I don't quite understand what the issue is right now. We're simply just lucky.. Winning / drawing games while losing possession consistently 30, 35, 40%. Passing has been hovering around 70-75% too.
Leverkusen save, first season. 1st in the Bundesliga after 16 matches. Started the year off great, when through a rough period, and have since been inconsistent. Barely qualified for the round of 16 in the CL in a decent group (arsenal, milan, anderlecht). The way to sum up the season so far: inconsistent (which always happens to my teams in this game).
The issue is simple, we're not having any of the ball. I've lost count with how many games against, quite frankly, crap teams (braunschweigh, mainz, frieburg, etc) they keep 60+ % possession, and 80+ % passing, yet we can go to Dortmund with the same tactics and hold them off for a 1-1 draw while disturbing their passing and possession.
I know that small teams will work hard to deny space, I know bigger teams will leave some space as they attack, but that doesn't explain small teams sitting on the shoulder of my defense hitting through balls.
I am constantly caught between playing higher up the pitch + pressing / sitting back and standing off. Why? Because these teams are constantly holding the ball, and so I figure okay lets go get them and so we play a higher line to get them. As a result, it usually doesn't change much and then they'll just hit a through ball. So then if we decide to sit back a bit, the other teams just run at us and get into the box even easier.
So about our tactics. The main idea is to play a strong counter-attack. We want to win the ball high(er) up the pitch, and counter into space. I don't want to sit back and soak up pressure, as we've got really great tacklers and there is no need to do that. The team is very good with passing, and has unfortunately a low work rate. We don't have true wingers so we want to use inside forward, to link up with our lone striker, giving us a sort of.. 3 strikers in attack. Our wingbacks need to push up to support the play out wide, but they're inconsistent and frustrating at times. I have to use them in this manner because like I said our advanced wide men are not wingers, they're inside forwards.
We're using a rigid philosophy with a counter mentality.
Here's our set up:
I'm just totally lost with what to do. We don't deserve to be in 1st place honestly, and I can't imagine this luck will keep going. How on earth can I win the ball back while still keeping things tight at the back?
For reference our record is: 9 wins, 5 draws, 2 losses 29 goals for, 15 against.
No idea who we're matched up with in the champions league just yet. Can't wait.
Edit: Here's a pass chart from our most recent game. This is MAINZ's passing, not ours. They had 2 players with over 100 passes, absolutely insane. We won this game, amazingly, so lucky. The key was we started out playing with a high press, then we tried to stand off, then we pressed them again later on and eventually got the go-ahead goal.
This pass chart is pretty common to see so far in my save. We simply refuse to win the ball back!