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Why Galatasaray have a super run this season under Okan Buruk - scout report

Why Galatasaray have been the best side in the Süper Lig under Okan Buruk – scout report

Since the appointment of Okan Buruk in June 2022, Galatasaray, the historical champion of Turkish football, have made constant progress which was evident recently when they defeated their rival Fenerbahçe 3-0 in the Süper Lig.

Okan Buruk who played for 11 years with the Turkish giant, winning six leagues and a single UEFA Cup, arrived after Domenec Torrent, Pep Guardiola’s assistant in Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Manchester City, and after Fatih Terim the historical club manager. Okan Buruk had yet to manage one of the elite Turkish sides before his arrival but helped Istanbul Başakşehir to their first league in 2020.

This season Galatasaray are showing tactical diversity and enthusiasm to play modern football with the strategy of their new coach, and this tactical analysis, in the form of a team scout report, will provide an analysis of these strategies and tactics both in possession and out of possession, to observe how he succeeded to bring Galatasaray again to the top of the Süper Lig.

Formations & stats

Okan Buruk with Cimbom in his first season has an impact on the team’s performance. He is concentrating his principles and tactics around 4-2-3-1 for the majority of the season and occasionally transforming to 4-4-2 or 4-1-3-2 shapes as the below graphic shows.

Why Galatasaray have a super run this season under Okan Buruk - scout reportSource: Wyscout

The 4-2-3-1 base formation variations give him the possibility to be flexible and surprising with his tactics.

Galatasaray, with Okan Buruk, keep an average possession rate of 55.69% and averaged 460.09 passes per match (84.7% accuracy), also maintaining 153.44 forward passes per game (76.9% accuracy), 55.56 passes to the final third (71.8% accuracy) and 72.84 progressive passes (76.9% accuracy).

Furthermore, Cimbom are scoring 1.81 goals per 90 from 2.13 xG. The defensive security is even more impressive and they conceded the fewest goals (13 goals) in their league. They conceded only 0.94 goals per 90 from 1 xG, a single goal per game.

They intend to progress rapidly and vertically in the optimal moment and aim to create superiority all around the pitch.

Build-up & Progression

Galatasaray desire to build up play with the fewest number of players while the others are behind the opponent’s midfield or pinning the backline, using diversly a 2-3-5 and 3-2-5 with asymmetric fullbacks and implementing the different instructions from the double-pivot and also using the wingers to confuse the opponent while keeping depth and width as much as they can to distort them.

Below against Kasımpaşa’s high pressing, Galatasaray implemented a 3-1 base. Here, While Dries Mertens was pinning the opponent’s #6 and Kerem Aktürkoğlu was dragging the opponent’s fullback, the different roles between Lucas Torreira and Sergio Oliveira were highlighted. The former Roma man moved higher to exploit the space.

Why Galatasaray have a super run this season under Okan Buruk - scout report3-1 base of build with asymmetric fullbacks

Another way of confusing the pressing scheme can be seen in the graphic below against Fenerbahçe. Under a tight scheme, they succeed to penetrate by executing a forward diagonal passing sequence and combination with the dropping-off attackers which created space to exploit by the third man who is the overlapping RB in order to have a 3v2 numerical advantage over the backline in a large space.

Why Galatasaray have a super run this season under Okan Buruk - scout report3rd man combination in order to penetrate through the block

Why Galatasaray have a super run this season under Okan Buruk - scout reportManipulate the pressing scheme thru passes

Generally, exploiting the space behind the backline is considered one of the prime goals of Galatasaray this season, they intend always to manipulate the defenders by countermovements or direct deep movements and then playing long balls in behind. That’s obvious in the following graphics.

Why Galatasaray have a super run this season under Okan Buruk - scout reportMaking a dilemma to the backline by a countermovement

Why Galatasaray have a super run this season under Okan Buruk - scout reportDirect deep movements behind the backline

Occasionally, the expert Fernando Muslera has a significant role this season in this phase of play due to his important long-range passes toward the holding striker or directly to the wide wingers whose job it is to stretch the opposition’s backline.

Why Galatasaray have a super run this season under Okan Buruk - scout report

Below, they have the advantage to take the second ball after Muslera’s long ball toward Bafetimbi Gomis, and then they scored.

Excellent presence for the 2nd ball producing a goal

However, with a coach who is capable to use various solutions in different games, he had a great impact on the team. In some way, the team still have some issues in building and creating that appear from time to time, such as losing the ball in dangerous regions, but this will take time.

