Schalke 04 – Manchester City: Schalke’s passionate performance makes City struggling (2-3)
All the traits that got Schalke in the Champions League last season - passionate and disciplined defending paired with quick counterattacks and dangerous set-pieces - made life difficult for Manchester City. Guardiola’s side was not capable of creating many goal scoring opportunities with their center-focused approach. To win, they needed a free-kick goal and the distribution of goalkeeper Ederson to overcome Schalke in a thrilling match.
Tactical analysis and match report by Max Bergmann.
Manchester City were probably very happy with this draw, and many claimed the match against Schalke would be nothing more than a simple compulsory task. However, the first leg game in Gelsenkirchen would prove the doubters very wrong, as some tactical quirks by the hosts would prove hard to handle for Manchester City.
Schalke manager Domenico Tedesco opted for a 5-4-1 formation, which is of course one of the most defensive formations in the game of football. To maintain some counterattacking presence, the fastest attackers of Schalke in Weston McKennie and Hamza Mendyl were lined up as the wide players in the midfield four. The defense was guided by the gigantic central defender Salif Sané. Furthermore, Ralf Fährmann was fielded between the posts, after Alexander Nübel had been preferred a couple of matches in the Bundesliga.
Pep Guardiola wanted his team to act in a versatile 4-3-3 formation which changed into a 3-2-4-1 shape in possession. Midfielder Fernandinho was therefore lined up as a central defender, moving into midfield whenever his teammates circulated the ball. David Silva and Kevin De Bruyne were supposed to receive the ball in . . .