Burak Yilmaz is a Turkish striker who has played in some of Turkey’s biggest clubs such as Fenerbahçe, Galatasaray, and now, Besiktas. This year at Besiktas, Yilmaz helped them reach third place by scoring 13 goals. He will now move to Lille and begin his adventure in Ligue 1 at 35 years of age. This transfer came right after Victor Osimhen joined Napoli in Serie A so it is safe to assume that he will be there to replace him.
Even though Yilmaz and Osimhen are different in terms of age and experience, they share similar playing qualities. Both are tall, powerful strikers who are aggressive in their game. Christophe Galtier must have made note of this when signing him. In this tactical analysis, we will see Yilmaz’s attributes and how he will fit into Lille’s system.
Yilmaz is already a veteran player but his physicality has not worsened and now he is more conservative in his runs. For example, he presses at high speed only when he really feels he has a chance of regaining the ball. With such a successful career, he can provide experience to Lille, who is known to be a team of young talents. In this scout report, we will provide an analysis of how Yilmaz is smart in his movements and can still add value to Lille.
Yilmaz has always played with intensity and aggressiveness in games. This helps especially when pressing as his chances of getting the ball increase when going at such intensity. However, now that he is older he has to manage his pressuring runs more.
Therefore, now he only presses when he really believes he can take the ball away. This happens when a defender controls a ball badly or there is a bad pass, for example. He does not pressure all the time like some other young strikers who have the physical condition for that.
The figure below serves as an example, where Yilmaz takes advantage that the centre-back is not looking his way and is receiving a pass. Yilmaz knows that the centre-back will be unaware of him coming in from behind and decides to press intensely.
Lille have the second-highest pressing intensity in Ligue 1, behind PSG. They have a PPDA of 260.65. This is the passes allowed per defensive action so the less your PPDA is, the higher the intensity of the pressure.
Even though when Yilmaz presses, he does well and intensely, having a high pressing intensity means that Lille is constantly pressing. This means that Yilmaz will have to adapt to Lille’s constant pressing tactics or that Lille will have to find a way to press intensely without Yilmaz, who cannot do so the whole game.
Runs in behind
Due to his height and physical prowess, Yilmaz does not seem the type of striker to be making runs in behind. This is not true as making runs in behind is another characteristic that Yilmaz does well. He is still quick on his feet and can sometimes surprise the defence by running in behind.
Making these runs is important for Yilmaz as it makes the defender unsure of what he will do. Since he is capable of dropping down to receive and running in behind, the defender won’t stick as close to him. This will benefit Yilmaz as he will have more time on the ball.
In the image below, we see Yilmaz making the run in behind. It is important to note how he is moving from a more left-sided position and running into the middle. We will analyse his preference towards going to the left side further on.
These runs in behind fit Lille’s playing system as they also like making these movements. It is proven in the image below, where it shows how 16.3% of their through balls are through the middle of the defence, right where Yilmaz is going to be.
Also, with that area being coloured in blue, it also shows that they make through balls here more times than the league average, showing further their preference towards these movements.
Yilmaz also drops down to receive the ball. Most of the time he stays with the centre-backs to fix their positions. However, when he feels that Besiktas needs some help in the build-up or he feels he is not participating enough, he drops down to help.
He does this for various reasons. By dropping down, he gives another passing option to his team if they are in a tricky situation. This helps unclog the play as he surprises the opponents by dropping down to receive and continuing the play.
The image below serves as an example. Here, Besiktas have a throw-in and everyone is being tightly marked. Since the thrower cannot find someone to pass it to, Yilmaz comes down to receive to create a viable passing option. When he receives the ball, he passes the ball to a centre-back and Besiktas can renew their play.
Another reason he drops down to receive is to then switch the ball. This is similar to the previous example but in this instance, it’s in the attack. Yilmaz is a smart player, and when he feels that his team are being unproductive in one area of the pitch, he drops down and switches the ball where there is space.
In the figure below, we can see most of the players on the left side. To help the attack, Yilmaz drops down and passes it to the right-back on the other side who has lots of space. This unclogs the attack and gives the chance for the attack to continue on the right, with more space to take advantage of.
The last reason he goes down to receive is to make one-twos with teammates. Since attacking through the middle is the most dangerous place to attack from, Besiktas players try to make these movements with the help of Yilmaz.
He has the passing ability to make these quick passes which break the defence. These one-twos are so devastating because the teammate doing the one-two with Yilmaz completely goes through the opponent’s midfield line.
We can see in the image below how Yilmaz is returning the one-two to a teammate who is trying to break through the midfield into the space behind.
Moving to the left
Another movement that Yilmaz likes is going to the left. By doing so, he can get rid of his mark that is usually the centre-backs. No centre-back will follow Yilmaz to the left side so this means that he is alone.
By moving to the left, he becomes an easier passing option for his teammates. Moreover, when he receives the ball in that area, he can generate superiority on the left and so improve the attack on the left side.
On the image below, we can appreciate how Yilmaz has so much time that he can stand still and look for an option. Also, he is being marked by the right-midfielder which is unusual. This means that if the right-midfielder is marking Yilmaz, the Besiktas left-back could help in the attack and it would be a 2 vs 1.
Furthermore, one of his goals actually comes from him being on the left. He starts the attack from the left with the Besiktas left-winger which means they make a 2 vs 1 against the opponent full-back.
Since the full-back is unsure who to mark, Yilmaz takes advantage of this and shoots, scoring a great goal. This goal would not have happened had Yilmaz not generated superiority on the left-wing.
Overall, Yilmaz has had a successful career in Turkey and at his 34 years of age is going to start a new adventure in Ligue 1 at Lille. He seems to be the replacement of Victor Osimhen due to his physical characteristics. However, Yilmaz is a unique player who can give Lille many attributes. We have seen that he is good at making runs in behind, helping the team in the creation of plays, and generating superiority on the wings. More importantly, he has good goalscoring and assisting statistics, and hopefully, he can improve these numbers in his stay at Lille.