Eintracht Frankfurt may be the Bundesliga’s most in-form team in 2021, but their 2-1 victory over Bayern Munich on Saturday still came as something of a surprise. So how did they manage it?
With the help of AWS, who entered into a wide-ranging partnership agreement with the DFL Deutsche Fußball Liga at the start of this year, fans, pundits and journalists alike all now have access to more telling statistical information, such as Goal Probability, xGoals, Average Positions, Most Pressed Player and Attacking Zones.
This allows for greater insights when it comes to analysing matches – such as Frankfurt’s triumph at the weekend.
Watch: Highlights of Frankfurt's 2-1 win over Bayern
Attacking zones: Frankfurt unpredictable in first half
That duo, alongside left-winger Filip Kostic, who teed up Kamada for the opener in the 12th minute, caused Bayern no end of problems in the first half, each of them launching an equal number of attacks from their “own” attacking zones in the final third.
In concrete terms, 26 percent of Frankfurt’s attacks in the first half came from the left wing (Kostic), 26 per cent from Younes in the left-hand channel, and another 26 per cent from Kamada in the right-hand channel, making Adi Hütter’s side extremely unpredictable going forward.
Bayern, by way of contrast, were easier to read and concentrated their attacking efforts down the flanks over the course of the 90 minutes, with 71 percent of their forays into the opposition third coming from the wings.
The flow of the game changed in the second half as Bayern increased the pressure as they sought a way back into the game. As a result, Frankfurt shifted their attacking efforts to the right-hand side of the pitch, with 61 percent of their moves taking place there in the second half.
It was an effective strategy from Bayern: Kostic and Younes had tormented them in the first 45 minutes, but they were largely taken out of the game in the second half. Yet while Hansi Flick’s side dominated possession after the break, they only managed to pull one goal back.
Too little too late from Bayern
The Bundesliga Match Fact “Real Positions” shows that Bayern were unable to respond with attacks after falling behind. Following Kamada’s opener in the 12th minute, the Eagles continued to harry Bayern deep in their own half for the next 10 minutes.
As the central figure in Frankfurt’s three-man backline, Martin Hinteregger was the furthest player back during this period; his average position was just behind the halfway line in his own half.
By way of comparison, Robert Lewandowski was Bayern’s most attacking player during those 10 minutes, but his average position was just outside the centre circle in the Frankfurt half – a long way from where he likes to be.
Watch: The three new Bundesliga Match Facts
The roles were reversed almost to the point of being a mirror image after the interval as Bayern turned the screw.
In the first 10 minutes of the second half, the average positions of Bayern centre-backs David Alaba and Jerome Boateng were just behind the centre circle inside their own half, while Frankfurt striker Luka Jovic was the furthest player forward for the home team as he scurried around the centre circle in the Bayern half of the field.
Lewandowski pulled a goal back in the 53rd minute but that did little to subsequently change the teams’ average positions. Only in the final 10 minutes of the game did Bayern press Frankfurt even further back as they sought, ultimately in vain, an equaliser.
Most Pressed Player: Sane
It would not have been undeserved had Bayern pulled level, in large part thanks to the efforts of the lively Leroy Sane.
Even when Frankfurt were superior in the first half, the 25-year-old was the game’s Most Pressed Player – the person put under most pressure when in possession. That did not change after the interval, and the Germany international was pressurised 53 times come the final whistle, considerable more often than anyone else.
Sane was able to find his way out of trouble more often than not, it was his dribble and assist that set up Lewandowski to score Bayern’s goal.
Yet Frankfurt’s victory was by no means undeserved, particularly in light of Hütter’s gameplan in the first half, in which Frankfurt spread their attacks out across the pitch and went ahead thanks to the talents of Kostic, Younes and Kamada. Bayern tried to fight back, with Sane leading the charge, but it was ultimately too little too late as they succumbed to a third league defeat of the season.