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FC Midtjylland 2023/24: Analysing their summer transfer window – scout report tactical analysis tactics

Midtjylland 2023/24 scout report: Can their Thomasberg-led rebuild re-establish them among Denmark’s elite?

FC Midtjylland, one of Denmark’s most successful football clubs in recent years, has been somewhat forced into a mega rebuild this summer following a severely disappointing 2022/23 campaign, where they finished eighth in the regular season – a placing that saw them participate in the league’s relegation phase.

For context, in Denmark, after a double round robin, the table of 12 clubs is split in half: the top six play another double round robin against each other, and the bottom six do the same. Essentially, they end their season by pitting the best against the best and lesser against the lesser. Following a season plagued by poor form, Midtjylland, who finished second in the 21/22 season, managed to finish seventh overall – first in the relegation phase group, losing just once in those ten relegation phase games.

Their turnaround in form was mainly thanks to the impact of Thomas Thomasberg, the former Midtjylland player and Randers boss for the last five years, who was hired as the club’s manager following the sacking of Albert Capellas, who failed to guide the club in a satisfactory direction in his 25 games in charge.

Following a positive start to Thomasberg’s tenure (which is actually his second stint as Midtjylland boss), an opening that saw him guide the team to eight wins from 11, he has been heavily backed in the transfer window this summer, easily outspending the rest of the clubs in the Danish Superliga.

At the time of writing, they have spent just shy of £8.5m on players they believe will suit Thomasberg’s tactics, a total amount which, as mentioned, is leaps and bounds above anybody else in the league – a real sign of intent from the club. This scout report will provide a tactical analysis of the seven fresh faces they have recruited, with the analysis looking to highlight just why they were brought to the club.

Overview of Thomasberg’s tactics

Perhaps the most apparent tactical change made by Thomasberg was a fundamental one – ditching the 4-3-3 favoured by Capellas and instead deploying a good old 4-4-2 shape, with the occasional use of 4-3-1-2, which shares a lot of similarities to 4-4-2. His system allows for some versatility and the ability to attack via different avenues, as this segment of analysis will cover.

FC Midtjylland 2023/24: Analysing their summer transfer window – scout report tactical analysis tactics
A look at Midtjylland’s mid-block.

We start with a quick word about their off-the-ball approach. Thomasberg’s side appears to be well-drilled, with the players showing great respect for their manager’s philosophy & tactics. More often than not, they will deploy a mid-block, allowing the opposition to have the ball at the back. While this does give the opposition defenders more time on the ball, Midtjylland’s defensive organisation benefits from a higher presence since no players have left their post to apply high pressure.

FC Midtjylland 2023/24: Analysing their summer transfer window – scout report tactical analysis tactics
Assessing their tendency to find solutions to tricky situations, featuring new signing Olsson.

The image above shows Midtjylland playing out from a tricky situation, but the elements involved are vital as they are so prominent and present in their general play. While the defender does have the ball, he is in a potentially dangerous area with intense pressure being applied to him. And it is in situations like this where we can see Thomasberg’s influence – instead of clearing his lines, the defender calmly finds a supporting midfielder who has dropped in deep to offer an alternative route out of the situation. After receiving the ball, the midfielder instantly looks to push forward before spraying a perfectly weighted pass into the wide midfielder’s path.

The midfielder in question is Kristoffer Olsson, who spent last season at the Danish club on loan from Anderlecht. The Sweden international moved permanently for a fee of £2.4m – the club’s third-highest transfer fee paid (so far) this transfer window.

FC Midtjylland 2023/24: Analysing their summer transfer window – scout report tactical analysis tactics
Looking at how they like to push teams back, and that influences Midtjylland’s approach.

Olsson is the man in question again here. He likes to drop into deeper areas to receive the ball, often dictating his side’s attacking direction in these situations. Midtjylland are a team who will control possession when the chance presents itself, pushing the opponent deep into their own half – from the situation above, they will often look to play the next pass into wide areas, as we saw from Olsson in the previous example. However, this time we see his impressive vision and ability to play line-breaking passes by cutting a pass through the centre of the pitch into his teammate in attack.

While the striker dropped in deep to assist possession in the image above (which is a vital cog in their attacking machine), they can flip the script and attack in other ways. One way they tend to turn to is making runs into channels or gaps between opposition defences which are met with lofted balls – a quicker way forward with a lower accuracy rate.

