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Center backs work hardest when playing in a back three: The influence of tactical formation on physical and technical match performance in professional soccer

Forcher, Leon 1; Forcher, Leander 1; Jekauc, Darko 1; Woll, Alexander ORCID iD icon 1; Gross, Timo; Altmann, Stefan 1
1 Institut für Sport und Sportwissenschaft (IfSS), Karlsruher Institut für Technologie (KIT)


The purpose of this study was to investigate whether tactical formation affects the physical and technical match performance of professional soccer players in the first German Bundesliga.
From official match data of the Bundesliga season 2018/19, physical (total distance, high-intensity distance, sprinting distance, accelerations, maximum velocity) and technical performance (short/middle/long passes, dribblings, ball-possessions) of players were analyzed. Players were categorized into five playing positions (center back, full back, central midfielder, wide midfielder, forward) and teams into eight different tactical formations (4-4-2, 4-4-2 diamond, 4-2-2-2, 4-3-3, 4-5-1, 4-2-3-1, 3-4-3, 3-5-2).
Results revealed that the degree to which tactical formation affects match performance is position dependent. In terms of physical performance, center backs and full backs showed highest sprinting distances when playing in a formation with only three defenders in the back row (3-4-3, 3-5-2) compared to all other formations (ES range: 0.13≤ES≤1.27). Regarding technical performance, all positions except forwards displayed fewer short passes, middle passes and ball-possessions in the formations 4-3-3 and 4-2-3-1 compared to all other formations (0.02≤ES≤1.19). ... mehr

Verlagsausgabe §
DOI: 10.5445/IR/1000144265
Veröffentlicht am 25.03.2022
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0265501
Zitationen: 7
Web of Science
Zitationen: 4
Zitationen: 8
Cover der Publikation
Zugehörige Institution(en) am KIT Institut für Sport und Sportwissenschaft (IfSS)
Publikationstyp Zeitschriftenaufsatz
Publikationsjahr 2022
Sprache Englisch
Identifikator ISSN: 1932-6203
KITopen-ID: 1000144265
Erschienen in PLOS ONE
Verlag Public Library of Science (PLoS)
Band 17
Heft 3
Seiten Article e0265501
Vorab online veröffentlicht am 17.03.2022
Schlagwörter team sports, football, tactics, passing, running performance
Nachgewiesen in Dimensions
Web of Science
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