Striker (soccer)

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Forward Lionel Messi to score a goal (2007)

Striker is a player position in football and other team sports . The position is based on tactics and is not part of the rules. In this, forwards are considered field players, only the goalkeeper has a special role there. A game can therefore be kicked off even if (if both teams are complete) there is no striker on the field. The striker should primarily ensure the goals of his team and is judged according to his chances, but also his preparation . His position is regularly in the opposing half, but in more modern game systems it is also more defensive in preventing enemy attacks.

Tactical alignment of strikers

In football, a distinction is made between the following tactical orientations of strikers, whereby the boundaries are very fluid:

Winger or winger

The attacking players positioned on the left and right areas of the field of play are referred to as wingers. These are primarily intended for gate preparation. Often wingers are also referred to as offensive wingers (and therefore assigned to midfield), but this is only a matter of definition and depends on the style of play, i.e. on whether a player tends to make numerous assists or is often in the penalty area. Since a full-back and / or a defensive midfielder plays behind the winger in modern game systems, wingers are relieved of the defensive work so that they can concentrate on the offensive game. Well-known wingers are currently for example Cristiano Ronaldo , Lionel Messi , Marco Reus , Neymar , Raheem Sterling and Franck Ribéry . (Example game systems: 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1)


The position between the winger and the center forward is referred to as a half- forward (also called a liaison striker , short connector or half-right or half-left ). The half-forward was only used in the Scottish Furche (2-3-5) game systems that are no longer used and in the World Cup system (3-2-5).

Center Forward

One speaks of center forward especially in a system with two strikers without any other tactical division. The classic center strikers used to be only in the middle of the field and in front of the opponent's goal. Today, “center strikers” are flexible and, depending on the game situation, regularly move to the half-position or the wing-forward position. Because of this flexibility, increased all-round skills are required from center strikers. (Example game systems: 3-5-2 or 4-4-2). The center forward is also called a classic nine in the game system . Typical center strikers include Luis Suárez and Robert Lewandowski .

Striker / Striker

The foremost attacker is called the storm tip. Nowadays, clubs usually play with only one striker and several attacking midfielders / wingers. The primary task of the striker is more than in any other position to score goals, so they are partly relieved of defensive tasks. Due to the new definition of the striker in particular, today's requirements are: robustness in duels, strength of the ball and the danger of scoring in the penalty area. Strikers usually have significantly less ball contact (compared to their teammates). Gerd Müller could be described as the archetype of the classic striker. He stood out for his anticipation, dribbling and ability to score goals from different locations in the penalty area. Well-known strikers are currently Mario Gómez , Fernando Torres , Gonzalo Higuaín , Luis Suárez , David Villa and Robert Lewandowski . (Example game systems: 4-1-4-1 or 4-2-3-1)

Second Striker / False Nine

A hanging tip is when a nominal striker is assigned extensive defensive tasks within a tactical order. As a result, the hanging tip regularly has to retreat from the classic striker position to midfield, win balls and help with the creative build-up of the game - that's why a hanging tip is regularly supplemented with a second (push) striker, for whom the hanging tip works in advance, so to speak. Requirements for this player can be seen in particular in the area of ​​speed and endurance. In order to disrupt or weaken deep defenses, the hanging tip can also try shots on goal from half-distance from outside the penalty area. In many areas she also resembles a playmaker ("10") who is behind the striker. Well-known hanging tips are players like Thomas Müller , Marco Reus or Wayne Rooney . (Example game systems: 3-5-2 or 4-4-2)

If you bet on a so-called "wrong nine", a team will de facto play without a striker. The player who is supposed to act as the wrong nine, usually an attacking midfielder or a hanging point (see above), only temporarily or partially occupies the position of a (classic) striker and is supposed to get the balls in midfield as well as those get leaked in order to score a goal at the right moment. Such a player must be extremely variable, ball and pass safe. Examples of such a position are Francesc Fabregas or, in part, Mario Götze . This system became famous when Spain won the European Championship in 2012 .


  • Jonathan Wilson: Revolutions on the lawn. A history of soccer tactics. Die Werkstatt, Göttingen 2011, ISBN 978-3-89533-769-7 (originally Ders., Inverting the Pyramid. A history of football tactics. , London 2008)