Gegenpressing, How it Revolutionised Modern Football?

The year was 2009, and it was a watershed moment in the sport of football. The team had just conquered football. Pep Guardiola, the Barcelona legend who was promoted to first team coach after leading Barcelona B, did the impossible as his team won six titles in his first season. Every FC Barcelona team has won La Liga, Copa del Rey, Champions League, Supercopa de Espana, European Super Cup and Club World Cup using the tiki-taka system. However, while the team garnered praise across the footballing world, a certain German viewed Guardiola’s team differently.

Jurgen Klopp, like Guardiola, had just finished his first season as head coach of Borussia Dortmund. In two to three years, he will master a system of his own that will rival tiki-taka over the next decade. Back pressure Or ‘counterpressing’ is a system that emphasizes the need to win the ball up the field by putting pressure on an opponent, it has become not only a philosophy of German football but quite modern football tactics.

What is reverse pressure?

Backpressure is the German word for counterpressure. Jurgen Klopp’s main idea behind this philosophy was to get the ball back as quickly as possible after his side lost possession. “The best moment to win the ball is the moment your team loses it.” The opponent is still looking for guidance on where to pass the ball. He will take his eyes off the game to make an intervention or intercept, and he will have expended his energy. They both make him vulnerable,” Klopp said, as I mentioned before Watchman.

After watching the Barcelona team winning six-pointers, Klopp was impressed. However, the part he left was in awe Blaugrana The ability to recover the ball once it is lost.

Klopp concluded that if a team regained control of the ball immediately, it would affect the opponent’s players.

How does Gegenpress work in the game?

Suppose that Liverpool (Klopp’s current team) loses the ball in the offensive third of the field. The task of the three players in front is to put pressure on them. The attacking center presses the central defender and beats the defensive midfielder. The task of the wingers is to break the line between the central defender and the full-back. The front three try to reduce the number of passing passes, forcing defenders to (!) go too far, or (2) pass the ball to the goalkeeper, or (3) attempt high-risk passes, causing them to lose possession.

In the same way, the midfield applies pressure to the opponent’s midfield and takes them out as soon as the ball is received. Another aspect is making sure that the ball does not cross the center line and is in the opponent’s half. If the ball is won at the top of the field, a good pass can provide an excellent opportunity to score a goal. This system is the reason why Liverpool has the highest accumulation disorder rate (BDP) in Europe. Merseyside also scores one of the fewest passes allowed per defensive action across the continent.

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Back pressure types

Klopp knew that only a certain type of pressure would not be successful in the long run, so he created two different types of it. These two types are normal pressure pressure and hard pressure.

vertical pressure

This kind of pressure plays into the best part of the game. In this press, there is an emphasis on the need to press and not lose the tactical form of the team. For example, the job of Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane, who are both wingers, have the main task of cutting the passing lanes between the central defender and the full-back. This task should be done by them and not by any other player, because it will change the tactical form of the team.

Once the ball is out of their area, it is the task of the other players to get the ball back.

So, in short, this pressure system contains specific individuals who do a certain job to ensure Liverpool regain possession.

extreme pressure

During his time at Dortmund, Klopp recognized the need to adopt varying degrees of pressure during the match. Here comes the role of extreme pressure. The goal of this system is simple, get the ball back no matter what. Liverpool try to get the ball back in this system without caring too much about position and tactical form.

If the ball is with any opposing player, at least two players will attempt to press him to recover the ball. Liverpool full-backs Andy Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold are the players most involved when the pressure is at work.

However, due to the severity of this pressure, no team can play it for the full 90 minutes, and thus this system is implemented in specific phases throughout the match.

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Who are the players that a premium back-to-back team need?

Like tiki taka, the system can only work with players of a certain skill set. The wings must be quick and good at counter-attacks like Marco Reus, Jakob Paszkowski (at Dortmund), Sadio Mane, and Mohamed Salah (at Liverpool). Attackers who are good at catching the ball and connecting play (Robert Lewandowski and Roberto Firmino), midfielders who run tirelessly (Ilkay Gundogan, Sven Bender, Fabinho, Jordan Henderson and defenders who are good at playing the ball (Matt Hummels, Neven Subotic, Virgil van Dijk).

However, his system has minor changes from his days in Dortmund. At Signal Iduna Park he basically played 4-2-3-1 and had the talented Mario Gotze, which means Gundogan and Gotze took on the primary creative burden.

While at Liverpool, he changed the system to make defensive players more involved in the offensive side of the game. This is because Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson have such high passes and xOVA numbers.

Additionally, teams that play with this system also need players who are good at catching the ball which further tilts the field in their favour, helping them to dominate the game.

Legacy of backpressure

Reverse pressing has been the most revolutionary technique in football in the twenty-first century. The tactic was so successful that it won two league titles against the illustrious Bayern Munich side of Borussia Dortmund. Moreover, he has brought additional league title and Champions League for Liverpool.

The term is now more popular than counterpressing and has taken root in football vocabulary.

She also left her mark on the world football scene. It inspired many other teams to take the system and modify it. In fact, the only team that played a hexagonal match for Barcelona was Hansi Flick Bayern Munich In the 2019-20 season. Any guess which system they used… Es war Gegenpressing.