RB Leipzig 3
(Nkunku 27, Silva 64 & 77)
Similar to Celtic's performance against Real Madrid Celtic were ahead (or close) for xG up until the 55th minute even though they had went behind in this game. However Leipzig then went on to have a gap in xG performance that was bigger than Real Madrid had in heir game against Celtic.
Leipzig ended with a positive xGD of 1.33 while Real Madrid's positive xGD was 0.57.
Before the game bookmaker probabilities had Leipzig at 61% and Celtic 16% which was the exact same as the Real Madrid game.
However one game ended in a 3-0 defeat and many happy with the performance and the other ended 3-1 with many unhappy. Was it due to fans looking behind the numbers and analysing the xG performance? Or was it due to the fact many fans underestimated Leipzig due to their 4-1 defeat to Shakhtar?
As I mentioned in my preview ... https://www.celtictrends.com/post/rb-leipzig-v-celtic-match-preview that game was a bit of a freak one and Leipzig were still a quality opponent. I also predicted a 3-1 scoreline in my match preview. A prediction I wish I would have got wrong.
Celtic lined up with the same team that faced Motherwell;
Juranovic, Welsh, Jenz and Taylor
McGregor and Hatate
Maeda, O'Riley and Jota
At the game it looked again like a 4-2-3-1 formation to me and that was before I seen the average player position maps. Personally I would have liked to see Abilgaard start alongside McGregor in the double pivot role and Hatate moving further forward to play in the O'Riley role. He might not be as creative as O'Riley but he does have some creative skills and his energy in that pressing role would have been better in my opinion. His mobility would also have helped link up with the other two midfielders.
Abilgaard had 8 defensive duels and won 6 of them which was the most of any player in the game. Only Simakan had more defensive duels (10) but he only won 5 of his.
Joe Hart had 94% pass accuracy versus 60% and 85% for the Leipzig goalkeepers however it only needs one bad pass to be costly. Hart had 48 passes in the game and his average is 30. 48 is his second highest. That was 11% of the team's passes and that is usually 5%. When at the game watching I wanted Hart to hold on to the ball a bit more and drag Leipzig players towards him to help create space but he was, in my opinion, too quick to just make that easy sideward pass and it's as if this was suiting Leipzig's game plan. Hart had 0 passes to McGregor and only 2 to Abilgaard and 1 to Hatate.
The full backs had 25% of the team's passes which is the highest of the season and the midfield three had 26% which is the lowest of the season. (The 27% against Motherwell was the second lowest). Celtic have had their poorer results when the % of passes coming from the midfield three is at it's lowest.
McGregor, Maeda, O'Riley, Kyogo and Hatate were replaced by Abilgaard, Forrest, Haksabanovic, Giakoumakis and McCarthy. Turnbull, Mooy and Abada were missing along with Carter-Vickers and Starfelt. This meant a place for Scott Robertson on the bench for the first time this season.
One thing that jumps out from both the Real Madrid game and this game the fact Celtic dramatically dropped their xGD from 55 minutes onwards. This can only be attributed to Celtic players tiring and due to excessive and unsuccessful pressing aligned with the fact Celtic had less possession than their opponents in these games. Against Real Madrid Celtic had 35% possession and against Leipzig that was 41%.
In regards to pressing for the 3 games so far Celtic are 7th out of 32 Champions League teams for presses at 142 per game but 4th bottom (of 32) for press success rate at 21.5%.
Interestingly Celtic have the 2nd most presses in the final third at 59 per game. 41.2% of Celtic's presses coming in the final third. So Celtic pressing in the final third and being mostly unsuccessful at it and this along with less possession can only lead to a tired team.
From Wyscout the length of Celtic's average formation from front to back was 52 metres versus 47 metres for Leipzig. So a bigger gap between the lines to add to the unsuccessful presses.
Leipzig's average formation shows while their full backs were more advanced than Celtic's their forwards were closer to their midfielders.
Leipzig had 143 pressures (versus Celtic's 173) however the majority of Leipzig's pressures came in the middle third (45%) while the majority of Celtic's came in the final third (42%). And Leipzig are regarded as a high pressing team.
Looking back at Celtic in the first 55 minutes versus Real Madrid and Leipzig Celtic are averaging an xG (per 90) of 1.45 and an xGA of 0.92 giving a positive xGD of 0.53. Not bad against two quality teams.
However from 55 minutes to the end of the game (again pro-rata'd for a per 90 figure) Celtic are averaging 0.56 xG and 3.85 xGA and a xGD of -3.29. That's some swing in performance.
This was different against Shakhtar where Celtic were the favourites, the dominant team and had 56% possession. Against Shakhtar it was 1.15 xG, 0.51 xGA and 0.64 xGD in the first 55 minutes and 2.01 xG, 0.15 xGA and 1.86 xGD in the last 35 minutes (again both pro-rata'd to a per 90 figure). Celtic did have 54 pressures in the final third in the game against Shakhtar but this time there were more in the middle third with 60.
Maybe if Celtic had scored first against Real Madrid and/or Leipzig the dynamics of the game may have changed however you can't help think the players would still tire with the amount of final third pressures the team are doing.
Is it sustainable against this level of opponent?
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