- Date of Birth: May 29, 2002 (18)
- Nationality: German
- Position: CM, AM, RM
- Height: 175cm (5’8″)
- Preferred foot: Both
- Current Club: Borussia Mönchengladbach (#43)
The 18-year-old debutant Rocco Reitz displayed a very solid performance in this game, after unexpectedly being picked as one of the starting 11.
BMG TACTICS OVERVIEW
Against 18th-position side Mainz, Mönchengladbach’s Marco Rose presented an unusual 3–5–2 system, given that they mostly played 4–2–3–1 as a starting formation, with a typical high-intensity pressing strategy. By placing the five midfielders narrowly, he created a high blockage in the middle and thus forced Mainz to play out wide.
Once the ball went out to either flank, the AM, CM, wide midfielder, and CB immediately surrounded and tightly pressed the player with the ball and looked to cut down passing options in an orderly manner. If they succeeded to regain possession, they then broke out a quick counter-attack to threaten the other side of the goal.
- Defensive aspects
When the ball was sent out the right flank, Reitz’s main defensive instruction was to provide a cover to the center alongside Stindl(AM), while Lainer(RM) and Jantschke(RCB) actively pressed the player in possession.
This ensured that his assigned marker, Jean-Paul Boëtius, didn’t get many opportunities to directly receive the ball from out wide to drive inwards.
Should it go to the left side of the pitch, Reitz covered the half-space to further strengthen the trap. The youngster seemed to have understood the duty well and was hard-working and determined to take the ball back. Thanks to his enthusiasm, Reitz was heavily involved in BMG’s defensive game right from the beginning.
One of Reitz’s biggest weaknesses in this game was his defensive actions, however. At times, he opened up his body too much while pressing, only to allow Mainz players to utilize the space. Also, it could be observed that his vision was often narrowed by the player with the ball. Even though he scanned well in offensive circumstances, he rarely did so when out of possession. This allowed attackers to make blindsight movements and Reitz did not know what was happening behind his back until it was too late.
Also, he needs to get some work done for muscular strength as his physical game was too weak to win duels against stronger opponents such as Quaison, Mateta, and Boëtius.
- Offensive aspects
During BMG’s build-up phase, Reitz usually focused on positioning himself in between Mainz’s offensive and midfield line. He tried to stay in position and did not roam around much, although he did tend to seek large spaces to occupy to provide an option for safer passes.
Reitz scanned very well before receiving the ball and had a clean contact with the ball. There were several occasions where he demonstrated his exceptional distributing skill with a few line-breaking long passes, but mostly he played short and simple due to a lack of confidence.
In the video, Reitz cleverly clears the ball out of danger after the keeper’s relatively poor clearance, before successfully drawing a foul with a clean first touch.
On the ball, Reitz showed an excellent body orientation, always facing the broader side of the pitch, and made only a few technical mistakes. His tidy ball-control allowed him to be especially effective in loose ball situations.
He seldom seemed to lack agility in tight spaces, though it is too harsh to strongly criticize the youngster, whose psychological factors may have played a role in this.
Reitz rarely involved himself higher up the pitch, since, as mentioned before, he mostly stayed behind and is quite different from the likes of Florian Neuhaus who prefer to penetrate the opposition half-spaces and create chances themselves. Even if he progressed higher, he was often utilized as a decoy to pull his markers out of position, opening up spaces for teammates.
Overall, the German had an incredibly good game. Reitz seemed composed after the first few minutes of shaking off his nerves and was rather vocal on the pitch, which is always a promising sign for a youngster. Personally, I would like to see more offensive output from him as he seemed to be an intelligent passer, but improving stamina and mobility should be the priority in order to be successful in Rose’s system.
Despite being subbed off in the 60th minute(-> Jonas Hofmann), I was impressed by his performance. Unfortunately, Reitz is currently sidelined due to injury, but I saw a glimpse of his potential in this match to bring a lot to this team in the future.
WRITTEN BY: Chris K