On match day ten of the 3. Liga season, TSV 1860 Munich visited Borussia Dortmund II on a rainy day and came away with a 1-1 draw. Michael Köllner ran a high pressing 4-2-3-1 in this match that looked to create mistakes in a young Dortmund II’s build up. 1860 Munich was comfortable allowing Dortmund II to dominate possession. When building from the back, 1860 Munich preferred to play direct, sending long balls to their target man and top scorer, Fynn Lakenmacher. Dortmund II’s defense shut him down, though, and 1860 Munich’s lone goal was scored on a penalty by Albion Vrenezi. The leveler would be scored on a beautiful bending finish by Marco Pasalic.
- A1 – Very good, could play higher
- A2 – Strong potential to play higher
- B1 – Good, strong player at level
- B2 – Potential to be a strong player at level
- C – Average for the level, rewatch
- D – Below average in this match
- Nationality: Germany
- Age: 20
- Date of birth: 13/06/2002
- Club: TSV 1860 Munich
- Career: SpVgg Unterhaching (Y), TSV 1860 Munich (Y)
- Position: Center Back
- Preferred foot: Right
Academy product Niklas Lang made his first start of the season after starting 13 times last campaign and earning a contract extension. The 185 cm center back has a broad upper body and thinner legs and has room to fill out his frame. He showed okay pace in this match—it was good enough to make effective recovery runs, one time halting a break with a stand tackle on the move. Lang also did not shy away from contact and was willing to be physical, although he lost some of that assertiveness in the box.
Defensively, Lang was consistently in the right place relative to the ball and his marker. This can be applied to either on or off the ball. Off ball, Lang always held his line and his head was on a swivel with an open body showing attentiveness to react to ball movement and/or cover for teammates. Once, this led to him grabbing an interception on his way to cover. On ball, I applaud his body positioning, as he managed to take away angles for attackers to finish when they got into dangerous positions on multiple occasions. When defending 1v1, Lang was poised in demeanor and did not let attackers take advantage of him. He timed tackles well to win in these situations and was not clearly beaten any times. His timing also showed up on a couple blocks he was able to make on a shot and a cross. Overall, Lang may not have been spectacular on defense, but he got the job done in 1860 Munich’s back four.
Aerially, Lang was competitive and won most of his duels. Most headers that resulted were accurate or cleared. There were a couple times, though, when Lang did not have enough on the ball for a good clearance. This happened with a clearance on the ground, too, and it set up a dangerous scenario in the box that fortunately for Lang, Dortmund II did not take advantage of.
Playing the ball out from the back, Lang distributed accurate long balls to accelerate attacking play. His comfortability with this in play and from set pieces played well with Köllner’s preference for direct build up. Lang was generally calm and composed on the ball in this game even when facing some pressure. There were a few moments where he showed hesitation, but nothing major. Lang is also listed as two-footed on some sites, but I only saw him use his right foot in this match. He had a couple chances fall to him on set pieces in this match, too, but headed one wide and did not get a good connection with his right foot on the second.
Rating – A2
Niklas Lang put in a solid 90 minutes at center back in this match and was largely mistake-free. He does not stand out the most as an athlete, but his defensive technique is polished, and I can see it translating to 2. Bundesliga quite well. Lang is very well-rounded already for only a 20-year-old center back playing senior football, so the future is bright for him. He is not the most spectacular player, but he showed the potential to improve to possibly even a Bundesliga level one day.
- Nationality: Germany
- Age: 24
- Date of birth: 08/06/1998
- Club: TSV 1860 Munich
- Career: FC Augsburg (Y), SC Verl
- Position: Right Back
- Preferred foot: Both
Christopher Lannert is a lanky 180 cm summer signing from SC Verl that played the full 90 minutes at right back for 1860 Munich in this match. He had high levels of activity in this match and used his long strides well, sneakily being one of the paciest on the pitch.
Lannert was everywhere on defense in this match. He flew up and down the right flank, constantly looking to make an impact defensively, whether on the press or when Dortmund II was attacking. His body positioning in 1v1s was very eager and he closed down quickly, was on his toes and looked twitchy. Lannert’s quick twitch set him up to be in good positions. Sometimes, his physicality in duels would not overwhelm opponents but open him up to be exposed. In those instances, he made up for a negative play by not giving up and using his excellent recoveries to get back into position and cause a bad pass or put in a last-ditch tackle. Lannert’s tackles were all timed very well, and he mixed them up between standing and sliding.
Although his positioning in 1v1s was solid, there were times when he afforded his marker too much space and they were able to play an effective cross from the wing. It did not happen often, but it is a piece of his skill set that needs some refining.
On the attack, Lannert was so comfortable with both his left and right foot. He used them almost equally. It did not matter which foot Lannert passed with, he was a reliable distributor on the right wing. He showcased an array of passes from every distance with supreme accuracy. His direct long balls and through passes were excellent for pushing attacking paly to the target man. He played many of these, so a few were slightly over hit, but the creativity to find those passes consistently was impressive. Lannert also displayed great control when dribbling. He made it hard to get the ball off him without fouling and drew a couple. Part of one foul was that he did not quite have the agility to turn his man, but he still managed to maintain control of the ball while getting grabbed.
Lannert’s ability with both feet also made him a natural when inverting. Off ball, he made runs mainly on the outside to support central play, but there were periods of time where the tactics asked him to invert. Either way, Lannert mostly sat back behind the attack to offer support. Most of his offensive work was done in the buildup where he was a key kick starter to possessions.
Rating – A2
Christopher Lannert’s performance at right back displayed his comfort at the 3. Liga level. He does not have as many years to grow as Lang but his abilities in this game were of a player that should try his feet at a higher tier. I have no doubt Lannert would be a serviceable full back in 2. Bundesliga based off this performance.