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
In conclusion, physical and technical performance of center backs, full backs and wide midfielders differed markedly between the tactical formations. Conversely, the physical and technical performance of central midfielders and forwards only showed small differences between the different tactical formations. These findings can help coaches scheduling their practice. For example, if a coach wants to change the playing formation, he can anticipate the physical and technical match performance changes depending on the respective playing position.