Gegenpressing, which translates as high pressing, is a football concept that originated in Germany and aims to press the opponent defensively in an intense way, steal the ball and attack quickly.

It is an aggressive and intense way of pressing when the opponent has the ball or when your team has it, as soon as you lose the ball, you try to regain it immediately, to attack again and be able to provoke clear goal scoring situations.

We take advantage of the fact that the opposition is disorganised defensively, so that in a short period of time and with a few touches they get close to the opposing goal.

Gegenpressing is a very suffocating pressure, done with great intensity and speed. If I lose the ball, I get it back as quickly as possible.

In order to carry out this type of pressure, players need to be in good physical shape. The player has to be very well prepared because the pressure is intense, he must be convinced of it, and it also has a tactical component of positioning the players in the loss of the ball, so the player has to be very concentrated to know where to carry out this effective pressure and choose the right moment to do it.

If your team is very good up front, on the wing or inside (up top), it is better to get the ball back as soon as possible and as high up as possible to keep attacking.

It is very important to change attitude in the offensive-defensive transition, and above all to be well organised around the ball. The team must be prepared when they lose possession of the ball to be able to recover it immediately, the speed with which the ball must be recovered is essential in order to apply good pressure.

For this pressure to be effective, the team will consist of a mix of good organisation, speed, defensive talent and a lot of concentration, to act with diligence.

Types of Gegenpressing

  • High pressure when the opposing team starts the game.
  • Pressure when your team has the ball and loses it, what we call ‘pressure after loss’.

In high pressing, the defence plays forward, avoiding gaps between the lines. This positioning on the pitch entails a risk, on the one hand, the opponent can overcome the pressure and on the other hand, watch the space left by the player behind him. If one of these two situations occurs, the defence has to reorganise and be prepared to run back and the other forward team-mates must retreat intensively.

This pressure requires the whole team, all the players participate, each one from his position. The players have to be well organised around the ball, it’s important to know that if someone doesn’t do it or doesn’t understand it or doesn’t see how to do it, where to do it, where the opponents and team-mates are, all the work fails and the system becomes uncoordinated, it’s a collective and team effort.

If it is not done well, the opponent comes out of pressure and with spaces, it can be detrimental to the team, as we are creating a scoring chance for the opponent.

This game concept needs to be trained hard and well, to automate all actions and to coordinate the team in order to minimise the mistakes the team makes and to have the reaction capacity to fight the opponent.

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