Schalke 04 – Mainz 05: Individual Moment Of Brilliance Digs Schalke Winning Escape (2-1)
A match made up of small battles up, down and across the pitch, Mainz’s diamond formation was the catalyst for an interesting affair, albeit one that failed to create much excitement in attack. At least not until the very end.
Tactical analysis and match report by Peter M.
Schalke appear to have found their feet under David Wagner; whether they can keep up with the standards their recent 3-0 and 5-1 victories suggest remains to be seen. With those results in mind, it was not a surprise to see the manager make just one alteration: bringing in Weston McKennie for Mark Uth, as he switched from a 4-2-3-1 setup to a 4-3-3 shape, as McKennie came into the side as a central midfielder.
Despite not reaping rewards in terms of results, as demonstrated by their horrendous run of form, Mainz manager Sandro Schwarz was given some reprieve during last week’s 2-1 victory over Hertha Berlin, meaning his team won their first match of the season, after losing the first three. Against Schalke, Schwarz played the same diamond system as usual, in addition to a completely unchanged starting eleven.
The good and the bad of Mainz's intentions
The most successful part of Schwarz’s diamond against Schalke was best depicted in their high press, as his players were enabled to go toe-to-toe with each of their direct opponents. It made life incredibly difficult for Schalke when building out from the back, and that was the case throughout the match.
The high press was . . .