Creation’s Patterns

In the chance creation phase, Galatasaray attempt to reach the opponent’s goal through the fewest number of passes or a direct through-pass by wide overloads and overloading the box, waiting for a cross due to having strikers like Bafetimbi Gomis and Mauro Icardi.

Sergio Oliveira has his impact in this phase with his beautiful long balls and switching the play from side to side.

Why Galatasaray have a super run this season under Okan Buruk - scout report

Attacking the opposition’s backline with vertical and diagonal deep runs is a big detail in the era of Galatasaray with Okan Buruk. They create combinations like 1-2s or third-man runs to pin the defenders with this goal in mind.

Why Galatasaray have a super run this season under Okan Buruk - scout reportVertical run in gaps behind the backline

Here below, In Icardi’s goal versus Beşiktaş, they had executed a wide triangle in order to have superiority meanwhile they dominated the box and then manipulated the defenders, attacked the spaces brightly and scored.

Why Galatasaray have a super run this season under Okan Buruk - scout reportDynamic wing attacking with a superior box attacking

Attacking transitions

One of the main spears of Galatasaray with Okan Buruk is playing as fast as the players can. That’s mostly happening through the counterattacks.

There are some conceptions when it comes to counterattacking like regaining possession, running into space, supporting the attack, scanning the situation, looking for early release or running into space.

Below shows the second goal against Fenerbahçe. After Galatasaray’s midfielder had a successful interception, he decided to release as quickly as possible and played a long ball in space behind Fenerbahçe’s defensive line to Mauro Icardi and Kerem Aktürkoğlu who usually in the transitions used to initiate his run out-to-in. Then, Kerem scored.

Why Galatasaray have a super run this season under Okan Buruk - scout reportGalatasaray’s counter-attack against Fenerbahçe

The following example shows another execution from their immense win against Başakşehir 7-0. After gaining the ball back, Galatasaray’s player decided to run into the space while the other players supported the counter by running into the spaces to confuse the defenders before Mauro Icardi received in behind and played a super back pass to Kerem Aktürkoğlu who finished it.

Why Galatasaray have a super run this season under Okan Buruk - scout reportGalatasaray’s counter-attack against Başakşehir

Why Galatasaray have a super run this season under Okan Buruk - scout report

Defensive approaches

Switching the focus onto Galatasaray’s approach out of possession, their approach to pressing sees them use flexible roles to regain possession primarily in wide areas, but also in central areas when deemed most useful using the same system. However, they don’t seem to drop back and use a passive way of defending unless necessary.

Okan Buruk seems to utilize a 4-4-2 mid-block structure most of the time, minimising gaps between the lines, and waiting for any pressing triggers to move higher up the pitch to press.

Why Galatasaray have a super run this season under Okan Buruk - scout report 4-4-2 Midblock

Their defensive approach is highlighted by the defensive territory below. The bulk of their defensive actions is concentrated centrally to force the opposition wide and crush them against the touchline.

Why Galatasaray have a super run this season under Okan Buruk - scout report

Galatasaray usually use pressing traps in order to press high to regain possession in dangerous areas to counter-attack as quickly as possible as seen in the below graphics to force the opposition to build wide and then the full-back to jump and press using the touchline as an extra defender whilst his teammates were closing all possible passing lanes or a tight scheme to force the opponent’s goalkeeper to play a longball.

Why Galatasaray have a super run this season under Okan Buruk - scout reportForcing Fenerbahçe’s goalkeeper to play a long ball

Their high regains map below further illustrates this. They focus on high-pressing to recover the ball high. With Okan Buruk they have had 205 high regains and 282 counter-pressing recoveries. Of these, 81 are dangerous recoveries, all defined below.

Why Galatasaray have a super run this season under Okan Buruk - scout report

Galatasaray have a 9.6 PPDA per match against 11.64 for their opponents on average. PPDA is Passes Allowed Per Defensive Action, used to measure the pressure that the defending team puts on the opposition players when they are in possession of the ball.

Conclusion

This tactical analysis had explored in detail Galatasaray with Okan Buruk, concentrating on the optimistic aspects of their play and others.

Galatasaray will have to continue their performance and grow in anticipation of reaching the European competitions.

Galatasaray have much developed by their new players, and this is the virtue of having high-level players, yet with a good coach who passionate about his success so far. This season will be an examination of the extent of professionalism of this promising coach.