Analysing and comparing Konate and Upamencano and how they would help Bayern Munich

With the recent departure of Mats Hummels and the fact that Jerome Boateng is likely to follow in his WC 2014 CB partners footsteps, rumors have circulated alleging that Bayern Munich is interested in signing another CB. Names such as Ozan Kabak have been thrown around, however he's already decided to go to Schalke.

If Boateng really does leave, then Bayern would be dangerously short on depth in defense, with the team only 2 injuries (in defense) away from being forced to either play Javi Martinez or Alphonso Davies at center back and left back respectively. Propositions that would likely prove costly during important matches e.g the latter stages of the CL.

1 potential solution (I propose), would be the signing of 1 of RB Leipzig's young french CB's, Dayot Upamecano and Ibrahima Konate. In this article, I will anaylse and compare the 2 youngsters in many different categories and how their strengths/weakness' in these categories would affect Bayern. *All statistics (e.g tackles per game) used are per 90 minutes (and from 18-19), unless otherwise stated*

Even if Bayern aren't interested in them this summer, this article is still relevant as who knows, Bayern or another team may make a move for 1 of them within the next few seasons...

Firstly let's look at their physical stature:

Height and stature

Dayot Upemecano stands at 6 foot 1 (185 cm) and weighs 83 Kg. On the other hand, Ibrahima Konate stands at a whopping 6 foot 3-4 (192 cm) and weighs 93 Kg. Height is very important and a massive asset to both these players due to their positions. The differential in their lengths was illustrated as (in the BL) Konate won 16% more aerials duels than Upemecano, at 3.6 to 3.1.

Although generally great at attacking and defending set pieces in the 18-19 campaign, (arguably) Bayern's most important goal conceded, came from a corner scored by Virgil Van Djik. The added height of Konate would help in similar scenarios and add a goal scoring threat. In addition, Javi Martinez will presumably be used less and the 6 foot Lucas Hernandez (182 cm) will probably be starting in the heart of the defense leading to a much more vulnerable FC Hollywood, in regards to set pieces.

Therefore someone like Konate (who won 72% of his aerial duels in the BL, one of the highest in the league) could make a massive difference to our set pieces, set pieces which shouldn't be underestimated as games are often decided based on them. Ibrahima beats Dayot in this section of height and stature.

Pace and stamina

Dayot is among the fastest players in the BL, with a top speed of 34.5 km/h, ranking him only 0.38 km/h outside the BL top 10. With a top speed of 34.4 km/h, Ibrahima is no slouch either in the pace department. Due to the fact there is virtually no difference in their 'top speeds', no conclusions can be made as to which player would benefit Bayern more in terms of quickness.

It's worth noting that the Bayern defense will be significantly quicker in 19-20 compared to 18-19 as the center of defence has gone from top speeds of 32 km/h (Hummels) and 33.3 km/h (Boateng) to 34 km/h (L. Hernandez) and 33.2 km/h (Pavard). Niklas Sule already ranks as one of Bayern's fastest at (34.8 km/h(!)) and the fullbacks Kimmich and Alaba are also quite fast (33.1 km/h and 34.5 km/h). In addition, the 'depth' fullbacks Hernandez and Pavard are both significantly faster than the previous 'depth' fullback Rafinha (32.7 km/h)

Due to the fact the Bayern defense will be its fastest in years, both on the pitch and on the bench, signings like Konate or Upamencano are not crucial from a pace perspective.

In terms of stamina and how far both players run per match, Upamecano is the clear winner running an average of around 500m more than Konate per 90 at 10.5 km to 10 km. Upamecano's advantage over Konate in stamina was also highlighted as he completed 20.9 sprints compared to Ibrahim's 20.3. *Remember, every stat unless stated otherwise is per 90*

The added stamina Upamecano (and Konate to a slightly lesser extent) provides is significant as when games near their ends, Bayern (and other teams) are more susceptible to concede and the ability to still have energy and a very fast speed to catch up with counter attacking attackers would be invaluable.

In this clip we see Upamecano (gray team number 5, in the middle of the screen) lose the ball to an already accelerated red shirt attacker. A counter attack follows with 3 red shirts bombarding the Leipzig defense. Dayot displays his pace, reactions and acceleration as he hastily changes direction and sprints back to defend his goal.

In addition he intelligently stays in front (closer to the ball) of the main red attacker, thus ensuring the striker can't nip in front of him and score. To cap off a wonderful piece of defending, he makes a timely and crucial interception with his inside boot, to prevent what would have been a sure tap in for the opposition ST.

As a result of his faster pace, longer distances covered and acceleration, Upamecano narrowly wins this round on Pace and Stamina.


Firstly, let's compare their passing statistics per 90. In the BL, Dayot completed 50 passes compared to the 37 registered by Ibrahima. This represents the significant difference in their passing abilities, which is also illustrated through their pass completion rates. Upamecano has an 83% pass completion percentage while Konate only has a 76% pass completion percentage (and both of these pass completion rates are very good considering Leipzig play a very dynamic and fast counter attacking style of football).

Given that Mats Hummels has left Bayern Munich and Jerome Boateng is being phased out/might leave, the Bavarians will experience a decrease in passing quality from the center of defense in the coming season. Therefore, good passers like Upamecano or Konate (his passing is still very good) could prove useful additions, as (especially so for the possession oriented German champions) the ability to play the ball from the attackers all the way to (Mr Sweeper Keeper himself) Manuel Neuer is so important in retaining possession and beating teams through intricate passing.

To illustrate how much better at passing (for example) Dayot is than (for example) Lucas, he defeats his older compatriot in passes, pass completion rate and long balls, convincingly. In terms of long balls, Upamecano and Konate's numbers are substantially different, with the former completing a whopping 84% more long balls than the latter.

