Ramona Bachmann at Paris Saint-Germain 2019/20 – scout report
While Olympique Lyon have made some significant moves in the transfer window already, Paris Saint-Germain announced their first major incoming player last week. The transfer of Ramona Bachmann from Chelsea is a coup for the Parisian club given the talent and long list of suitors that would have been after her signature. Paris Saint-Germain are getting closer and closer to building a squad that can challenge Lyon for the Division 1 Feminine title and Bachmann adds more quality and depth to their attacking line-up.
This scout report will look to breakdown Bachmann’s strengths and weaknesses and what role she will play for Paris Saint-Germain.
Ramona Bachmann is a 29-year-old wide forward and a Swiss international. Bachmann has played for several teams including Rosengard, Wolfsburg, and Chelsea before joining PSG. Bachmann is a hard-working, attacking winger and her role is a reflection of her style of play, preferring to start wide and cut inside. Bachmann’s style is best described as a wide playmaking inside forward that cuts inside where she shoots, dribbles, or passes, depending on the situation. Her position differs for Chelsea and Switzerland which reflects her versatility. Bachmann is able to play across the front four positions with her skillset adapting to the position she plays in.
Through tactical analysis, we will analyse Bachmann’s strengths and weaknesses before seeing how they translate into Paris Saint-Germain’s tactics. We will start off by understanding PSG’s attacking structure.
Paris Saint-Germain’s attacking structure
Bachmann joins a PSG team full of attacking talent with a mixture of young and experienced individuals. From star striker Marie Antoinette Katoto and Jordan Huitema, to the experienced Nadia Nadim and Formiga, PSG have a good base to which they can build on this summer. The acquisition of Bachmann reinforces their squad with more quality to compete on all fronts including the UEFA Champions League. Understanding PSG’s system and formation will help us establish how Bachmann will fit in.
Paris Saint-Germain often line up in a 4-3-3 but have also used a variation of 4-4-2 and 4-2-3-1, though the 4-3-3 is their most actively used system. The wide players are key components to their method of attack and build-up with Nadim, Katoto, and Kadidiatou Diani the first-choice front three. With attacking full-backs to match, PSG will look to be defensively solid in midfield to allow the front players more freedom, sometimes even creating a flat front four when attacking. The two wide players are positioned in much narrower positions as Diani is more of an inside-forward while Nadim is closer to a goal-scoring attacking midfielder (‘10’) that likes to play in the half-space / central areas. Katoto is very much a mobile striker interchanging positions with her two wide forwards, making PSG a very fluid team in attack.
Attacking & transitional phase & how she fits in at Paris Saint-Germain
Bachmann’s role and position mean her attributes revolve around dribbling and creativity in order to find and create space for her teammates. At Chelsea, she was deployed at left or right-midfield in a 4-4-2 but tended to come inside to pick up possession or stay wide when receiving the ball. In both situations, Bachmann will drive to the 18-yard box to try and take a shot but more often than not would find the two strikers. When you have two of the world’s best strikers in Sam Kerr and Bethany England, the tactics will cater to supplying them. The choice of action depended on the setup of the opposition. When Chelsea would counter-attack or had space to attack, Bachmann would drive into the opposition’s half looking to take a shot.
This heat map indicates Bachmann’s movement across her time at Chelsea and we can see the most significant areas are both out wide and the central areas when she gets closer to the 18-yard box. Bachmann’s combination of direct running and nimble feet in dribbling makes her unpredictable in her actions and her movement becomes tough to track. There isn’t much activity in the defensive third but the heat map shows just enough to convey Bachmann’s defensive ability which will be discussed later in the analysis.
Taking a play from Chelsea’s league game against Arsenal, we can see Bachmann going in to try and intercept/pressure the Arsenal ball receiver. Bachmann sees the pass being made early and immediately moves in.
The Swiss international manages to intercept and dispossess the defender, creating a counter-attacking opportunity. From here, Bachmann’s pace and quick dribbling ability ensure Chelsea are quickly through to Arsenal’s 18-yard box by pushing Arsenal’s defenders back and testing Manuela Zingsberger. While the shot was saved, it showed how she can quickly transition from off to on the ball and dribble through quickly. The statistics back Bachmann’s incredible dribbling ability by being ranked second in the FAWSL with 9.27 dribbles/90, making her one of the most dangerous dribblers in the league.
Her dribbling is not only a great attacking source but a way of her transitioning possession from midfield to attack. Bachmann’s ability to carry the ball and drift past players to move into a position where she can use her passing ability makes her a viable wide playmaker. She ranks 11th in progressive runs in the FAWSL to illustrate this.
The downside of Bachmann’s attacking game comes from her shooting frequency. Bachmann is an excellent ball carrier and could improve her goal contribution if she took more shots. The Swiss international averages 2.06 shots/90 with a 66% accuracy rate showing that can find spaces to shoot on target. This ranks her 30th in the FAWSL which isn’t good enough for wide forward with her ability.
I believe this comes down to the opposition’s team’s tactics by keeping a low-block, tightening the half-spaces but also because Bachmann needs to work to get into spaces around the 18-yard area and take more shots. We know she has incredible shooting ability but at Chelsea, she had Kerr and England who took the burden of goal scoring when playing in a 4-4-2. This way, she had to play a more playmaking role than as a direct attacker which could explain her low shot frequency.
