Fortuna Düsseldorf bought Benito Raman one year ago for £1.35 million from Standard Liège after he was already with them on loan during the 2017/18 season. After his two years at Düsseldorf, he now moved this summer to Schalke for a reported fee of £11.70 million.
Considering this, Düsseldorf received from Schalke more than eight times the money which they paid for him just 12 months ago. Furthermore, his market value also increased extremely within the last season. At the beginning of the 2018/19 season, his market value was £2.25 million and now it’s £10.80 million.
This tactical analysis in the form of a scout report will examine his abilities and show why he became such a valuable player.
Positioning and runs
Düsseldorf usually used a 4-4-2 or a 4-1-4-1 during last season. Raman mostly played as the left or right-winger. The wingers were responsible to provide width when the team was in possession and support the full-backs when the opposition attacked.
As soon as Friedhelm Funkel’s team got on the ball, Raman tried to create a triangle with his full-back and the central midfielder on the according side. This triangle was important for the ball circulation and Raman’s wide positioning created some space in the centre for the central midfielder.
As this analysis will show later, the Belgian has got an incredible acceleration and pace. He used these factors to dribble past defenders in one-on-one situations or to receive passes behind the last line of the opposition’s defence. However, especially the deep runs were really hard to defend for the opposing defenders. In addition, in some moments, his teammate upfront dropped deeper and lured a defender out of his position. This movement created space in which Raman sprinted into to receive the ball.
Besides, the Belgian understands how to avoid being offside when the pass is played. He often used horizontal runs like in the image below and changed his direction just before his teammate played the through ball.
Speed and aggressiveness
As explained in the last paragraph, one of the 24-year-old’s greatest weapons is his incredible speed. Due to that, his teammates often tried to find him with through passes and then he bet the opposing player to the ball several times.
Raman is always among the most aggressive and motivated players on the pitch. Whether it’s with how much enthusiasm he celebrates the goals which are scored by his team, how he’s always giving 100% or how aggressive he is when it comes to defensive duels and tackles. Even though this doesn’t win you matches, it sets such a strong and clear tone to the rest of the team and the fans.
In the shot above he supports his left-back Niko Gießelmann and makes a successful sliding tackle. In Funkel’s 4-4-2 and 4-1-4-1, the wingers also had essential defensive duties since they were just promoted from the Second Bundesliga last season and so they were the underdogs in almost every game. These are the reasons why Raman made per game on average 3.84 recoveries during the last season in the Bundesliga.
Keep it simple
The Belgian winger is a very straightforward player who keeps it simple on the pitch. You rarely see him doing step-overs or play a pass with the backheel. This is one of the reasons why he fitted so well into the tactics of Düsseldorf since they play direct and simple football.
Raman played per 90 minutes on average 22.56 passes last season and 68.9% of them were successful. His success rate isn’t that high since he seemed to be a bit sloppy in some situations.
However, the Belgian almost never played risky passes and always tried to find the most effective passing option. In the image below he could continue a vertical dribble but would get isolated by his opponents. Also, a pass to his teammate up front or to the opposing winger would be easy to defend for the opposition. Considering these factors, he plays a simple but very effective pass to his teammate in the centre who has now got a lot of space.
Raman scored 10 goals in the Bundesliga last season. That’s a good value when you consider that he’s a winger and that he made 30 appearances. But this statistic gets even better when you take account of the fact that he played 1680 minutes and so he scored a goal every 168 minutes when he was on the pitch. So, he scored on average 0.54 goals per game.
However, Raman is able to score goals with both of his feet. He scored six of his goals last season with the right one, three with the left foot and one with his head. This shows his incredible versatility. Furthermore, his goals aren’t simple tap-ins, but very often incredible shots like in the shot below. He scored this beautiful goal against Berlin on the 28th matchday.
Even though his goalscoring threat is amazing for a winger, crosses are probably his greatest weapon. He just crossed on average 2.68 times per game during last season but made four assists in his 1680 minutes on the pitch.
The special aspect about his crosses is that he never crosses without an exact idea. He always tries to look for a teammate and then finds him with a cross. In the example below his only teammate in front of the goal is marked by an opponent. However, Raman notices a teammate in the background and finds him with a good low cross.
In another example, he sees that the only option to create a goalscoring chance is to find Kevin Stöger in front of goal. So, he plays a low cross through the legs of the opponent to provide an assist for his Austrian teammate.
At Schalke Raman has to fight for his place in the team of the coach David Wagner. The other wingers in the team are Daniel Caligiuri, Alessandro Schöpf, Yevhen Konoplyanka, Rabbi Matando and Steven Skrzybski. However, Skrzybski played most of the time as a striker during last season and is also currently injured. Matondo is 18 years old and joined Schalke just half a year ago and will need some time to gain experience.
In light of this, we will focus beside Raman on Caligiuri, Schöpf and Konoplyanka and compare their stats from last season. Firstly, Raman was by far the player with the greatest goal threat. The other three players scored combined nine goals during last season in the Bundesliga while the Belgian made 10 goals as already mentioned above.
Furthermore, only Caligiuri assisted more often than Raman. The Italian made five assists compared to Raman’s four. But you have to consider that Caligiuri spent 2760 minutes on the pitch last Bundesliga season and the Belgian just 1680 minutes. However, Konoplyanka and Schöpf both just assisted one time showing that Caligiuri was by far the most important winger last season at Schalke.
A certain aspect of the game in which Raman is not much better than the other three players is the dribble. He dribbled on average 5.65 times per 90 minutes last season compared Konoplyanka’s 10.5, Schöpf’s 4.41 and Caligiuri’s 5.47. But with just a success rate of 40.20%, he is by far the weakest compared to the other three players.
However, Caligiuri was very important for the team over the last two seasons and will be a starter as a right-back or on the right-wing. Raman’s greatest competitor for the place in the first eleven will be the Austrian Schöpf because Konoplyanka never really showed good performances since he joined Schalke and he maybe will join Fenerbahçe Istanbul within the next few weeks.
As this scout report showed, Raman isn’t a classic winger who dribbles much and is always looking for a special moment. He tries to keep it as simple as possible and has got an enormous goal threat and can deliver great crosses into the penalty box. In addition, he’s always ready to give everything for the team on the pitch and assumes his defensive responsibilities.
However, it will be interesting to watch with which system Wagner will go and who he will prefer on the wing. Another big question is if Raman can show such great performances like he did at Düsseldorf.
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