Let’s analyze one of the reasons why Xabi Alonso has turned his team into one of the best in Europe. That secret is the role of Odilon Kossounou, Bayer Leverkusen’s right centre-back. We see here how in possession against Borussia Dortmund’s mid block, the back 3 leaves only one center-back, Jonathan Tah, while Tapsoba and Kossounou push, with the wing-backs, Grimaldo and Frimpong, wide.

In the opponent’s half, Kossounou plays ahead of the midfielders, Xhaka and Palacios, in many plays, being a fundamental player to give key passes. His good footwoork allows him to progress with ease and when he releases the ball we see how he continues his run towards the edge of the box, which shows his mentality, despite being a center-back.

In most teams the back 3 would be closer to the middle of the field than to the box, but Kossounou appears in the central channel accumulating many players in the final third.

In addition to his contribution in possession, his position is very important to counter-press, another of Bayer Leverkusen’s strengths, having in this play up to 7 players close to the ball holder, pressing inside the box.

Kossounou’s position is very useful to overload the rigth side, when some players move to this flank, being very difficult for Borussia Dortmund to counter it.

The play in which Bayer Leverkusen scores begins with an interception by Kossounou, who after winning the ball drives forward entering the final third. Despite his height, he is a fast player with a good technical level to combine, always finding the free player, in this case Patrik Schick attacking space. The player from the Czech Republic assists Boniface (bonafis), remaining Bayer Leverkusen undefeated in the Bundesliga.

Odilon Kossounou one of Xabi Alonso’s tactical secrets.

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