Kerem Demirbay 2018/19 - scout report - tactical analysis tactics
Artwork by @chapulana

Bayer Leverkusen have been an exciting team to watch lately, and it seems that they are motivated to perform even better in the new season. They have already been active on the summer transfer window with the signing of Kerem Demirbay from Hoffenheim.

The 26-year-old midfielder might be the perfect fit for Bayer with his strong decision-making and creativity. The team has defensive issues, but having him in the squad might be a solution to some of their problems, especially when caught on a counter-attack.

Using tactical analysis, we will analyse how could he fir the Leverkusen style of play in this scout report.

How his strengths could match Leverkusen’s style of play

Demirbay seems like the perfect match for Leverkusen. He is more of a box-to-box midfielder with strong skills on the ball combined with intelligent moves off it.

He is a professional dribbler and would dribble past his opponents frequently. This would be extremely helpful for his new team as they tend to counter-attack pretty often. Having a perfect dribbler helping in gaining back possession and then using his pace and ball control to advance the pitch sounds like a good opportunity.

Kerem Demirbay 2018/19 - scout report - tactical analysis tactics
Kerem Demirbay’s 2018/19 heatmap

The German international has shown his ability to cover wider areas, and his role hasn’t been focused only on one phase of the game. He would not only be used as a pivot due to his great passing abilities but will also contribute extremely well to the team’s attacking ventures with his late runs into the box.

Kerem Demirbay 2018/19 - scout report - tactical analysis tactics
Demirbay was positioned in the central midfield whilst his teammates were advancing the pitch.
Kerem Demirbay 2018/19 - scout report - tactical analysis tactics
He then made a late run to the edge of the box and was on the perfect position to finish the attack and eventually score.

Although his performance when it comes to scoring wasn’t his best last season, Demirbay also has a killer left foot. He could contribute with strong long-distance finishing when needed, having in mind his new team’s style of play includes creating long shot opportunities. His shot accuracy is not the strongest, but this has often been a matter of the lack of good service.

Kerem Demirbay 2018/19 - scout report - tactical analysis tactics
The Turkish tends to send long balls a lot. Combined with his intelligence it works wonders. In this case he saw his teammate on the flank and sent a long ball to the edge of the box behind the defenders’ backs.

He turns out as a great source of creativity in the final third as his spacial awareness is strong and his flair for a perfectly measured through ball is impressive. Combined with strong decision-making, he could be a great help of Bayer’s forward line.

Being quick with the ball in his feet and not being bothered when under pressure is a nice combination especially when the opposition is applying immense press. His movements all over the midfield area are often dragging players towards him and opening spaces for his teammates to operate in. He is also able to allocate the tiniest spaces and exploit them with an intelligent movement and use his dribbling to escape his markers and move the ball to the more advanced areas.

His off the ball movement could be used in the final stages of the attack where he could contribute as an option for a short pass combination in order to help the team escape the press and create opportunities.

Kerem Demirbay 2018/19 - scout report - tactical analysis tactics
Demirbay’s pass map against Borussia Mönchengladbach. It shows his importance in all areas of the pitch.

Leverkusen are strong at attacking set-pieces, and that is something Demirbay could fit perfectly. He has been the set-piece taker for his ex-team Hoffenheim as he was mostly used for taking corners and free kicks. This should be a red light for Bayer’s opponents as they already perform well when it comes to set-pieces. They have scored 12 goals this way in the 2018/19 season.

He could fit either four-man defences or back threes. His role could slightly change in the different formations though. He could be used as extra defensive support and play in the defensive midfield as he has the will to win back possession. He could also be positioned in the more advanced areas, helping with distributing the ball and helping with releasing the midfield press. The attacking midfield is definitely where he feels more comfortable. He performs better when there is a holding player in behind.

Kerem Demirbay 2018/19 - scout report - tactical analysis tactics
His through balls are his speciality. He is able to send the ball to the box directly from the central midfield. His awareness of his teammates’ positioning is one of his strongest qualities as shown in the picture above.

Once his team gain back possession, he could quickly change the direction of the ball with his movement and dribbling, which allows quicker build-up.

Bayer tend to attack through the wings and Demirbay could increase their efficiency.  Spreading the ball out wide and then moving off it so he could allocate himself in the box could be crucial.

How his strengths could improve their weaknesses

Levekusen have some struggles in the defensive third, often being unaware of the opened spaces which allows their opponents to create a lot of chances. This often results in them not being able to protect the lead that they deservedly gained.

Demirbay’s positioning might be of help in these situations as his frequent movement all over the midfield will constantly block the passing lanes and make it harder for the opposition to find a way to the box.

Being that skilful on the ball would allow the team to hold on to the ball for longer periods of time thus avoid giving it away to the opposition. Using this advantage against teams with similarly skilful players would save them a lot of trouble, as Bayer’s defensive line often fails to put enough pressure on them.

“It could not have worked out better for me,” Demirbay told German sports magazine Kicker “We’re playing in the Champions League, I get to play with top players, the philosophy of the club and the coaches are, in my opinion, world-class.”

For Hoffenheim, he has made 8,95 recoveries on average per game, combined with an average of 4,85 interceptions. If he manages to implicate the same performance for Leverkusen, his impact would be immense. The Leverkusen defence has its struggles in stopping the opposition from creating chances. This is where Demirbay’s abilities will come along.

Kerem Demirbay 2018/19 - scout report - tactical analysis tactics
He could be of help during defensive transitions and counter as shown above. Once Mainz had the possession, Demirbay immediately started his defensive positioning and managed to recover the ball.

Conclusion

Through this analysis, it will be interesting to see if the coach Peter Bosz is going to use him as an additional creative force for the team’s attacking actions or will pin him in the defensive midfield as extra support to the back-line. The tactics used by the Leverkusen coach could propel Demiraby to another level. However, the one attribute he could work on is his pass accuracy, as he could be way more efficient if he manages to complete most of his passes accurately. Demirbay seems happy with his move to Leverkusen and shows a motivation to improve.


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