Andé Römer – defensive midfielder

FC Midtjylland 2023/24: Analysing their summer transfer window – scout report tactical analysis tactics

The first new recruit to be discussed is defensive midfielder André Rømer, a Danish player who returns to his homeland after a spell at Swedish club Elfsborg. Believed to be a free transfer, Rømer returns to the club he left in January 2018.

More likely an addition to give a boost to squad depth, Rømer brings the element of Danish league experience and positional versatility – while a defensive midfielder by trade, he has the ability to play slightly higher up in midfield or as a right back. With his experience comes the ability to anticipate situations and read them well, as evidenced by his decent percentile ranking for positioning – find more evidence below.

FC Midtjylland 2023/24: Analysing their summer transfer window – scout report tactical analysis tactics
An excellent example of how a defensive midfielder should read a situation.

While some midfielders may have been drawn into marking the nearby opponent, Rømer is able to ignore that and instead shuffle across into a position that may seem a little wild until the opponent makes the pass – the returning Midtjylland midfielder makes it look effortless to get into that position and block the attempted pass forward. Breaking up opposition attacks in these areas could be a pivotal asset to Thomasberg’s side as they have displayed a tendency to do so themselves.

Oscar Hedvall – goalkeeper

This one is almost definitely a signing to provide cover in the GK ranks, so former Premier League keeper Jonas Lössl shouldn’t be too worried about his number-one spot. 24-year-old Hedvall arrives from fellow Danish club Silkeborg IF but only made four appearances in 2022/23, and they came in the Future Cup. However, he has experience, so he is a solid choice to add competition for the backup goalkeeper slot.

Franculino – centre forward

Young forward Franculino has yet to play senior-level football, having only played at U23 level for Portuguese giants Benfica, but the youngster could have a bright future. With that in mind, it is unlikely that he will play a regular role in Midtjylland’s season this time around, and maybe one for future seasons, but he does possess some qualities that could make him effective on the odd occasion.

FC Midtjylland 2023/24: Analysing their summer transfer window – scout report tactical analysis tactics

As you can see from his xG map, Franculino can be deadly in the penalty area, and if he gets the ball on target, there’s a good chance it won’t be saved. 14 goals in all competitions in 22/23 is a very impressive total, especially when you realise he is outperforming his xG by some distance. While he doesn’t rely on long shots too often, he has proven that he can be dangerous from range, so giving him space outside the box would be unwise.

FC Midtjylland 2023/24: Analysing their summer transfer window – scout report tactical analysis tactics
Franculino shows good teamwork traits in build-up play.

We mentioned earlier that Midtjylland often like one of the front two to drop in the link-up with the midfield unit, and Franculino has demonstrated an ability to do this. He is not afraid to show off his technical talent while doing so. The forward often shows good recognition and awareness of his surroundings while enabling him to make these subtle moves into space where he can help build the attack. Not only does the young Portuguese offer goalscoring threat and positional ability, but he has good technical aspects in his game, such as in the dribbling department, which he can do at great speed. This could be a very clever piece of business, especially considering he arrives on a free transfer.

Iver Fossum – central midfielder

FC Midtjylland 2023/24: Analysing their summer transfer window – scout report tactical analysis tactics

The final free arrival for Midtjylland in this analysis is 26-year-old Iver Fossum, who joins the club from fellow Danes Aalborg BK. Fossum is a strong calibre of player, as evidenced by his 14 international caps for Norway, and he brings some solid defensive qualities to the table. His data from last season shows us this – he was one of the best when it came to winning defensive duels, something that could pair nicely with the creativity of Olsson if they were to lineup alongside each other. This is likely why he was brought in – he isn’t expected to change the game by what he does in possession, but his defensive excellence in midfield could be vital in providing balance to the system.

Kristoffer Olsson – central midfielder

FC Midtjylland 2023/24: Analysing their summer transfer window – scout report tactical analysis tactics

And speaking of Olsson, here he is! We have already talked about what his role looked like last season for the club in terms of what he provides in possession and where he might pop up, and we expect that to continue this season. Olsson possesses outstanding creative and technical ability for this level and will likely be one of Midtjylland’s most important players this season.

