Jann-Fiete Arp – Bayern’s investment in the future

Tobias Separator February 12, 2019

The 19-year-old striker is regarded as one of the greatest talents in German football. In 2017 he was awarded the Fritz Walter Gold Medal. Arp made his debut in the Bundesliga for the Hamburg team at a very young age. In his first season, he was repeatedly used for the Hanseats in the Bundesliga. After only a few games, Jann-Fiete became the hope of the Hanseats. Arp convinced by clever movements and scoring goals.

Difficulties in the second division

After the relegation of HSV to the second division, many thought that Jann-Fiete Arp could conquer a permanent place under his biggest promoter Christian Titz. However, the rise of the young striker is faltering this season. Neither under Titz nor under successor Hannes Wolf could Arp prevail against his rival Pierre-Michel Lasogga. Arp has not yet scored a goal in his eleven league appearances this season. Slumps like these are quite normal for such a young player. Nevertheless, opinions among the fans were divided about Arp’s transfer.

HAMBURG, GERMANY - FEBRUARY 05: Hannes Wolf, Manager of Hamburg standuring the DFB Cup match between Hamburger SV and 1st FC Nuernberg at Volksparkstadion on February 05, 2019 in Hamburg, Germany. (Photo by Martin Rose/Bongarts/Getty Images)
It’s not working as planned so far for Jann-Fiete Arp
(Photo by Martin Rose/Bongarts/Getty Images)

Of course the question was asked why a striker who can’t get past Lasogga is relevant for Bayern. His goal quota in professional football hasn’t convinced anyone yet either. In addition, Bayern have Joshua Zirkzee, a talented striker from among their own youth.

We have to wait and see how far the Dutch talent is already. Compared to Arp, he still lacks some professional experience. Jann-Fiete Arp has already been a member of the HSV professional team for two years, an advantage that should not be underestimated.

The mixed reactions of many fans suggest that many viewers have not yet seen the young striker play. If a striker scores only a few goals, it is often difficult for the casual viewer to judge the quality of a striker. From my point of view Jann-Fiete Arp is rightly regarded as one of the greatest striker talents in German football. He brings with him the footballing talents. Ultimately, footballing qualities are only one aspect that is decisive for a successful professional career. But what are Arp’s strengths? In the following sections I would like to introduce you to the newcomer.

Play intelligence as unique selling point

First of all, Jann-Fiete Arp is not one of those strikers who can only sprint behind the defenses. A quality that Timo Werner possesses. Nor is he a pure penalty area striker lurking only in the box. Arp has a unique skill set. The quality that inspires me so much about Arp is his playing intelligence.

You rarely see a young striker who moves so cleverly in the offensive. Jann-Fiete Arp already internalized at a young age which movements and positions are unpleasant for many defenders to defend.

In his Bundesliga appearances one could always observe similar movements. Sprint into the depths, the defense drops and Arp suddenly changes direction, drops diagonally backwards and gets the ball free between the lines.

For a striker, the movements in the box are decisive. Timing and positioning in the box are especially relevant for crosses. Offensive players always have an advantage. The team in possession of the ball acts while the defensive team reacts. In order to take advantage of this natural advantage, strikers should think about their position in the box or their entry into it.

For example, it is advantageous if the striker remains diagonally behind his defender. This way he disappears from the defensive player’s field of vision. But he has to keep an eye on the ball and the opponent, so he has to look around to know the striker’s position.

HAMBURG, GERMANY - NOVEMBER 04: Jann-Fiete Arp of Hamburg celebrates after he scored a goal to make it 3:1 during the Bundesliga match between Hamburger SV and VfB Stuttgart at Volksparkstadion on November 4, 2017 in Hamburg, Germany. (Photo by Martin Rose/Bongarts/Getty Images)In the Bundesliga he was still the shooting star
(Photo by Martin Rose/Bongarts/Getty Images)

Suppose the cross comes from the left side from the point of view of the attacking team. The opponent’s right central defender secures the first post, while the centre defender who is away from the ball concentrates on the second. Jann-Fiete Arp already showed his playing intelligence by positioning himself diagonally behind the central defender close to the ball. Accordingly, he stands between both central defenders.

