Set-piece analysis: Hansa Rostock’s offensive corners

This website is a place for me to share my work with you in the hope that you find it useful and can develop it into something that works for you. It’s also a project for me as I work towards different types of analysis. That’s why I’m introducting a new series on this website: set-piece analysis. In this series I will look at the different approaches of set-pieces by clubs that are not widely known as Europe’s elite. In the first part I will look at the attacking corners routine of Hansa Rostock, currently second in the German 3. Liga.

Hansa Rostock is a former East-German champion and has played in the Bundesliga for more than a decade, but since then has struggled to come back from the 2. Bundesliga and now even playing in the 3. Liga. This season they are performing excellent as their second place tells us, just behind league leaders Dynamo Dresden – another former East-German great.

This analysis is dealt into two different aspects. I will look at how Hansa Rostock does attack when confronted with zonal marking – or where most players are marking zonally – and concentrates on attacking with a man-marking opponent. The footage is downloaded from Wyscout.

Hansa Rostock vs Türkgücü München

Hansa Rostock’s attacking corners are usually taken by swinging the ball towards goal – so in this case on the left by a right-footed player. As illustrated in the video above there are few elements to digest here. There’s a man available for a short pass and give a cross that poses more threat. There are two players outside the penalty area who could try to shoot from distance, but also guard the rest defence.

Türkgücü is marking zonally in a 4-3 with one man marker in the box. Two players of Hansa Rostock are in the xis-yard box. Four players of Hansa Rostock are runners who make their move forward as soon as the ball is played. Instead of all four going in one direction, there is a divide: the three left players move to the near post, while the right player goes to the far post. Because the two players in the six-yard box also move toward the near post, there’s a lot of space on the far post and they utilise it well.

Hansa Rostock vs FC Magdeburg

Above you can see a corner routine with a quite similar situation as the one against Türkgücü, but this was a little bit different in the game against Magdeburg. There were two players in the six-yard box, where the opponent marked zonally with five players. They also had three blockers against the three runners of Hansa Rostock. Hansa Rostock employed three runners in this case and left space open for the player outside the penalty area.

In this scenario there was no option for the short pass and this had to do with the transition ability of Magdeburg, because they were very strong transitioning from defence to attack, and therefore the rest defence consisted of more players.

The three runners create the distraction as they make their move forward, dragging the three defending players with them. This gives the set-piece taker the room and time to pass the ball to the player outside the box, who tries to volley the ball towards goal. This is an extremely difficult technical thing to do, but the run by the three runners makes it possible to even control it too before shooting.

Hansa Rostock vs Dynamo Dresden

In the game against Dynamo Dresden, Hansa Rostock needed a different approach to their attacking corners, because of the rigid zonal marking employed by Dynamo Dresden. They have five defenders on the deepest line and three in front of that. This meant that Hansa Rostock employed four players between those eight players. There’s is short passing option here and two players on the edge of the penalty area.

The four players in the six-yard box make a run towards the near post and even more forward with two possible options: they either try to head it to the far post or convert into a goal. The two players on the edge of the penalty area make two seperate runs with the left player moving towards the far post – anticipating getting the ball from the four players at the near post.

It’s worth noting that Dynamo Dresden has a man at the post, so the free player on the left would have difficulties converting it, but he had space to do something with the ball – when he would receive it.

Hansa Rostock vs Hallescher FC

In the game against Hallescher FC we saw the attacking routine above. There are two players in the six-yard box against three players of Hallescher who are man marking here. They are tasked with eyeing the direct opponent. Hansa Rostock has three players or runners in the penalty area who make moves forward and they are confronted with three blockers from Hallescher. On the right side we another Hansa Rostock player, but he is also man marked by a player of Hallescher FC.

On the left we see the short pass option again and two players nearing the penalty area who could shoot from longe range, but also guard the rest defence in case of a transition.

The focus lies on the three runners who act like a triangle. Two front and one the back. The two front runners go a different side each, one to the near post and one more to the center, while the ‘back’ player also runs forward towards the center of the goal. The far post area is occupied by the player on the right who makes a run into that area.

Hansa Rostock vs VfB Lübeck

In the game against VfB Lübeck, Hansa Rostock tried something different with the corner takers. This time the ball was kicked by a right-footed player from the right, meaning that the ball would turn away from the goal. Again, there are two players in the six-yard box against four defenders from VfB Lübeck.

We see the shorter pass option again with the two players guarding rest defence as well. What’s interesting to see is that is a player just on the edge of the penalty area and he is anticipating when the ball is cleared and to shoot or pass the ball into a danger area.

The triangle of three runners is doing their thing again with a slightly different approach. The two front runners move toward the near post – as are the two players in the six-yard box – while the back runner moves behind everyone else towards the far post. The ball is headed by one of the front runners towards goal, but if he connected it to the far post – it could have been a goal. The player at the far post had space and time to do so.

Hansa Rostock vs Fortuna Köln

In this last corner routine, I look at, Hansa Rostock is playing against Fortuna Köln. Again this out swinging ball from the left side and again, there is the shorter pass option. We can also see one player outside the penalty area and the reason why this is one player instead of two, is because of the pace of transition employed by Fortuna Köln.

There is one player in the six-yard box double marked with four runners on the edge of the penalty area, who are defended by four blockers of Fortuna Köln. We have seen the triangle before but this time it’s a 3-1 formation making the run – with the same player at the back making a run behind towards the far post. The other runners + the sole attacker in the six-yard box move towards the first post – creating space.

Final thoughts

It was incredibly interesting to see how this team that is fighting for promotion to the 2. Bundesliga, was doing in terms of offensive corners and the different variations to them. Although they have not been the most prolific team from corners, they seem to give the opponent real trouble whenever they have a corner and I will keep on watching closely on how their routines will evolve in the future.

Game footage: Wyscout
Telestration: Metrica Play

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