Benedict Hollerbach is SV Wehen Wiesbaden’s 21-year-old German gem in attack. He has the skillset to play as striker (center forward or second striker) and as a left wing forward (inverting with his dominant right foot). Hollerbach has scored 14 times along with 3 assists in 28 matches and is lighting 3. Liga on fire. It is not just in the numbers, he more than passes the eye test, too.
Hollerbach is a stockier built 181 cm forward with good strength and no fear of contact. The German combines his strength and press resistance with true, raw pace that is hard for defenders at this level to keep up with. His explosion when making runs and instincts to turn and go on turn of possession are at top ability in this league, often catching his marker off guard. His explosive athleticism, especially his pace, is way ahead of the pack in 3. Liga.
Beginning with his most important asset on the attack, finishing, is essential in understanding Hollerbach’s importance to Wiesbaden. Not only is he their top scorer, he provides a more than serviceable creative threat, too. Hollerbach may be right-footed, but he is nearly two-footed and looks quite comfortable using his weaker left. Hollerbach’s accuracy when finishing hardly suffers when using that weak foot, and generally he likes to finish low and with power. His ability to finish consistently and make himself a mainstay deep in the box when possession is in the final third keeps him a threat to score and create at all times. His cerebral movement is a great threat along with his finishing, as he slides into the right places no matter where possession may be. In transition, his pitch-stretching runs down the middle channel get him into position to get on the end of through balls, out-pacing his marker usually. If he does not outpace his marker on the break, he can use his press resistance to go shoulder to shoulder and be competitive in a duel. When making these runs, Hollerbach often splits defenders to find the right gaps to remain a valid option for his teammates when advancing. Hollerbach’s overall ability to put himself into places to create and finish and have the end product to do so are why he has become the league’s most dynamic young scorer.
After receiving, his decisions are quick and he tends to beat his marker inside with pace, keeping a tight dribble with the ability to distribute with either foot from range. His distribution is better with his right, but his left is not much weaker. Hollerbach’s accuracy could be better overall, but his creativity to play teammates through especially in the final third makes up for, as that causes danger in the box even when it is not him shooting. Hollerbach also receives well in the direct buildup from the goalkeeper, utilizing his frame and press resistance to win aerial duels, controlling with his chest or feet, and making quick back passes to retain possession. When dueling for headers in these situations, he did well for his size to win and distribute accurately, sometimes playing behind himself, but more often those conservative back passes to protect possession. This hold up play remains consistent and gives him positional versatility, as a striker who can perform target man duties and play off another striker by getting in behind as an option. Again, the pace and strength combine to be a positive aspect of his offensive threat. Additionally, when playing the left wing, Hollerbach showed that he could also receive deep in his own third and begin ball carrying to advance, although he does still tend centrally, cutting inside with that dominant foot.
Defensively, Hollerbach’s work rate was quite high for such a hard-working attacker, constantly searching for runs and coming short, asking for the ball to carry and progress. He was relentless on the press, that is the best way to put it. If possession got close to his area he was all over his marker, engaging quickly with pace and not shying away from contact. Hollerbach would put in physical stand challenges, not timing them the best, but the volume and annoyance of it overwhelms his opponents and causes bad passes. He also steps into passing lanes with good instincts and blocks passes/gets interceptions more than you would expect from an attacker. When positioned on the left wing, he even tracked back as an extra body in defense and still presented that same skillset, bothering opponents on the wing frequently. Hollerbach’s instincts translating when defending and pressing could be a good sign for any club willing to try him at 10, as he has already performed quite well as a second striker with a partner up top.
Tactically, his pressing ability and work rate match well with Wiesbaden’s aggressive high-pressing style. On the attack, he slots in well in multiple spots for them, and figures to do so at the next level, too. Whether he is filling in a target man type role, playing second striker, or inverting from the wing, Hollerbach is a high-quality attacker in 3. Liga. With that, his skillset matches best with a high tempo style, and Wiesbaden’s system takes full advantage of his pacey play. He is clearly above the level and a system that maximizes him makes that shine even more.
Expect Hollerbach to be playing at a much higher level than 3. Liga after the summer transfer window (his contract is expiring at season’s end). His club will have a hard time holding onto him as he is tearing up the league and may even be too good for 2. Bundesliga already. His current ability and form present a player ready to step up for a Bundesliga club in the bottom third of the table. Hollerbach has a lot of time to continue growing as a striker and his overall potential is pointing toward a Europa League if not Champions League starter.