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Patrik Schick 2019/20: Schick's striking partnership with Timo Werner - scout report tactics

Patrik Schick 2019/20: Schick’s striking partnership with Timo Werner – scout report

When Czech striker Patrik Schick joined RB Leipzig at the start of the Bundesliga 2019/20 campaign, it was a mystery to whether the striker on loan from AS Roma would become a regular starter under coach Julian Nagelsmann. Despite having a lot of potential, Schick often struggled with injuries and apart from flashes of brilliance he could not convince in Serie A. At Leipzig, however, Schick is flourishing and taking up a vital role within the attacking department.

In the following tactical analysis, we will take a closer look at how Schick’s skill set suits RB Leipzig’s tactics under Julian Nagelsmann. Furthermore, we are going to analyse the interplay between Timo Werner and Schick at Leipzig.

Schick’s profile and his role at Leipzig

In RB Leipzig’s recent games, Schick and Werner were often lined up together as a striking duo in a 3-5-2 system. In the away game at Schalke, as we can see below, they attacked together with Werner playing on the left side and the left-footed Schick on the right.

Patrik Schick 2019/20: How Schick flourishes at Leipzig together with Timo Werner - scout report tactics
RB Leipzig’s lineup in their Bundesliga match against Schalke [Credit: Wyscout]
Since Werner mostly attacks down the left-wing or half-space, Schick slightly tends to move to the right side of the pitch. By taking a closer look at Schick’s heat map, which is displayed below, one can see what role the Czech striker fulfils. The 24-year-old attacker moves up front with good horizontal movement looking for opportunities to receive and link-up play. Whenever his side reached the final third, Schick occupied the central area within the box the get into a position to finish.

Patrik Schick 2019/20: How Schick flourishes at Leipzig together with Timo Werner - scout report tactics
Patrik Schick’s heat map in 2019/20 at RB Leipzig [Credit: Wyscout]
One of Schick’s biggest strengths is his first touch. He rarely controls the ball without an intention. Instead, his first touch already introduces the following action whether it is a dribble, pass or shot. A good first touch also allows him to quickly turn when receiving the ball turned backwards to the opposition goal.

Patrik Schick 2019/20: Schick's striking partnership with Timo Werner - scout report tactics
Here, Schick turns, controls the ball and gets into a position to shoot with his first touch.

With his aerial abilities, Schick, unlike Werner, is able to ensure that Leipzig retain possession although they are forced to play a long ball during build-up. With Schick acting as the target man up front, similar to Yussuf Poulsen, Leipzig’s midfield can receive lay-offs.

Patrik Schick 2019/20: Schick's striking partnership with Timo Werner - scout report tactics
After a long ball, Schick lays the ball off to Werner with a header.

This is an important feature of Leipzig’s attacking style as they seek opportunities for up-back-through combinations. And with Schick playing up front, they can also use chipped balls to progress up the pitch and get the ball into space between the lines for a final through pass.

Combination play & box-movement

Leipzig’s attacking style revolves around quick vertical combinations. Therefore, a commonly used pattern is the up-back-through pattern preferably through the half-spaces or the central lane.

Patrik Schick 2019/20: Schick's striking partnership with Timo Werner - scout report tactics
While Schick is turned backwards to the goal, Werner can receive Schick’s back pass facing the goal. In this case, Werner can drive inside. In other scenarios, Leipzig also immediately play a through pass after the back pass.

In these situations, Schick functions as the wall player on the last line laying the ball off to Leipzig’s midfielders. From an area between the lines, Leipzig’s midfielder can then look for a possible through pass or chipped ball to break the last line of defence.

Although Leipzig’s first-choice attack is to penetrate the opposition attack with through passes, Nagelsmann’s side also put in crosses from wide areas. In these scenarios, Schick plays a vital role. Schick’s shot map in the Bundesliga 2019/20 season so far illustrates where the Czech international likes to position himself for finishing.

Patrik Schick 2019/20: Schick's striking partnership with Timo Werner - scout report tactics
Patrik Schick’s shot map in the Bundesliga campaign 2019/20 so far [Credit: understat.com]
Often, Schick takes up positions between the six-yard box and the penalty spot. Since most central defenders position themselves at the edge of the six-yard box, Schick’s positioning enables him to receive the ball between the centre-backs and central midfielders on their way back. This clever box-movement between the defensive lines makes Schick one of the biggest threats during Leipzig’s wing attacks.

Patrik Schick and Timo Werner

One of the positive side effects of Schick’s rise is the interaction with Leipzig’s attacking star Werner. Werner is linked with a move to Liverpool and has shown why he’s such a sought after asset. When both players are on the pitch, Schick usually plays in a more central role while Werner attacks with a focus on the left side. These roles suit both, Schick as well as Werner. Whereas Schick can win aerial duels, shield the ball and act as a target-man, Werner prefers to attack facing the goal and utilising his pace with diagonal runs or dribblings into space behind the opposition back line.

With Werner’s dribbling, the German international occupies several defenders on the left side. In the meantime, Schick is positioning himself between the opposition central defenders awaiting a possible cross or pass.

Patrik Schick 2019/20: Schick's striking partnership with Timo Werner - scout report tactics
In this situation, all opposition defenders focus on Werner who is carrying the ball out wide. Meanwhile, Schick already moves between the defenders awaiting the opportunity to receive the ball. Only seconds later, Schick gets the ball and can score from within the box.

With the opposition defensive department mainly focusing on Werner, Schick is given more space within goal near areas.

One of Leipzig’s main principles of play is to overload certain areas. With Schick and Werner both attacking through the same lane, they can outnumber the opposition or isolate other attackers.

Patrik Schick 2019/20: Schick's striking partnership with Timo Werner - scout report tactics
With Werner and Schick attacking down the left, they can outnumber the opposition full-back.

In transition moments, Werner and Schick complement each other very well. Contrary to Werner’s preference to receive the ball in space behind the defence, Schick is also capable of utilising the space in front of the opposition back line when receiving the ball at his feet.

Patrik Schick 2019/20: Schick's striking partnership with Timo Werner - scout report tactics
While Werner attacks the space behind the opposition back line, Schick stays in front of the defensive line and therewith manipulates the positioning of the central defender.

From there, the Leipzig striker either looks for an easy through pass or he attempts to get into a finishing position with dribbling. Moreover, when the ball is played to Schick in these moments, a defender is forced to step out. This creates further gaps within the defensive department which can be exploited with Werner’s deep runs.

When both, Schick and Werner are positioned centrally, they use counter-movements to create space for each other. While one starts a deep run, the other provides a short passing option.

Patrik Schick 2019/20: Schick's striking partnership with Timo Werner - scout report tactics
In this case, Schick’s deep run drags away the defenders which creates space for Werner to receive a short pass.

By attacking through central areas together, they occupy the opposition back line centrally and allow their wide players to move into the vacated space out wide.

Patrik Schick 2019/20: Schick's striking partnership with Timo Werner - scout report tactics
Here, Leipzig’s left-back Angelino is given much space out wide since both Werner and Schick are positioned inside.

Conclusion

As shown in our analysis, it is not a coincidence that Schick can convince with great performances at Leipzig. Our scout report has proven that the Czech striker does not only benefit from Leipzig’s attacking style which suits his skill set but also takes advantage of Werner’s qualities complementing his very well.

However, it seems that Schick’s successful time at Leipzig has just begun and if he can continue to perform, there will be no doubt that RB Leipzig will aim at buying the AS Roma loan.