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Tactical Case Study: Mario Götze's second half goal as a microcosm of Bayern's 2-0 win over Braunschweig

The buildup to Mario Götze's 57th minute goal contained a little bit of everything in this match; from Eintracht Braunschweig's defensive approach to Götze's incredibly deft touch and skill on the ball.

Lennart Preiss/Getty Images

When Bayern Munich faced off against Eintracht Braunschweig in the DFB Pokal, die Roten were certainly not expecting the immense defensive performance that the visitors displayed. That display took Bayern Munich until the 57th minute, and Mario Götze, to break from the run of play. The buildup to the German international's goal was a microcosm of the match and illustrated how adept Eintracht Braunschweig were at shutting down the potent Arjen Robben and the rest of the Bayern Munich from back to front.


At the onset of the play, Bayern Munich have just recovered possession of the ball in midfield halting a Braunschweig counterattack. Already you can see the Braunschweig counterattack in full force as the left midfield advances on the left while the right hangs back for the late run. One of the important indicators here is that Braunschweig already have 3 men in an advanced position. They spent the vast majority of the match utilizing a 3-man press working the ball onto the wings and this act of pushing the necessary men forward in attack. The approach at the start of this play was as much an effect of the counterattack as it was a strategy to rapidly switch from attack to pressing aimed at driving Bayern Munich away from the center of the pitch.


While oppositions have frequently employed this type of strategy to stop Bayern quickly, they've shown an inability at times to stiffle the resulting wing play. That was not the case in this match. As the sequence unfolds Arjen Robben finds himself in possession and immediately harassed from behind. Simultaneously, the defensive midfielder shuts down the passing lane into the middle driving Robben out towards the flank and the leftback. With pursuit from behind and the leftback stepping up, Braunschweig double teams the Dutchman. That was a familiar refrain throughout the match on both wings as Robben and Ribery had extremely quiet and ineffective offensive performances to show for their efforts.



Luckily, Arjen Robben keeps this play alive thanks to an overzealous Mirko Boland and his own technical skill. Cutting it back, Robben finds space moving inside but with a stout Braunschweig defense already deployed the only space is on the far side and Mario Götze. Now the Braunschweig counterattack and pressing plays against them as Bayern rapidly shifting the ball back after winning it has gifted Götze space on the left. Not recognizing the danger, the middle of the Braunschweig defense resets to contain Robben while Götze finds himself with acres of space occupying the same zone as Robert Lewandowski. The Polish striker keeps the centerback pinned to the backline, moving nearpost, ensuring the space remains free and open while Robben feeds Götze.


Now free, it's time for the Mario Götze show and Braunschweig's one fatal mistake. The late run of Franck Ribery on the far left disrupts the rightback and drags him deep breaking the defensive line. With offsides no longer an issue, Lewandowski immediately makes an incisive far post run, forcing the centerback to follow, as Götze is challenged in the middle. Now with a massive hole in the Braunschweig defense on the near post, a couple deft touches, two defenders spun like tops, and a cool finish later and it's 2-0 to Bayern Munich and the game is in the proverbial bag.

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