Can Luka Jovic Become the Next European Top Striker?
20-year-old Luka Jovic is one of the key players at Eintracht Frankfurt playing a phenomenal season so far. Leading the topscorer list of the Bundesliga 2018/19 with nine goals in nine matches, the young Serbian aroused the interest of the European giants Barcelona, Liverpool and many more.
“Our stands are full of scouts from European top clubs. They send their best guys.” – Fredi Bobic, Sporting CEO of Eintracht Frankfurt
In the following, we are going to analyse how Jovic made it to the top of the scoring charts in the Bundesliga and whether he has the potential to become a top striker of European’s football elite.
His role at Eintracht Frankfurt
Eintracht Frankfurt coach Adi Hütter deployed a 3-5-2 formation in the recent matches. Luka Jovic usually plays as a striker next to Haller and in front of Ante Rebic.
Because Frankfurt prefers to attack down the flanks, Jovic scored several times after crosses. Next to the tall Haller who is a real force in aerial duels, Jovic is the perfect counterpart as he likes to receive the ball on the ground to finish with his first touch.
Another part of Hütter’s philosophy is to threaten the opposition goal after winning the ball. Either Jovic is able to utilize his pace receiving through passes or he drops into the space between opposition midfield and defence to receive and turn. In these situations, Jovic can take advantage of his dribbling ability to outplay opponents or to create gaps for a through pass by dragging out defenders.
The above-displayed scenario shows Jovic utilizing his dribbling ability. Although being outnumbered, he can progress further up the pitch and keep the ball. This provides time for his teammates to move up the pitch and support the attack.
Observing the stats, it is obvious that the Serbian is an extremely effective striker. Even though the Serbian has not played every match in the starting line-up, he scored a big amount of goals because of his effectiveness. The following stats compare Jovic with other top strikers of Europe.
With his good off-ball movement the young striker is able to get rid of the opposition defenders. Often receiving the ball with an open body shape allows Jovic to finish with his first touch. Always knowing the exact position of the goal, the Serbian is able to take precise shots even under pressure.
Out of twelve goals he scored so far this season, eleven were scored from inside the penalty box. This fact bears witness to the assumption that the striker of Frankfurt likes to move in dangerous areas always seeking for opportunities to threaten the opposition goal. Taking a closer look at the Serbian, it becomes clear how he receives the ball in the penalty-box so often.
The most common movement of Luka Jovic is the delay in arriving in the penalty box. Contrary to his partner Haller, Jovic prefers to receive a cross between defence and midfield of the opposition. This ensures a beneficial body shape to shoot as well as pre-orientation where the goalkeeper is positioned since he can always face the goal.
As you can see above, Jovic suddenly stops his run to create a distance to the defenders. The opponents all move towards ball or goal. Just by keeping his position, Jovic gets rid of his opponents.
Receiving the ball in a promising position, Jovic often successfully shoots with his first touch. That way Jovic scored more than half of his goals. This is enabled due to the good pre-orientation Jovic already has in his first years as a professional.
How to stop Jovic?
Even though Jovic has an enormous skill set being only 20 years old, the striker is still defendable. RB Leipzig showed in their draw against Eintracht how to prevent the Serbian international from scoring.
The centre-backs of Leipzig were able keep a short distance to Jovic in the transition phases. This way they prevented him from turning towards the goal and making use of his pace.
Forcing him to dribble towards the wing eliminates the opportunity for Jovic to take a dangerous shot. Finally, it is necessary to outnumber Jovic with further defenders to dispossess him or to force him to play a back pass. This necessity emphasizes his quality in dribbling.
Moreover, closing down the space in front of the last line of defence is very important. Especially in cross situations, the space between the six-yard box and the edge of the penalty-box needs to be occupied by defenders. That is the space where Jovic likes to position himself in a cross situation, as you can see in the heat map above. Therefore, vertical compactness and attentive central defensive midfielders could make life difficult for Luka Jovic.
The highly coveted youngster is at loan in Frankfurt and has a contract with Benfica Lissabon until the end of the season. According to media reports the Bundesliga club has the option to purchase Jovic for €6m.
The analysis of his abilities showed that his skill set matches the demands of a top class striker. Therefore, sooner or later Luka Jovic will play for an international top club assumed he has no issues with injuries what we all hope for.
If you love tactical analysis, then you’ll love the new magazine from totalfootballanalysis.com – 118 pages of pure tactical analysis covering topics from the Premier League, Serie A, La Liga, Bundesliga and many, many more. Get your copy today for just £4.99 here!