Bayer 04 Leverkusen – VfB Stuttgart: Leverkusen turn domination in possession into a deserved win against passive Stuttgart (2-0)
Over the whole match, Bayer 04 Leverkusen convinced with quick combination play, clever spacing and a good transition from attack to defense. However, it took a while before they found the key to unlock the compact VfB Stuttgart defense. Poor shot conversion and energetic defending by Stuttgart ensured both teams kept a clean sheet until late in the game. In the end, Leverkusen made the necessary positional adjustments and sealed their first home victory since September.
Tactical analysis by Max Bergmann.
Lineups and formations
Stuttgart started with a 4-5-1 system. The absence of Timo Baumgartl due to illness lead to a change in the back four. Marc-Oliver Kempf played as a center-back and Emiliano Insúa was lined up on the left side of Stuttgart’s four men defense.
Bayer Leverkusen deployed a 4-2-3-1 formation in the beginning of the match. Super talent Kai Havertz featured as playmaker on the advanced midfield position. Striker Kevin Volland went on to play a vital role in the second half.
Bayer Leverkusen's 4-2-3-1 formation against VfB Stuttgart's deep 4-5-1 shape.
Leverkusen’s press works
Leverkusen dominated possession throughout most of this match, thanks to their efficient pressing, and Stuttgart’s inability to find ways around it.
Leverkusen pressed in a 4-4-2 shape with Havertz and Volland up front. One of both would consistently cut off Stuttgart’s option to pass the ball into midfield, while the other would try to prevent the switch pass. A pass from one side to the other. As a result, Stuttgart often resorted . . .