure as well.

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