He backs his performances up with stats as well – incredible percentile ranks for goal contributions and touches in the opposition box per 90 are indicators that he can get involved in the latter stages of attack rather than just the early ones. As you can tell by the pizza above, his passing is also consistently good in several departments. When you read that analysis of him and consider his play style as covered in the early stages of this article, it may not surprise you to learn that Olsson was at Arsenal during his U21 days – he is a blueprint of what they wanted their technical midfielders to do back then.

FC Midtjylland 2023/24: Analysing their summer transfer window – scout report tactical analysis tactics

Providing contributions in attack is a massive KPI for midfielders these days – the creative/attacking ones, anyway. You can play well, but if you aren’t providing goals/assists, you will likely fall down the pecking order if somebody else can provide that. Of course, being a good player isn’t all about goals but for creative midfielders, they must be able to put their ability to genuine good use, and Olsson does. With six assists in the season just passed and five goals scored, he is proving that he cannot only dictate tempo and possession direction and be influential in the early stages of build-up play but also extend his efforts to where it matters most. It would not be a surprise if he is the talisman for Midtjylland this season due to his creative talent – pairing him with a defensively sound midfield partner could be a goldmine for Thomasberg.

Gue-sung Cho – centre forward

FC Midtjylland 2023/24: Analysing their summer transfer window – scout report tactical analysis tactics

This isn’t the first forward involved in the article, but Geo-Sung Cho is much more likely to have a first-team impact on a regular basis this season than the aforementioned Franculino. Cho arrives from South Korean club Jeonbuk Hyundai for a reported fee of £2.62m, making him Midtjylland’s second most expensive recruit so far this summer. At 6″ 2′ tall, Cho offers a physical presence to Thomasberg, adding another dimension to the attack. And while he may be a tall forward, don’t let that fool you into thinking he doesn’t possess other physical traits other than strength and aerial ability – he has displayed good pace for a man of his size, especially when making runs off-the-ball. His data suggests that he is very active during the latter stages of approach play, getting on the ball in and around the box while also adding a healthy number of goals. Since the start of the 2021/22 season, Cho has scored 19 goals in 38 appearances during his time in Korea, and he will be hoping to transfer that form to Danish football. Another likely selling point for Thomasberg is that Cho is more than capable of playing as a left winger – his pace and good ball control definitely help here.

FC Midtjylland 2023/24: Analysing their summer transfer window – scout report tactical analysis tactics
Cho showing good attacking instinct to exploit a space in the box.

We spoke of showing good pace when running into space for a teammate, and here we have an example of that. He recognises the space between opposition defenders whilst his teammates build the attack down the flank with speed in the build-up play, similar to how Midtjylland can do in transitional attacks before he unleashes a wicked first-time side-footed volley following the cross from his wide teammate. A tall striker can already be a handful for defences. Still, Cho’s ability to get into unmarked spaces and utilise his speed could be important for his new side, especially if he can strike up a partnership with Olsson.

Sverrir Ingi Ingason – centre back

FC Midtjylland 2023/24: Analysing their summer transfer window – scout report tactical analysis tactics

Sverrir Ingason is Midtjylland’s most expensive summer signing, costing just over £3.4m. The central defender joins from Greek side PAOK and brings some excellent and much-needed qualities to the Midtjylland backline. Looking at his involvement on the ball first, his percentile rankings for both received passes and passes indicate confidence on the ball. At the same time, his accuracy suggests he offers nothing special, but is reliable enough – he won’t be required to make as many long passes due to Thomasberg’s style of play – he will be highly involved with the full-backs and central midfielders.

Defensively, Ingason offers aerial dominance as well as being strong in defensive duels – an all-around difficult defender to get the better of. His high percentile ranks for shots and touches in the opposition box suggest that he can be a significant threat from set pieces, and at 6″ 2′ tall, that comes as no surprise. Ingason brings some star quality to the backline, and Thomasberg will be looking for him to be an example to the rest of the defensive unit.


Quite the impressive haul from Midtjylland this summer. They’ve recruited a good blend of youth and experience while bringing in players that tick boxes in terms of both first-team quality and squad depth. The fact that they have looked outside of Danish football for many of these transfers could indicate how thorough their scouting system is, but only time will tell if it was done well enough. It also appears they invested in a new team spin, with many of the new signings primarily playing in central areas. With their increased form under Thomasberg, they were already likely on people’s list of teams to watch in the forthcoming season in Denmark – their transfer activity may just have increased that and with it, the expectation for success.