It’s match day 2, and up next is Lech Poznan.
Lech Poznan play what can best be described as a very loose attacking 4 2 3 1, but this can very rapidly convert, in a match, to five at the back, five in the middle, or four at the front, in response to the way they see their opponents play.
Two seasons ago Lech Poznan began to play a very high-speed, very accurate passing game, and they pressed their opponents aggressively to turn the ball over.
This change to this style of play overlapped with Lech Poznan hiring Dariusz Żuraw as their manager; and it allowed Lech Poznan to surprise Legia Warsaw in their (1:0) victory just one month later.
However, this year, their speed does seem to have dropped, and though they still do play at high speed in some of their matches, they just seem less accurate in their passing, which might sound crazy, because they had a very impressive 87% pass accuracy in their game against Benfica.
Despite that, it is clear that they do not have the same ball control as last year. They are also beginning to leak goals left right and center at the back. They have already let in 3 goals in one match in the league, and 4 goals in the opening Europa League match against Benfica.
This visible drop in their form seems to link to the loss of their primary winger, Kamil Jozwiak, to Derby County, who we defeated (1:0) in a friendly last year; and the loss of their right-back Robert Gumny to the Bundesliga.
However, despite losing 4 goals against a very good Benfica, and their current poor 10th position in the Polish league, it has to be said this is still a very good team that can (on their good day) play some exceptional football (for example they defeated Apollon Limassol 5:0 in the qualifiers) and they have shown they are willing to put in the hard work to get a result.
However, on their off-days they can also look like a pub team, with very poor link-up play. And that is their problem this year.
The question is, which team will show up on Thursday?
Well that will depend on how we play.
Looking at their key players, their primary play-maker, in midfield, is Jakub Moder. He is their primary free-kick specialist, and he has the vision to play a killer pass. As a note, technically, Jakub is no longer a Lech Poznan player. This because he was “sold” to Brighton for 9.5 million, but then Brighton loaned him straight back to Lech Poznan. So, Brighton are now paying his wages.
If we isolate Moder, this will strongly influence how Lech Poznan play. In brief, we will have to up our own speed, which recently has dropped a one or two gears, to dominate the opening phases of the match, and we have to exert pressure on their back line.
When they are under pressure, they are prone to open up, and this can allow opposing players a little bit of room to travel between the lines.
Up front, Lech Poznan also have one player that we can ask Filip Helander for inside info on, and that is Swedish internationalist Mikael Ishak.
He was made available on a free transfer and this season he has already scored 12 goals in all competitions. Four were scored in the qualifiers, and he also scored one of their two goals against Benfica.
Their second striker, in their so-called “4-2-3-1” formation is Nika Kacharava. He has scored seven goals in all competitions including 1 in the qualifiers and 1 against Benfica.
Looking at Rangers, I would go with Roofe up front. This is because he links far better with midfield, is more able to play intricate one-twos in the box, and he also is better than Morelos for moving the ball up the field. Lech Poznan will also have to look out for him shooting from 60 yards out, which will put them on the defensive any time he gets the ball!
In summary, technically, they are not as strong as Willem II, who we dispatched easily, but they seem to be slightly better than Standard Liège who we met last week.
Let the game begin!