Although both players are very good passers, Upamecano wins this round.

An example of what Upamecano has in his locker...In the above clip, Dayot's ability for the spectacular is illustrated against Bayern of all teams! The Frenchman expertly spots a darting run from teammate Yousef Poulsen and delivers a delicious lob through ball to its target (past Mats Hummels). He adds perfect weight on the pass, so the ball lands right in front of the tall Dane to bring down and finish (although he fails to do this...). Only a handful of CB's in world football have the ability, technique and bravery to complete such a pass and people would be forgiven for thinking that was Xabi Alonso who played that ball...


Dribbling is an area both players (especially Konate) excel at . With Ibrahima displaying 0.8 dribbles per 90 and Dayot displaying 0.5 dribbles per 90. Although these stats seem small, both have higher (or equal) statistics than Mats Hummels (0.5), Lucas (0.4) and Virgil Van Djik (0.2), all players who are thought of as good CB dribblers...

In addition, I have observed that both players love to dribble into midfield (bring the ball out from the back etc...) and then make a pass. This doesn't impact on their dribble per 90 stat (hence why it's only 0.8, 0.5 etc...). This dribbling inside drags defenders out of position and therefore opens up more space for the midfield and attackers. A prime example of this useful skill (which we are lacking since the departure of Hummels/Boateng) is shown in the clip below.

In this clip we see Konate dribble into the midfield. This causes space to open up for Leipzig attackers as defenders are watching him and some defenders are closing him down. A RB striker sees some open space between (I think) the 2 of the Hoffenheim CB's, space which Konate also realizes... He plays a superb, defense slicing ball and as a result of his dribbling into midfield, a goal scoring opportunity presents itself.

Both of the French defenders technical quality is exemplified through their dribbling where both are able to keep close control of the ball, shield the ball using their frame and go past the opposition. In my opinion, both would be able to do a good job as a defensive midfielder such is their dribbling, passing and defending qualities.

Currently Bayern only have an already old Javi Martinez to play as a lone DM (Thiago is better as part of a 2 man pivot or as someone slightly infront of the natural DM) and 1 of these Frenchman would add depth and quality to this position. Another reason 1 of them should be signed at some point...

In this clip Upamecano shows off his close control and extraordinary (for a CB) ability to dribble. He initially regains the ball, then performs a 'Micheal Laudrop' esque la croqueta to squeeze in between 2 defenders. He proceeds to storm through the middle of the field displaying his pace, power and dribbling skills, before ending up in the left side of the oppositions penalty area.

Because Konate displays more dribbles per 90 (and from my observation) brings the ball out of the back with more frequency, he beats Upamencao in this round of dribbling.


When comparing defenders, a statistics based analysis often is not useful as many great defenders don't display extraordinary stats... so in the section I will focus on my analysis of their defending styles and positioning etc...

In terms of how they defend, both players are very physical. For Konate, I've noticed he often gives attackers a slight nudge to shift them off balance and therefore tackle them. This technique is shown in the clip below...

In this clip, Konate is behind an attacker storming towards the goal, he sprints until next to the blue shirted ST before giving him a slight nudge which causes the person in possession of the ball to lose his balance and fall. Meanwhile, Ibrahima regains the ball and sets up for a long pass... He often uses this method of tackling.

I've also noticed that the tall Leipzig CB often gets infront of his man, to intercept the ball. Due to his long stride and leg length, the opposition player can't get back in front of Ibrihima and therefore the defender wins the ball. This method is shown in the clip below...

In this clip, as Konate (with his big frame etc...) get's in front of the small attacker, there is no way for the attacker to recover and therefore Konate regains the ball for his team. He uses this interception tactic a lot which highlights his anticipation and reactions...

For Upamencano, I've noticed he likes to stay very close to the player he is marking and when the opportunity arises, in a split second, he uses his foot to poke away the ball from the opposition player.

In this video, Vidal plays a pass into the Bayern Munich 25, who is being closely marked by Dayot. A poor touch gives the Frenchman the opportunity to quickly nip the ball before Muller can bring it under control and regain possession for his team.

I've also noticed that Upamecano uses the method of 'running into his opponent' as a means of getting a tackle. In this technique, he runs into the opposition attacker who can't compete with the pace and strength of the Frenchman, stops running right as the attacker runs into him and as a result he wins back the ball. This tackle is usually used when the ball has just been passed into a player. It's demonstrated in the clip below...

In this clip, an attacker dribbles through 2 Leipzig players, Dayot sprints at this player then stops sprinting and adopts a 'tackle position'. The attacker runs into Upamecano and Leipzig regain the ball.

In terms of positioning, both Frenchmen like to keep very close to the attackers they are marking so they can move in front of the player to make an interception or so they can pinch the ball in a split second if the ball reaches the attackers foot.

As both play for Leipzig, they are used to being positioned in a high line (the type of line that you would expect to find at Bayern Munich matches) and RB survive counterattacks due to the pace the pair possess' and their counter attack stifling ability.

Due to the fact both defenders are experienced with dealing with counter attacks, their ability in such situations would greatly benefit Bayern who (ever since Pep) have struggled defending these scenarios in the latter rounds of CL ties.

Injury prone-ness and age

In January Dayot suffered a severe knee injury, which kept him out for 5 months and 18 games! However, according to transfermarkt, Konate has only missed 12 days due to injury in his career (perhaps 1-2 games). Therefore, it's easy to decide who the winner is in this regard, Ibrihima.

Konate also wins in the category of age as he's about half a year younger than Upaemcano, they are both still 20 though!

Final thoughts

I personally believe that Bayern Munich should make a play for 1 of these 2 superb defenders within the next few seasons as their potential's are both world, world class. Thank you very much for reading this and please answer what YOU would like to happen in the poll below.

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