Alfred Schroeder has served as assistant manager at FC Twente, Hoffenheim, Ajax and Barcelona with Steve McClaren, Hope Stevens, Julian Nagelsmann, Eric ten Hag and Ronald Koeman. Then he was a head coach repeatedly in Hoffenheim. What can Club Brugge expect from him? Andy Mulders, Home Affairs Analyst at VoetbalPrimeur.be will tell you.
These principles of tactical analysis/game are based on his role as head coach at Hoffenheim.
formation – composition
It is important to know that Schroeder is very flexible in its formations and this can change from week to week, if at all possible. If they play with four men at the back, Schroeder often plays at 1-4-1-4-1 or 1-4-2-3-1. With three men at the back, the outcome is more likely to be 1-3-4-3 or 1-3-5-2. I also wouldn’t be surprised if he had to put players in their abnormal positions.
The basis of Schreuder’s overhang is that position 6 is in the rear and will create space in the back, supporting the ball’s progression. This will create large spaces. This is exactly where Schroeder wants to go. Playing centrally (the pivot is very important) and if the opponent’s defense becomes too tight, it can potentially hurt teams across the board.
The defensive midfielder (#6) collapses to be playable. This allows one player (or both) to move up and use spaces.
Here’s a picture of what Schroeder’s team (in the past at Hoffenheim, perhaps also at Club Brugge) would look like when the goalkeeper takes a kick. Here we see that the number 6 is very deep, as are the central defenders. In addition, Schroeder gives plenty of room for the wings.
Schroeder will encourage his team to build from behind, even when his team is under pressure. He often pulls the opponent out of his squad by passing between different defenders before trying to exploit the spaces behind the opponent’s defences. This will be done through direct passes to the attacking midfielders, at the feet of the attackers or from above into the spaces on the sides.
If they play against equally strong teams, Schroeder prefers to build the patient from behind. The team will be directed to play up front, when the opportunity presents itself, of course. But they will not put any urgency and little risk in their game.
When building from the back (in a more advanced position, but still on their half team) they will drop the center back in a 3-man defense. The central defender sinks deeper than his teammates and is used to direct the stacked play and let the ball move back and forth until there is a clear gap to play forward.
The central defender plays in the defensive midfield and thus attracts the opponents. The back player has free space.
If we then move to the midfield, we often see two of the three midfielders dropping deep. This is to create space and play directly to the front line and support it. This also adds value to the playability of central defenders. With the third midfielder occupying a higher and wider position than his teammates, he can also provide support when the attacker gets the pass.
The back player of Schrörder’s team plays offensively. Three midfielders in support (point to back)
By playing directly from the defense in front, midfielders can offer an option to the central attacker and can now receive the pass facing the opponent’s goal rather than their back. After receiving the ball, they can drive into the space created by the original midfield.
The recipients of these through passes are often high-level defenders, attackers or midfielders working in half of the spaces, as we can see in the image below. They will have these options regardless of the configuration. In the previous example they played 1-3-5-2, but in the next match against Bayern they played 1-4-1-4-1.
To keep these third man options in more advanced areas, Schreuder will deploy multiple players to create space.
If possession is lost, they try to control the space around the ball. This means that they will apply high pressure and Schroeder uses the 4-5 second rule.
However, protecting central areas is a recurring principle in their defensive form and they will try to do so regardless of the formation. As shown below, Schroeder can position his midfield in a narrow triangle, pushing the grabbing opponent outward.
Schroeder uses 3 Return to drop him into a defensive 5 if possession is lost. As mentioned earlier, they often let the player advance, which is why they will drop at 1-5-4-1 when defending deep. The Full Back 5 is expected to press on the opposing flankers if they take possession of the ball, while the Full Back advances to ensure that the Lineback 4 is kept. The four midfielders will remain tight, once again protecting the central areas, forcing the opponent to play wide. .
One thing we see Schroeder teams doing is that the 3/back-5 backs don’t stand the same way and how their defense presses hard on an opponent who has possession to keep them away.
These principles are also evident in counter football, and they can certainly use this against strong/stronger teams like European football… Against stronger teams, Schroeder would basically collapse, leaving one striker up front, but with enough distance to do. A pass to get on your feet. This is to regain possession of the ball. We’ll basically see simple up and back running lines, with regular use of a third player running.
I expect Schroeder to also apply these principles to his new team, Club Brugge. Certainly because on paper Club Brugge has the best team in the Belgian league and can play very dominantly. These tactical principles are based on his time with Hoffenheim, where he spent his longest stint as head coach. Since he’s often been playing as an assistant coach in the meantime, I would expect a little tweaking here and there, but he’ll keep the key principles, which are possession and ball loss = high pressure (and the 4-5 second rule) but especially dominate from the central hub!
As the head coach of the club, he is not very successful. why? I think he is someone who really understands the tactical aspect of the game, but not the psychological or mental aspects of it. To be a great manager like Guardiola, the last Mourinho, you have to be able to build the confidence of your team and help them mentally, to give them that strength. And you also have to be a good manager. In my opinion, Schroeder is not.
Instead, Schroeder is like that guy who’s always behind the scenes, giving the head coach his tactical input and helping the team in general play better and more organized. You see we come up with a game plan these days, and if it doesn’t work, we get a lot better after the first half. I attribute all this to Schroeder.
After all, this is just speculation on my part, although history does not lie and his past as an assistant seems to support my speculation. There is a reason for a well-established young coach like Nagelsmann, who is moving to Bayern Munich as head coach, to ask someone he has apparently not heard of like Alfred Schroeder. There’s a reason Schroeder was the first person Koeman said he wanted as part of his crew when he got a call from Barcelona.
Writer: Eletcote Andy Mulders
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