I think the 4-3-3 system at PSG will benefit Bachmann because she’ll have much more space to work in the central areas with an attacking full-back overlapping her and Katoto looking to drop into spaces. This can open spaces for Bachmann to move into and take advantage of her shooting ability. Nadim and Formiga can take up the playmaker role, allowing Bachmann to play as an inside-forward. The tactics board illustrates the spaces and how Bachmann will find spaces through her teammate’s movements.
This shot map from Chelsea’s season shows four dribbles from Bachmann with three in the box. All three in the box resulted in a shot with one being converted into a goal. When she starts taking more shots and better positions, Bachmann will get more goals.
Against teams that sat back and closed off the spaces, Bachmann took more of a playmaker role, playing intelligent acute passes and moving into space to get defenders to focus on her position, opening up space for others. This is Bachmann’s way of transitioning the ball where she is able to pick up possession and progress play within the final third. This is more reminiscent of her natural game where she combines her dribbling, tactical intelligence, and passing to create chances.
Due to Chelsea’s dominating style of play against ‘weaker’ opposition teams, the Blues will naturally see more possession because teams will deploy a low-block system. This means Chelsea’s creative players need to rely on skill and vision to break down these defences. One of her better traits here is Bachmann’s passing by interchanging play quickly, especially around the 18-yard box. A lot of the time we’ll see Bachmann linger on the edge of the box and find space between defenders and engage in one-two pass combinations to open up space. This sort of progressive play is borne from Bachmann’s ability to think quickly and her agile feet.
We can see this here against Manchester United, where we see Bachmann move into the right half-space, and her move to this position attracts the attention of both centre-backs. Bachmann knows Maren Mjelde is in space in the wide right position, so when she receives the pass from Millie Bright, three United defenders converge on Bachmann’s position but she releases an immediate pass to Mjelde to take advantage of the vacant space to cross.
Bachmann isn’t much of a defender but has the attributes and skills to be good off the ball defensive presence for PSG. Bachmann’s main skill here is her ability to press players and put enough pressure to dispossess and counter-attack. As we saw in the previous example against Arsenal, Bachmann is excellent at going after players and her aggressiveness is something that can help PSG when it comes to playing the more dominant sides in Division 1 Feminine and Champions League. If we look at her statistics in this regard, we can see that her recoveries per 90 is 4.81 but 82% is in the opposition half, which makes her a useful off-the-ball asset against sides PSG want to press high. Her 7.9 defensive duels/90 with a 65% success rate is another indicator of her ability to win back possession.
Bachmann is persistent and that has shown in her on-field play over the course of Chelsea’s season. In this example against West Ham, we can see Bachmann anticipating the pass into the player closest to her. She begins to close the player down to try and cause a mistake.
Though the player managed to get the ball away, Bachmann followed the ball and eventually duels another player and manages to finally win back possession for the Blues and keep the attack alive. Even after being six goals up, Bachmann has not let her standards slip. The aggressive nature of PSG’s full-backs means the wide players will need to track and help them, especially against more dominant teams. In this regard, Bachmann could be useful in winning back possession higher up or dropping back and providing extra support to her full-back when playing at left wing. Do not expect the most effective defending, but it is more useful than most wingers will be able to do.
How to get the best out of Ramona Bachmann
Although we’ve said Bachmann’s major strength will come by playing more of an inside-forward role, I think her experience as a playmaker will serve her well when it comes to playing in different systems. I think Paris Saint-Germain could benefit from a system change to a 4-3-2-1 where Bachmann could play as a number ‘10’ which I believe can be her best position. I was inspired by Carlo Ancelotti’s AC Milan side of 2007 because PSG have the personnel to utilise a similar central-oriented formation.
Bachmann has the attributes to carry out the role Kaká played for AC Milan. His main role was to progress the ball forward through his dribbling to either shoot or find a teammate. Bachmann playing in a central position could carry out a similar role especially given the fluidity of the other PSG attackers. The statistics show that Bachmann has 3.09 passes to the final third with a 66.7% success rate and 4.12 passes to penalty area with a 25% accuracy rate, thus proving her ability to play these passes when required along with her incredible dribbling abilities as explained above.
The image above is a graphical representation of how Bachmann can be more influential as a ‘10’. With a support-oriented midfield providing defensive solidarity and creativity, Bachmann will be able to freely roam from her central position. Diani’s tendency to drift inside makes her the perfect partner for Bachmann. Katoto’s ability to drop deep into space is complementary and allows Bachmann a constant passing option in the 18-yard box which is the role Filippo Inzaghi took up for Milan. Katoto especially can be extremely lethal in this system by interchanging positions with Diani and the onrushing Nadim from deep, making late box-to-box runs. Bachmann will also be able to use her shooting ability from the half-spaces in and around the 18-yard box whilst also using her playmaking ability. PSG have attack-oriented full-backs that can create width when needed, giving them an alternate source of attack.
I believe Bachmann is a very intelligent pickup from Paris Saint-Germain, and one that can really compliment the other attackers in the group. With the number of transfers happening in the window at the moment, getting a player of Bachmann’s quality from FAWSL Champions Chelsea is a big move. Bachmann’s skill-set seems to be complementary to Katoto, Diani, and Nadim where the four can potentially become one of the best quartets in women’s football next season.