The young man from Hamburg recognizes very cleverly in which moment he can put on a short sprint and in which room he has to start. Naturally, he has an advantage over the defender, who secures the second post, because he is basically faster on the ball. For the striker there is an advantage over the defender at the first post if either the ball or the striker is not in sight. Then the striker can head for the free space in the back of the defender. Jann-Fiete Arp shows his playing intelligence especially here, because he moves very skilfully without ball and the defense constantly faces problems.

Jann-Fiete Arp – the participating striker

The classic centre forward, who only waits in the centre for a pass, disappears more and more. And rightly so. In modern football with compact defensive and variable pressing systems, a striker who cannot participate in the game is worthless. Robert Lewandowski already perfectly embodies the further development of the classic centre forward.

The Pole is present in the centre, especially when it comes to crosses. Characteristic features of a classic centre forward. But he is also characterized by his playing abilities. These make it possible to integrate the striker into the combination game. Niko Kovač uses Lewandowski’s abilities regularly and tries to integrate the Pole. Lewandowski’s evasive movements make it more difficult for his opponents. He is not always in their field of vision. In addition, the defenders are confronted with the question of whether they should move out or hold their position.

Jann-Fiete Arp is another striker type in this respect. He deviates significantly more frequently than Lewandowski. Although he also occupies the centre, he acts more wide-ranging. Through his anticipation and his feeling for the movements of the defense, he can lure them out of position with evasive movements or into deeper zones and use the open spaces.

SINSHEIM, GERMANY - JANUARY 18: Robert Lewandowski of Bayern Munich celebrates scoring the 3rd Bayern Munich goal during the Bundesliga match between TSG 1899 Hoffenheim and FC Bayern Muenchen at Wirsol Rhein-Neckar-Arena on January 18, 2019 in Sinsheim, Germany, 2019 in Sinsheim, Germany. (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Bongarts/Getty Images)Can Jann-Fiete replace Arp Lewandowski in the long run?
(Photo by Matthias Hangst/Bongarts/Getty Images)

Even lay-offs are no big challenge for Arp. Even if he is not on the level of Lewandowski yet. However, the young striker shows potential in this area and could develop a larger repertoire of passes. This makes Arp an exciting option for the Bayern attack, because a defense is faced with different challenges. His agility could give a little more dynamism and movement to the Bayern game.

The outlook

In addition to his intelligent movements and his skills in combination play, Arp has an excellent first contact, which helps him under pressure. Not only the technical abilities, but also the understanding of the game are present in the young Hamburger. These qualities enable him to hold his own even under pressure. An ability that can be useful against the deep opponents that Bayern often meets.

However, Arp is not a player who can help Bayern immediately next season. Accordingly, it probably makes more sense for the striker to stay with HSV. Because Arp can only develop further in duels with seasoned professionals.

At the moment, the young striker still lacks the physical prerequisites. For example, Arp is not the fastest player. In addition, his actions are very prone to mistakes. Especially in his shot conversions he lacks self-confidence. His actions are not as clear this season as they were last season. The HSV playing style should actually suit him. However, they rely on the experienced Lasogga to get back to the Bundesliga immediately. Maybe Arp would simply need regular playing times to get used to the circumstances in the second league.

Nevertheless, Jann-Fiete Arp brings with him a broad spectrum of skills that could make him not only a good Bundesliga player, but also a top performer for Bayern. His playing strength and technique paired with the high playing intelligence make him a special striker. FC Bayern secured one of Germany’s greatest talents at a reasonable price and continues to invest in the future. The young attacker will probably not move to Munich until 2020. From Bayern’s point of view, one can only hope that Arp will prevail in Hamburg and continue the steep development he made last season.

»Eier, wir brauchen Eier!«

— Oliver Kahn

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